WeBWorK and the OpenLab are two different websites that are now working together to help students with homework problems.

What is WeBWorK?

WeBWorK is a homework platform used to give online assignments in math and science courses. Online homework systems have a number of benefits over traditional, textbook-based, homework assignments:

  • They can provide instant feedback for students (without revealing the answer to a problem).
  • They can use randomization so that each student gets a unique problem.
  • They can adapt to student work on-the-fly, redirecting students to simpler problems if they become stuck, or breaking a problem down into a series of small steps.
  • They can provide instructors with valuable feedback about where students are successful and where they are being challenged.

While many homework platforms are closed, fee-based systems designed by textbook publishers, WeBWorK is an open source project supported by the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), with an active community of hundreds of colleges, universities and high schools across the U.S. and around the world.

What is WeBWork on the OpenLab?

WeBWork on the OpenLab (this site) is an OpenLab site that integrates with WeBWork in order to give students a place to get help with their homework. Students using WeBWorK at City Tech can click the “Ask for Help” button (in WeBWorK) and be brought to this site, where they can ask questions about a problem, view questions (and answers) from other students working on the same problem, and even answer questions themselves.

Where did WeBWorK on the OpenLab come from?

This site was created as part of the Opening Gateways project, a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education with the goal of of supporting student success in the mathematics courses that serve as gateways to STEM disciplines.  The purpose of WeBWorK on the OpenLab is to bring together two major open source projects, WeBWorK and WordPress/BuddyPress, with the aim of building a community support structure for WeBWorK users.  Instead of working on assignments in isolation or interacting only with their instructor, students using WeBWorK on the OpenLab become part of a community of learners, working together on the same material and offering mutual support.