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Department ofMathematics and Computer Science


WebWork grant to Emphasize Non-Routine Problem-Solving

SCU math faculty members Corey Irving and Frank Farris received a technology grant from the university to develop a new online homework system for our Math 30-31 sequence, Calculus for Business. The online homework systems commercially available have two limitations: Problems are always keyed to a single textbook and they tend to focus on practicing skills instead of concept development. 

WebWork is an open-source homework system developed by the MAA through federal grants. Users can access a vast database of problems coded by mathematicians around the country, as well as writing their own. New problems written by Irving and Farris find ways to emphasize conceptual understanding and non-routine problem-solving.

Since WebWork is open-source, the only expenses involve systems administration. Students pay no fees. Faculty members who teach in sequence met during spring quarter and agreed to adopt this system on a trial basis for future versions of Math 30-31. Early evidence shows that the new system has a positive effect on student learning.