An Internet-Based System for Generating and Delivering

Homework Problems


WeBWorK is an internet-based system for generating and delivering homework problems to students. It increases the effectiveness of traditional homework as a learning tool by:

These are important educational advantages, and WeBWorK is a tool designed to conveniently deliver these advantages to large numbers of students. First used in a single course with 29 students in the fall of 1996, WeBWorK currently serves 900 students at Rochester in seven courses ranging from pre-calculus to second semester calculus and physics. This semester for the first time, WeBWorK is being used at other institutions. Indiana, John Hopkins, and SUNY Stony Brook are teaching courses using WeBWorK. Indiana has approximately 1950 students in WeBWorK courses, John Hopkins 200, and Stony Brook 90.

WeBWorK has been awarded the 1999 International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathemnatics (ICTCM) Award for Excellence and Innovation with the Use of Technology in Collegiate Mathematics.

Anyone can try WeBWorK for himself or herself by connecting to actual courses at http://www.math.rochester.edu/webwork.

Contact Professor Michael Gage (gage@math.rochester.edu) or Professor Arnold Pizer (apizer@math.rochester.edu) for further information.

Student Reaction to WeBWorK

Immediate feedback is a key educational advantage of WeBWorK as recognized by the students themselves. When asked on anonymous surveys:

Does the immediate feedback provided by the WeBWorK system enhance the educational value of solving homework problems? Please provide a number between 1 and 5 where 1 means strongly disagree while 5 means strongly agree.

most students responded with a 5 and made comments such as:

When asked on anonymous surveys whether they preferred a section using WeBWorK or a section using a traditional homework system with hand written and hand-graded solutions, almost all preferred WeBWorK sections.

List of current WeBWorK features

WeBWorK’s features make it uniquely suitable for authoring mathematics, physics and engineering problems including problems from calculus, trigonometry and upper-level secondary mathematics courses. The following innovative features stand out:

In addition to these features, which make WeBWorK especially suited for mathematics education, WeBWorK provides standard features found in most CGI/database education solutions.

The flexibility of WeBWorK allows its use by instructors with very different teaching styles. For the first year calculus courses at Rochester, we have set up WeBWorK so that: