What is a Model Course

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Model MAA WebWork Courses

Should include:

A well-defined subject matter.

  • covering what is commonly taught by mathematics faculty at the collegiate or advanced secondary level.
  • encompassing a reasonable span of mathematical material that could be adjusted to fit in semester or quarter formats.
  • using a selection of topics and techniques commonly taught. Should:
    • be made to avoid specialized methods or topics
    • consider current pedagogical improvements.
    • attempt to address both computational and conceptual concerns

A syllabus.

  • listing specific topics covered by the problem sets.
  • should be made to avoid references to specific texts.
    • Special model courses can be assembled for specific texts using appropriate units from these model courses.
    • Additional and self-contained specialized units should be created to only include additional problems or methods needed to fit a particular text.
  • available on the WebWork wiki site.

Problem sets.

  • A model course should comprise 8 to 16 problem sets in general.
    • Specific courses, such as courses aimed at the secondary level, may require additional sections.
  • Each set should comprise a cohesive collection of problems.
  • As appropriate, attempts should be made to include a problem or two which reinforce corresponding prerequisite material.
  • Problem sets should include minimal repetition. Users could be encouraged to add similar problems from the NPL if desired.
  • Each model course problem should include a solution, if possible.
  • Each model course problem should include hints, if appropriate.
  • Individual set headers should list the components of the course syllabus addressed by the problem set. Items not related to the particular problem set should not be noted in these set headers. This includes references to a larger model course.


  • Identified so that instructors can easily delete these from the problem set.
  • Likely from MAA journals but all at an appropriate level and corresponding to the other material in the problem set. For lower level courses, articles from popular journals and magazines should be appropriate.
  • Assigned so that their removal from the problem set does not leave material holes.

Interactive problems.

  • Preferably using free resources and designed to test for concepts rather than calculations.
  • Identified so that instructors can easily delete these from the problem set.
  • Assigned so that their removal from the problem set does not leave material holes.

Problem Set Review.

  • Editorial Panels for problem sets should be created
  • Problem sets need to have annual review of syllabi and problems selected.
    • Could be part of the Mathfest program as a collection of concurrent meetings.
    • Open invitation for meeting participants to offer suggestions and perhaps get more involved in problem selection/syllabus review and WebWork implementation.

Packaging of Model Courses

  • Instructions for use from within the WebWork environment will be different from use within Moodle. The goal for below should be to make this process short and as non-technical as possible.

Problem Sets Collections.

  • Individual problem sets should include descriptive file names:
    • No spaces, capitalized first letter of each word
    • Format: Sbject Area - General Chapter Area - Unit info
    • Ex: CollegeAlgebra-FactoringPolynomials-Unit1
    • Ex: Trigonometry-GeneralTriangles-LawOfSines
  • "Chapters" should consist of problem set collections comprising a cohesive "chapter" of material.
  • "Courses" should consist of problem set chapters.

Desired steps for installing a model course in WebWork

  • Open Library Browser
  • Select "Model Courses"
  • Select the general area desired
  • Select all appropriate units
    • Change due dates - required
    • Review the homework problem list - should
    • Remove any undesired problems - optional
    • Add other problems if desired from NPL - optional

Desired steps for installing a model course in Moodle

  • Set up hosting with MAA.


  • Have your administrator set up Moodle to access a local installation of WebWork using the instructions on this web site
  • Import problem sets into WebWork as instructed above.
  • Log into your Moodle course
  • Click on "Turn Editing On"
  • Under the desired week, click on "Add an activity"
  • Select "WebWork Problem Set"
  • On the subsequent page, select the appropriate problem set you want to assign and then save.

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