IMathAS Help Documentation

Table of Contents

Administration

From an administrator's home page, the Admin page can be reached by clicking the "Go to Admin Page" link near the end of the page.

Not all the options described here may be available to you depending upon your rights setting

Creating Courses

Create a new course by clicking the "Add New Course" button.

Course Creation Settings

When you add a new course or click the "Modify" link next to a course name, enter the course name and an enrollment key. If you are allowing students to self-enroll then the enrollment key should be given to students, and will be required for them to enroll in this course, along with the Course ID. For new courses, the course ID will display when you return to the Admin page.

Other option:

  • Enrollment Key: A entry password for students to self-enroll in the course. If you provide a semicolon-separated list of keys, students can enroll with any of them, and the key will get recorded as the student's section
  • Available: Whether course is available to students, and whether it should display on the instructor's home page
  • Lock for Assessment: Shuts down access to the course except for the specified assessment. Intended for in-class testing situations.
  • Theme: Change the look and feel of your course
  • Icons: Whether to display icons next to different course items.
  • Allow self un-enroll: Whether students should be able to unenroll themselves from your course (usually NO is the best choice, so students can't accidentally delete their scores)
  • Allow other instructors to copy: Whether other instructors should be allowed to copy course items without needing an enrollment key. You can limit this ability to instructors in your own group.
  • Message System: allows you decide which features of the internal messaging system you want to enable. This allows you restrict who, if anyone, the student can send messages to.
  • Live Chat: Enable a live chat room for this course
  • Student Quick-Pick Top Bar: What items, if any, to have in a bar at the top of the student's course page
  • Instructor Quick-Pick Top Bar: What items, if any, to have in a bar at the top of the instructor's course page
  • Instructor Course Management Links: Whether to have course management links at the bottom or along the left side of the instructor's course page
  • LTI access secret: A secret code to allow placement of your course into a BasicLTI consumer. More info

Adding Teachers

After creating a course, click the "Add/Remove Teachers" link after the course name. Here you can add or remove users authorized as a teacher for this course. Only Group and full Admins have rights to add/remove teachers.

Transfering Ownership

Click the "Transfer" link after the course name to transfer the ownership of the course to another teacher/admin. In general, course ownership is not highly important, but Limited Course Creators can only modify courses for which they have ownership.

Deleting

Clicking the "Delete" link after the course name will delete the course and all items contained within the course. However, it will not delete any questions added to the Question Set from within the course; the Question Set is shared, and not linked to any course

Question Set Management

Manage Question Set

Clicking the "Manage Question Set" link will allow you to search through the Question Set, modify questions, add questions, remove question, transfer ownership, or add a set of questions to a question library. Only administrators or question owners have the rights to remove a question. Be aware that if you remove a question that is currently being used in an assessment (as shown in the "Times Used" column), it will mess up that assessment.

The options available in the question set manager are:

  • Modify: Change the source code of the question and make library assignments. You will only see this option for questions you own or when the owner has given permission for anyone to modify the question.
  • View: View the source code of the question and make library assignements. You will only see this option for question you do not own.
  • Template: Create a new question, using the code of an existing question as a starting point. When you template a question, the original question is not changed.
  • Delete: Delete the question completely from the questionset and all libraries. You will only see this option for questions you own or when the owner has given permission for anyone to modify the question. You can delete many questions at once by selecting questions with the checkboxes, then clicking the Delete button near the top of the page.
  • Transfer: Transfer ownership of the question to another user. You will only see this option for questions you own. You can transfer many questions at once by selecting questions with the checkboxes, then clicking the Transfer button near the top of the page.
  • Library Assignment: The Library Assignment button near the top of the page can be used with the checkboxes to add or change your library assignments for the selected questions. This will not affect other people's assignments

Note that the assignment of questions into libraries can be done by anyone, but only the person who made the assignment is able to remove the question from the assigned library

Export Question Set

Use the "Export Question Set" feature to export a portion of the Question Set for backup or sharing. Use the search feature with the checkboxes to select questions for inclusion in the export. Clicking the "Finalize" button, you will be asked for a Library Description.

Import Question Set

Use the "Import Question Set" feature to import a Question Set that you or someone else had exported from IMathAS. Be sure to only import question sets from trusted sources. After specifying an import file, you will be given a chance to select specific questions from the set to be imported.

Imported questions will have ownership assigned to the importer. Select the userights you want to apply to all imported questions. You also can import the questions directly into an existing or new question library

If any questions (identified by a unique id) already exist in your system, you will be asked if you want to update the existing questions, or add as new questions. If you have modified questions previously imported, you may want to add as new.

Library Management

Manage Libraries

Use the library manager to remove, rename, change rights, change parent, or transfer ownership of question libraries. Be aware that if a library is deleted, the questions in that library will become unassigned; they are not deleted.

Libraries have a tree structure, where each library has a parent library. When you add or modify a library, you can change it's parent library. If you change a library's parent, all children library move with a library. You can only specify an empty library or existing parent library as a parent.

Libraries have use rights. Options are:

  • Private: Only the owner or an administrator can list questions in these libraries
  • Closed to group, private to others: Anyone in group can list and use questions, , but only the owner or an admin can add questions to the library. Hidden to anyone outside the group.
  • Open to group, private to others: Anyone in group can list and use questions and add to the library. Hidden to anyone outside the group.
  • Closed to all: Everyone can list and use questions, but only the owner or an admin can add questions to the library
  • Open to group, close to others: Anyone in group can list and use questions and add to the library. Outside the group, users can only list and use questions; they cannot add questions to the library
  • Open to all: Everyone can list and use questions and add to the library
With library rights, child rights take precedence over parent rights. For example, if an open library is a child to a private library, the parent will not be hidden from other users. However a private library as child to a private parent will be hidden from other users.

Depending upon the system configuration, non-admins may be limited to creating libraries that are private to others outside their group. If this is the case, a non-admin will need to contact an admin to create a library that is closed or open to all.

Library assignments are done in question management. Library assignments can be done by any user, but only the person who made the assignment can remove that assignment.

Export Libraries

Use the "Export Libraries" feature to export an entire library or tree of libraries for backup or sharing. Use the tree to select libraries to export. Note that if a parent library is selected, it's children libraries are automatically included in the export, and heirarchy will be maintained. If libraries from different trees are selected, the topmost libraries in each branch selected will be exported at the same level.

Import Libraries

Use the "Import Libraries" feature to import an entire library or tree of libraries. After selecting a file, the tree of libraries in the import file will be shown, and you can deselect libraries you do not want to import. Note that if a parent library is not selected, NONE of the children libraries will be added, regardless of whether they're checked or not.

You will be asked if you want to update existing questions/libraries, or add as new. If a library or question (identified by a unique id) in the import already exists on your system, this will tell the importer whether to update the existing libraries/questions, or import the libraries/questions as a new copy (a new unique id is assigned). If you have modified questions previously imported, you may want to add as new.

Imported libraries and questions will have ownership assigned to the importer. Select the userights you want to apply to all imported questions and libraries. You can select a parent in the library tree for all (top level) imported libraries

If you load a file that does not have a library tree embedded in the file, you will be told to use the Import Question Set feature instead. Even if a file has a library tree, you can use the Import Question Set feature to import specific questions from the file.

Install Macro File

A Macro Library contains macros (functions) which can be used in questions. These expand the capabilities of IMathAS. If allowed, installation requires selecting the file name from your local computer and clicking "Submit". Be aware that any existing macro library of the same name will be replaced. A help file is automatically generated for newly installed macro libraries.

Warning!: Macro libraries are pure PHP (programming code), and have a large security risk. Only install macro libraries from a trusted source

Delete Old Users

Use the Delete Old Users option to delete users who have not accessed the system within some specified number of months. You can delete just students, or all non-Admin users.

Import Students from File

Use the Import Students from File feature to register and enroll a set of students automatically from a CSV (commas separated values) file. You can generate a CSV file using any spreadsheet program.

The form will guide you through specifying which columns of the CSV file contain First name, Last name, email address, and desired username. Once setting these options, the first five rows of the file will be displayed so you can verify that the import settings are correct. If you selected a class to enroll the imported students in, the students will be both registered and enrolled in that class upon submission.

Manage Groups

Groups allow instructors to be divided into groups (by school, for example). Groups can create group-specific libraries, and Group Admins can be assigned to have Admin rights over group users and libraries. By default, users are added to a Default group.

Click Edit Groups to add, modify, or delete groups.

Diagnostics

Diagnostics allow you to create a special login page for larger-scale diagnostic assessment. This provides a way for students to access and take the diagnostic without needing to register and enroll in a course. Also, it delivers them the correct assessment based on a specified selection.

If you are a group admin or full admin, click the "Add New Diagnostic" button to set up a new diagnostic. Diagnostics are linked with assessments in a course, so you should first create a course and add your diagnostic assessments to that course.

Over two pages, you will be asked for:

After submitting the second page, you will be provided with the direct access link to the diagnostic, which you can provide to students or use to create a link from another website

In courses for which a diagnostic has been set up, the gradebook will display differently, showing the student unique ID, the term, and the first and second selector values in addition to the students' names and scores

Managing Administrators and Teachers

At the bottom of the admin page is a list of users. Group Admins will see the teachers in their group. For Full Admins, teacher and higher level users are grouped by instructor Group, or are in the Default group if you haven't defined groups. Student accounts can be listed by choosing the corresponding first letter of the last name. To approve teachers who have filled out the "new instructor account request" form, choose Pending from the list. Note that if you require email confirmation of students, they might also show up in the Pending list until they confirm their account.

Adding Administrators and Teachers

You can add a new administrator, teacher, or student by clicking the "Add New User" button. You will be asked to provide a username, user's name, and email. The user's password defaults to 'password'. If a user already has self-registered, and you want to promote them to administrator or teacher, find them in the user list and click the "Change Rights" link.

Rights

When adding a new administrator or changing rights, there are several rights levels, each higher level including the rights of the lower levels:
  1. Guest: Can access all class materials, including taking tests (however, test is restarted next time the guest user accesses the test). Cannot enroll or unenroll in courses, or change user info or password. Cannot post in forums
  2. Student: Can only access class materials - cannot edit anything
  3. Teacher: Can edit course materials and create assessments, but only in courses to which they have been assigned as a teacher
  4. Limited Course Creator: Can add courses, and they are automatically assigned as the teacher. Can delete courses that they create.
  5. Diagnostic Creator: Can add courses, and they are automatically assigned as the teacher. Can delete courses that they create. Can create diagnostics.
  6. Group Admin: Can add/delete teachers and set user rights, but only for users in their group. Can modify/delete questions and libraries created by members of the group regardless of ownership or use rights. Can always create "open to all" libraries
  7. Full Administrator: Can add/delete administrators and set user rights. Can import macro files, if installation allows. Can modify/delete questions and libraries regardless of ownership or use rights

Resetting Admin Passwords

You can reset a user's password to 'password' by clicking the "Reset Password" link next to the user's name.

Deleting

You can delete an administrator by clicking the "Delete" button next to their name. Note that if they were teaching a course, this will unset them as a teacher, but does not delete the course itself.

Course Management

Accessing a course as a teacher shows the course in management (edit) mode.

Course Page Layout

The course page consists of a list of items. There are six types of items:

Blocks have a colored header. If a block is displayed collapsed, click the block name or the "Expand" button to view the block's contents. If the block is displayed as a folder (has a folder icon next to it), click the block name to view the block items.

Text items are preceded with an information ! icon, forums are preceded with a F icon, and assessments are preceded with a ? icon. The icons will be grey when the item is not available, and (depending upon install settings) may change color as a deadline approaches. The color is green at two weeks, yellow at one week, and red on due date.

The item order can be rearranged by using the number selector to the left of the item. Items can also be moved into or out of blocks using this selector.

Adding Items

Add an item by selecting the item type from the "Add Item" pulldown. Using the "Add Item" pulldown inside a block will add the item to that block.

Blocks

For Blocks, you will asked to provide:
  • Title: The title of the block
  • Available after: The first date for the item to display to students
  • Available until: The last date for the item to display to students
  • When available: Whether you want to display the block Expanded, Collapsed, or as a folder when available
  • When not available: Whether you want to hide the block from students when not available, or show collapsed or as folder (depending on available setting). Use the show collapsed/folder option if the block contains items that students still need to be able to access.
  • Colors: Allows you to specify colors other than the defaults for blocks

Inline Text Items

For Inline Text items, you will asked to provide:
  • Title: The title of the item
  • Hide title: If you want to hide the title and icon, and just display the text
  • Text: The actual text (displays on course page)
  • Files: You can attach one or more files to an inline text item. For each file, provide a description of the file. A list of the descriptions, with links to the files, will display at the bottom of your text item.
  • Available after: The first date for the item to display to students
  • Available until: The last date for the item to display to students

Linked Text Items

For Linked Text items, you will asked to provide:
  • Title: The title of the item
  • Summary: A description of the link (displays on course page)
  • Text: Enter one of the following:
    • Type text in box provided. The text will display when link is clicked
    • Enter a weblink (like http://www.google.com). The link will take students to this weblink
    • Attach a file. The link will open the file. Note: Do not change the text on subsequent modifications
  • Available after: The first date for the item to display to students
  • Available until: The last date for the item to display to students

Forum Items

For Forum items, you will asked to provide:
  • Name: The name of the forum
  • Description: A description of the forum (displays on course page)
  • Available after: The first date for the item to display to students
  • Available until: The last date for the item to display to students
  • Group linked: If you have a group assessment, you can link the forum to the groups of that assessment. If you do this, students viewing the forum will only see posts from their group members and instructors. Be aware that posts to group linked forums often won't trigger the red "New Posts" flag on the home page.
  • Allow anonymous posts: Whether you want to allow students to post anonymously
  • Allow students to modify posts: Whether you want students to be able to modify their posts
  • Email notify: Whether you want to receive an email whenever a new post is made on the forum
  • Default display: Whether you want threads to display Expanded, Collapsed, or in Condensed format by default. Users can change the display once they view the thread
  • Students can reply by: Optionally set date restrictions for students replying to posts. Can be overridden in individual threads.
  • Students can create new threads by: Optionally set date restrictions for students creating new threads
  • Count in gradebook: Whether you want the forum to count in the gradebook for points. You will be able to assign points for individual posts made.
  • Gradebook category: Category for the gradebook, if assigning points to the forum.

When you as a teacher start a new thread, you are given the option to have it be:

  • A regular post
  • Always display at the top of the list
  • Displayed at top and locked (no replies can be made)
  • Displayed at top and replies are hidden from students
You can use the middle two options to, for example, post discussion instructions. You can use the last option to post a question in class, and have students respond without seeing other students' replies.

When viewing the forum thread list as an instructor, there is a "List Posts by Name" link which will list all posts in the forum, grouped by student name. New threads are colored in black, replies in green

Assessments

Warning: Making changes to an assessment after students have already taken it can seriously mess up those students' assessment results. It is NOT safe to change: Default points per problem or Default penalty.

Assessment Settings

You need to set the assessment settings when you add an assessment. You can change these settings by clicking the "Modify Settings" link next to the assessment in the course page.
  • Name: The name of the assessment
  • Summary: A description of the summary (shows on course page)
  • Intro/Instructions: Displays at the top of the test (see below for details on making question-specific instructions)
  • Available after: The first date for the item to be available to students
  • Available until: The last date for the item to be available to students. Students must complete the assessment by this date - they will be kicked out if they are in the middle of an assessment when this time is reached.
  • Available for review: If the checkbox is clicked, the assessment will convert to review mode after the due date until this date. Review mode defaults to Skip Around display, unlimited attempts, answers shown always. Scores are not saved in Review mode.
  • Count: Whether the assessment score should be counted in the gradebook, not counted in the grade total, or counted as extra credit.
  • Copy Options From: If you have other assessments in your course already, you can select to copy the assessment settings from another assessment.
  • Password: If specified, requires student to enter this password to access the assessment. Leave blank to require no password.
  • Time Limit: The time limit, in minutes, for the test (0 for none). If the student exceeds the time limit, their test will be recorded, and you can decide whether or not to accept it in the gradebook detail. Partial minutes are possible using decimal values. If you check the "Kick student out at timelimit" box, then the assessment will automatically finalize at the timelimit, and submission attempts after the timelimit will be rejected.
  • Display method:
    • Full test at once: All questions are displayed on one page
    • One question at a time: One question is shown at a time. Students must complete the questions in the order presented
    • Full test, submit one at time: Full test is displayed, but student submits answer to one question at a time. Student can skip between questions.
    • Skip around: Students are provided with a navigation bar and can jump between questions and complete them in any order
    • Embedded: Similar to "Full test, submit one at time", but all questions are always active, and any one can be submitted at any time. Questions can be embedded into the Intro/Instructions using [QUESTION #] tags.
  • Default points per problem: How many points each problem should be worth by default. This can be changed for individual problems.
  • Default attempts per problem: How many attempts a student should have at each problem by default. This can be changed for individual problems. Enter 0 for unlimited attempts
  • Reattempts different versions: Reattempting a problem will regenerate the question with new numbers. By default, reattempts of problems receive the same version of the problem. This option does not make sense to use with Homework mode.
  • Default penalty per missed attempt: What percentage of points possible a student should lose for an incorrect attempt. This can be changed for individual problems. You can select a penalty for each missed attempt, to start after a certain number of missed attempts, or specify a penalty for the last possible attempt only.
  • Feedback method: What detail the students should see
    • No scores shown: No scores, including the total, are shown to the student. If reattempts are allowed, the student is forced to retake all questions (even ones they got right the first time). With this mode, access to grade detail in the gradebook controlled by the Show Answers setting.
    • Final score: Only final (total) score is shown at the end. If reattempts are allowed, the student is forced to retake all questions (even ones they got right the first time). With this mode, access to grade detail in the gradebook controlled by the Show Answers setting.
    • Show score on each at end: At the end of the test, the student is shown their score on each question. If reattempts are allowed, they are then allowed to go back and reattempt problems.
    • Show as submitted: As each question is submitted, the score is shown, and students are offered a chance to reattempt the problem (if allowed). This method does not apply to the "Full test at once" display method.
    • Practice Test: Same as above, and the test can be regenerated (re-randomized) whenever the student wants. Students are given an opportunity to try similar problems to the one presented after completing each question (when not in Full test at once mode). Scores are cleared each time the test is regenerated, and scores are not shown by default in the gradebook. Answers can be shown after some number of attempts.
    • Homework: Like "Show as submitted", but students are given an opportunity to attempt a similar question if they miss a question. Doing so resets attempts for that question (reseting attempt penalty as well). Also, show answers (see below) can be set to show answers during the homework after a number of attempts. This is best used in conjunction with the attempt penalty.
  • Show Answers: When (if ever) students should be able to see answers.
    • Practice Tests and Homework: For practice tests and homework, you can set this to never, after 0,1,3,4,or 5 attempts are made, or after last attempt. There is also an after last attempt option that will allow students to jump directly to the answer.
    • Other Tests: For other tests, you can set this to never, after the assessment due date, after the last last attempt (in Skip Around and Full test submitted one at time modes only), or immediately. Answers will be available in the gradebook review of a test. Note: Do not use the "Immediately" option if you are allowing multiple attempts per problem. Doing so would allow a student to complete the test, view the answers, then reenter the test (since more attempts are allowed) and put in the correct answers. Also be aware that if an assessment is set to allow review mode, that answers will be available to students in review mode.
  • Show hints when available: Whether or not to show hints if the question has them defined
  • Allow use of LatePasses: If you have granted LatePasses to students, this will allow use of them on this assessment
  • Make hard to print: Makes the assessment harder to print, for in-class tests
  • Shuffle item order: Randomizes the order in which questions are presented
  • Gradebook Category: If you have created gradebook categories, you can assign the assessment to one of those categories.
  • Count: Whether to count the assessment in the gradebook
  • Allow tutors to edit: Whether tutors should be able to change students' scores on this assessment
  • Minimum Score for Credit: A minimum score which must be acheived to receive credit for the assessment. Set to 0 to accept all scores. If set and score is not met, gradebook will display "NC" (No Credit).
  • Show based on another assessment: Use this to hide this assessment until a specific score is acheived on another assessment. Provide a point value and select an assessment to use this feature. Set the assessment to "Don't Use" to not use this feature
  • All questions same random seed: Usually not needed. This is only need for a set of questions designed to work together using the same random values
  • All students receive same version of questions: All students receive the same first version of questions. If in practice test or homework mode, when students request a similar problem, different students will receive different versions of the questions.
  • Penalty for questions done while in exception/LatePass: A percent penalty to take on all questions submitted after the original assignment due date while under a due date exception.
  • Is group assessment?: Allows students to specify group members for the assignment. All group members will receive the same score for the assignment
  • Show question categories?: If you plan to categorize questions and would like the categories displayed while the student is taking the test, you can select that option here
  • LTI access secret: An access code to place this assessment in a BasicLTI-compliant consumer. More info

Qustion-specific instructions

In the Intro/Instructions box, you can make question-specific instructions by putting a tag of the form [Q #] or [Q #-#] before the text specific to that question or range of questions. Here is an example:

This is the general info

[Q 1]

This text will display before question 1

[Q 3-4]

This text will display before questions 3 and 4. Since there was no tag for question 2, it will display directly after question 1, with no associated intro text. Likewise, if there was a question 5, it would display directly after question 4 with no associated intro text.

Adding Questions to an Assessment

You can add existing questions to an assessment by clicking the "Select Library" button to choose libraries to search, then the "Search" button to list potential questions. Leave the "Search" entry blank to list all questions in the libraries selected. The checkboxes can be used to search in all libraries (not just the selected ones), list only questions you own, or exclude questions you've already added to your assessment.

From this list you can:
  • Use the checkboxes to select questions, then click the "Add Selected (using defaults)" button to add the questions. Adding this way will use the assessment default settings for points, attempts allowed, and penalty per attempt. You can change these later by clicking the "Change Settings" link.
  • Use the checkboxes to select questions, then click the "Add" button to add the questions. Adding this way will allow you to override the default settings for points, attempts allowed, and penalty per attempt if you wish, and add a question multiple times.
  • Click the "Add" link. This will allow you to change the default question settings
  • Click "Use as template for New Question" link. This will create a new question based upon the existing question. This allows you to avoid rewriting a question from scratch if a similar question exists
  • Click "Preview" to preview the question

Alternatively, you can click the "Select from Assessments" button to choose questions from existing assessments. In this mode, select the assessments you wish to pull questions from and click "Use these assessments". Then select the questions you wish to use.

Once added to the assessment you can:
  • Reorder Questions: When "Rearrange Questions" is selected, using the number selectors next to each question will allow you to rearrange the order of the questions. This is only useful if you are not shuffling the question order
  • Group Questions: When "Group Questions" is selected, using the number selectors next to each question will allow you to group questions. When questions are grouped, the testing engine will randomly select one question from the group to display to the student
  • Change Settings: Override the default settings for points, attempts allowed, and penalty per attempt, if desired
  • Edit Source: Change the question code or wording
  • Remove from assessment: Remove the question from the assessment. This does not delete the question from the Question Set. You can also use the checkboxes and the "With selected, Remove" button to remove multiple questions at once.

If students have taken the assessment, you will not be allowed to make as many changes to the assessment, as it will mess up existing student attempts. If you need to change the assessment a lot, you can clear all student attempts. Otherwise you can change individual question settings (be careful!) or edit the question if it's yours. If there is a problem with the question, you modify it, and want to give students another chance on that question, you can clear all attempts on a single question by clicking the "Clear Attempts" link here

Adding New Questions

Click the "Add New Question" to write a new question from scratch, then add it to the assessment. See the help section on Writing Questions for help on writing new questions

Categorizing Questions

After adding questions to an assessment, click the "Categorize Questions" button to categorize the questions in the assessment. Categorization allows you and students to see a score breakdown by question category.

In the question categorization page, you will see each question listed, followed by a category pull-down. By default, the list contains the names of all libraries containing the question. If you'd like to define a category not in the lists, type in the new category name in the box provided and click the "Add Category" button. The new category name will now appear in the pull-down lists next to each question, and can be selected to assign the question to that category. When you are done, click the "Record" button.

Making Print Copies

After adding questions to an assessment, click the "Create Print Version" to layout your assessment for printing.

On the first page, you will be asked what you would like to include in the test header. You will also be asked to enter your print margins setup. These can be found by choosing "Page Setup" from the "File" menu in your browser. In the Page Setup you may also wish to remove the default header and footer materials included in printouts by your browser.

On the next page, you will see alternating blue and green rectangles indicating the size of pages. Use the resizing buttons next to each question to increase or decrease the space after each question until the questions fall nicely onto the pages. You can use Print Preview in your browser to verify that the print layout looks correct. After you have completed the print layout, you will be given the chance to specify additional print options. Longer questions, such as those with graphs, may appear cut off in the print layout page. Be sure to resize those questions to show the entire question.

On the next page, select how many versions of the test you would like to generate, and whether you'd like to generate answer keys. After hitting continue, you print version of the test will be displayed. Choose Print in your browser to print your tests.

Quick View

Quick view is a condensed view of the course page. You can use it to quickly look over your entire course. It is more useful for major editing

It allows easy drag-and-drop reordering of course items. Changes will not be recorded until the "Record Changes" button is pressed.

You can also quickly rename items by clicking on their titles and changing the text. Again, changes will not be recorded until the "Record Changes" button is pressed.

When done in quick view, click the "Return to regular view" link to get back to the regular course page

Calendar

The calendar can be accessed from the course navigation bars, or by embedding the calendar on your course page. The calendar autopopulates with assessment item due dates, and discussion forum post-by and reply-by dates. Text items have options to place them on the calendar. The calendar displays with the current date on the top line; you can jump later in the future or look in the past using the "< <" and "> >" links above the calendar.

You can add additional items to the Calendar using the "Manage Events" link on the calendar. All items to be placed on the calendar need a date, a description, and a single letter or symbol tag that will show on the calendar

Question Set Management

Manage Question Set

Clicking the "Manage Question Set" link will allow you to search through the Question Set, modify questions, add questions, remove question, transfer ownership, or add a set of questions to a question library. Only administrators or question owners have the rights to remove a question. Be aware that if you remove a question that is currently being used in an assessment (as shown in the "Times Used" column), it will mess up that assessment.

The options available in the question set manager are:

  • Modify: Change the source code of the question and make library assignments. You will only see this option for questions you own or when the owner has given permission for anyone to modify the question.
  • View: View the source code of the question and make library assignements. You will only see this option for question you do not own.
  • Template: Create a new question, using the code of an existing question as a starting point. When you template a question, the original question is not changed.
  • Delete: Delete the question completely from the questionset and all libraries. You will only see this option for questions you own or when the owner has given permission for anyone to modify the question. You can delete many questions at once by selecting questions with the checkboxes, then clicking the Delete button near the top of the page.
  • Transfer: Transfer ownership of the question to another user. You will only see this option for questions you own. You can transfer many questions at once by selecting questions with the checkboxes, then clicking the Transfer button near the top of the page.
  • Library Assignment: The Library Assignment button near the top of the page can be used with the checkboxes to add or change your library assignments for the selected questions. This will not affect other people's assignments

Note that the assignment of questions into libraries can be done by anyone, but only the person who made the assignment is able to remove the question from the assigned library

Export Question Set

Use the "Export Question Set" feature to export a portion of the Question Set for backup or sharing. Use the search feature with the checkboxes to select questions for inclusion in the export. Clicking the "Finalize" button, you will be asked for a Library Description.

Import Question Set

Use the "Import Question Set" feature to import a Question Set that you or someone else had exported from IMathAS. Be sure to only import question sets from trusted sources. After specifying an import file, you will be given a chance to select specific questions from the set to be imported.

Imported questions will have ownership assigned to the importer. Select the userights you want to apply to all imported questions. You can import the questions directly into an existing library, or into the Unassigned library for later assignment.

If any questions (identified by a unique id) already exist in your system, you will be asked if you want to update the existing questions, or add as new questions. If you have modified questions previously imported, you may want to add as new.

Library Management

Manage Libraries

Use the library manager to remove, rename, change rights, change parent, or transfer ownership of question libraries. Be aware that if a library is deleted, the questions in that library will become unassigned; they are not deleted.

Libraries have a tree structure, where each library has a parent library. When you add or modify a library, you can change it's parent library. If you change a library's parent, all children library move with a library. You can only specify an empty library or existing parent library as a parent.

Libraries have use rights. Options are:

  • Private: Only the owner or an administrator can list questions in these libraries
  • Closed to group, private to others: Anyone in group can list and use questions, , but only the owner or an admin can add questions to the library. Hidden to anyone outside the group.
  • Open to group, private to others: Anyone in group can list and use questions and add to the library. Hidden to anyone outside the group.
  • Closed to all: Everyone can list and use questions, but only the owner or an admin can add questions to the library
  • Open to group, close to others: Anyone in group can list and use questions and add to the library. Outside the group, users can only list and use questions; they cannot add questions to the library
  • Open to all: Everyone can list and use questions and add to the library
With library rights, child rights take precedence over parent rights. For example, if an open library is a child to a private library, the parent will not be hidden from other users. However a private library as child to a private parent will be hidden from other users.

Depending upon the system configuration, non-admins may be limited to creating libraries that are private to others outside their group. If this is the case, a non-admin will need to contact an admin to create a library that is closed or open to all.

Library assignments are done in question management. Library assignments can be done by any user, but only the person who made the assignment can remove that assignment.

Export Libraries

Use the "Export Libraries" feature to export an entire library or tree of libraries for backup or sharing. Use the tree to select libraries to export. Note that if a parent library is selected, it's children libraries are automatically included in the export, and heirarchy will be maintained. If libraries from different trees are selected, the topmost libraries in each branch selected will be exported at the same level.

Import Libraries

Use the "Import Libraries" feature to import an entire library or tree of libraries. After selecting a file, the tree of libraries in the import file will be shown, and you can deselect libraries you do not want to import. Note that if a parent library is not selected, NONE of the children libraries will be added, regardless of whether they're checked or not.

You will be asked if you want to update existing questions/libraries, or add as new. If a library or question (identified by a unique id) in the import already exists on your system, this will tell the importer whether to update the existing libraries/questions, or import the libraries/questions as a new copy (a new unique id is assigned). If you have modified questions previously imported, you may want to add as new. Note that only the original importer can update questions they imported.

Imported libraries and questions will have ownership assigned to the importer. Select the userights you want to apply to all imported questions and libraries. You can select a parent in the library tree for all (top level) imported libraries

If you load a file that does not have a library tree embedded in the file, you will be told to use the Import Question Set feature instead. Even if a file has a library tree, you can use the Import Question Set feature to import specific questions from the file.

List Students

Use the "List Students" link to list the students in your class. On this page you can import (register and enroll) students from a file, enroll a student (already registered) with a known username. This is the easiest way to add a guest user to your class. Note that the "Last Login" date shows the last time the student logged into IMathAS, not necessarily the last time they accessed your course.

The List Students page also gives you access to student email addresses, as well as a link to send out a mass email or message to all students

Exceptions

Click the "Make Exception" link to change the Start or End date of an assessment for a single student. If you need to make exceptions for multiple students at once, or want to make exceptions for multiple assessments at once, use the "Make Exception" button in connection with the checkboxes in the Gradebook.

Resetting Passwords / Changing Info

Use the "Chg Info" link to reset a student's password, update their email address, username or full name, or change their section or code. You can also lock the student out of the course on this page. Doing so will display a message to the student that they need to see their instructor to regain access to the course. On this page you can also set a time limit multiplier for students needing extra time on timed assessments. Setting the multiplier to 1.5 would give the student 1.5 times the usual timelimit for all assessments.

Unenrolling

Use the "Unenroll" link to unenroll a student from the class, or the "Unenroll All" button to unenroll all students. This can be useful to clear out a classroom at the end of a term. Unenrolling all students will also delete all regular posts from the course's forums.

Import Students from File

Use the Import Students from File feature to register and enroll a set of students automatically from a CSV (commas separated values) file. You can generate a CSV file using any spreadsheet program.

The form will guide you through specifying which columns of the CSV file contain First name, Last name, email address, and desired username. Once setting these options, the first five rows of the file will be displayed so you can verify that the import settings are correct. The students will be both registered and enrolled in the current class upon submission.

Assigning Section and/or Code Numbers

Click the "Assign section and/or code numbers" link to assign section or code numbers to students. These only serve for identification purposes, the the gradebook will be sorted first by section, then by name. Section can be alphanumeric; code number must be numeric, up to 4 digits.

Manage LatePasses

Click the "Manage LatePasses" link to give students LatePasses. Students can redeed a LatePass for an extension on an online assessment without your intervention, provided you have clicked the "Allow use of latepasses" option in that assessment.

On this page you can also define the number of hours extension a LatePass will grant

Manage Tutors

Click the "Manage Tutors" link to manage tutors for your class. Tutors can have an instructor account or student account. Tutors will be able to view students' scores and online assessments. If given permission, tutors can edit or enter online or offline scores.

Add tutors by listing their usernames in the box provided. Remove tutors by clicking the "Remove" checkboxes next to tutors and clicking Update

Once tutors are added, you can limit them to a single section of the course. If selected, tutors will only be able to see scores for students in the section they're limited to. This can be used in conjunction with the diagnostic system, since second-level selections become the student's section identifier

Gradebook

Click the "Gradebook" link to show the gradebook. The gradebook shows each student's score on each assessment and any offline grades you've entered. Click on a student's assessment score to show detail on their assessment attempt, or on a student's offline grade to change their grade. Click the Settings link in the table header if you need to change an assessment's settings. Click on an assessment's average score to view an breakdown showing the average score on each question. Click on an offline grade's average score or the Settings link in the table header to change the settings for that item or modify all students' grades at once.

By using checkboxes next to student's names, you can send messages or emails to multiple students, or make due date exceptions for multiple students at once

Gradebook Settings and Categories

Click the "Gradebook Settings" to change Gradebook settings and create or modify categories. This allows you to create a grading scheme.

Your overall settings are:

  • Calculate total using: Select "points earned" to use a points earned out of points possible grading scheme. Select "Category weights" to assign a percentage weight to each category in calculation of total grade.
  • Gradebook display: Select whether to order the gradebook by item dates (Available until dates for assessments, Show After dates for offline grades) or if you want to group items by category

The next section lets you define categories. There is always the "Default" category, but it will not display if there are no items assigned to it. To add a new category, click the "Add Category" link to add a new line to the table, then fill in the name and other info, then click "Update"

For each category, you can specify:

  • Name: The name of the category
  • Scale (optional): Scale the category total by specifying a point value or percent value to be scaled up to 100%. For example, if the category point value was 80 points, and a student earned 50 points, their category total would be 50 points. If you specified a scale of 60 points, then the students grade would become 80*(50/60) = 66.7 points out of 80. You can specify whether grades that would end up over 100% should be chopped to 100%. You can specify no scale by leaving the Scale box blank.
  • Drops (optional): You can specify whether to drop the lowest N scores, or keep the highest N scores from the category. Set the number to 0 to keep all scores.
  • Weight/Fix Category Point Total: If you are using a "Category Weights" grading scheme, enter the percent weights for each category here. If the category percents don't add to 100%, they are all scaled equally so they do add to 100%. If you are using a "Points earned" grading scheme, you can fix the point value for the category here (optional). For example, if the current category total is 50 points and a student earns 40 points, if you specified a fixed point value of 100 points, the students score would become 80 points. Leave this blank to use the actual category point total.
  • Remove: When you remove a category, any items currently assigned to that category will be assigned to the Default category

Offline Grades

To add an offline grade, click the "Add Offline Grade" link on the gradebook page. You can specify:
  • Name: The name to give the grade item
  • Points: The number of points possible on the item
  • Show to students after: The date after which to show the item to students
  • Gradebook Category: The gradebook category you wish to assign the item to
  • Count: Whether to count the score in the gradebook total, not count it, or count it as extra credit
  • Allow tutors to edit: Whether tutors should be able to edit scores for this item

You can then enter grades for each student. If you leave a grade blank, no grade will be recorded for that student. You can edit these settings or edit all students' grades at a later time by clicking the "Average" in the gradebook for this item. You can edit an individual student's grade by clicking on their score in the gradebook for this item. You can leave feedback for students about their grade using the boxes provided.

You can manage offline grades by clicking the "Offline Grades: Manage" link on the gradebook page. This page allows you to delete, change the availability, or change the gradebook assignment of a set of offline grade items.

Gradebook Detail

When you click on a student's score in the gradebook, you will see the specific assessment that they received and the last answer they provided, as well as their score on each question and the attempts used. You can override the scores they received on this page. You can also send a student a message about a question, quoting their version of the question in the message. At the bottom of the page is a box to leave the student feedback about the assessment.

If you wish to give a student another chance to take an assessment, click the "Clear Attempt" or "Clear Scores" link. Note: This will clear their current scores, answers, and attempts used. The "Clear Attempt" link will make it appear the student never started the assessment, and the student will receive a different version of the assessment when they access the assessment. The "Clear Scores" link will clear the student's scores and attempts to 0, but the student will receive the same version of the assessment when they access it.

If you categorized the questions in the assessment, you will also see a category breakdown at the bottom of the details page

Student Groups

The Student Groups page allows you to manipulate student groups associated with assessments that you have designated as group assessments. When you first access this page, you will be presented with a list of group assessments. Select the assessment you want to modify groups for

You will be presented with a list of groups (the group number is arbitrary) with the students in each group. To separate a student from the group, click the "Break from Group" link.

At the bottom of the page is a list of students not assigned to a group. If you wish to assign students to groups, click the checkboxes next to the students' names. In the "add to group: " pulldown, select the group you want to add the students to, or select "New Group", and click Add

When students are broken from the group, they retain the version of the assessment and progress the group had acheived before you broke them from the group. If a student is added to a group, any work they've already done is lost and replaced with the group's version and progress. Any changes to an assessment made by one group member affects all group members.

Messages

The message system allows you to send a message to students in the class. This is an internal message system; it is not emailed unless the student has requested email notification.

Click Send New Message to send a new message to a student. If you want to send a message to multiple students, use the "List Students" page. Select a student from the pull-down list, and type your message.

When viewing messages, you can either Reply to the message, or use the "Quote in Reply" option to quote the original message in your reply.

Copy Course Items

Course Item Copy allows you to copy items in your course or an entire course structure, or copy items from another instructor's course. Note that item structure, items, and settings are exported, but not students, assessment attempts, or forum threads.

On the first page, select a course to copy from. If you select a course that is not one of your own courses, you must enter the course Enrollment Key as verification that you have received permission to copy from the course.

On the second page, select the items you wish to import. If you export an item currently contained in a block and do not export the block, the item will be exported as an item on the main course page.

You can optionally append words to the end of the title of each item, or place the copied items into an existing block.

You can optionally also specify to copy the course settings (the items you'd set under Modify on the Admin page), or copy the gradebook scheme and gradebook categories. Copying the gradebook scheme will overwrite the existing gradebook scheme in your course. Copying the gradebook scheme will also retain any category assignments for the assessments you're copying.

Change Dates

The Change Dates page allows you to change the dates for all your course items on one page. On this page you will see a list of your course items, with inputs for start date, end date, and review date (for assessments). You can filter the list to only show one item type using the Filter selection at the top of the page, and you can change the sort order to sort by start date, end date, or name.

If you change dates on any line and click the "Send down list" button on that line, the date change will be made to all items below that item in the list. For example, if you add one day to an item and click "Send down list", one day will be added to all items lower in the list. By default the system only allows Monday-Friday dates; you can switch to a 7-day week by unchecking the "Shift by weekdays only" checkbox

Change Assessments

The Change Assessments page allows you to change assessment settings for many assessments at the same time. Begin by selecting all the assessments you want to change settings for using the checkboxes next to each assessment's name

Select which options you want to change by clicking the checkbox in the "Change?" column, then adjust the setting in the "Option" column. When you are done, click "Submit"

Import/Export Course Items

Course Item import/export allows you to share a course setup with other instructors, or copy a class for yourself. Note that item structure and questions are exported, but not students, assessment attempts, or forum threads.

On Export, you provide a export description, and select the items you wish to export. If you export an item currently contained in a block and do not export the block, the item will be exported as an item on the main course page.

On Import, first provide the import file. If there are assessment questions that do not already exist on your system, they will be added to the system. Select the library into which these questions should be imported. If a question already exists, you can select whether to update the existing question with the import question (if it is newer), or create a new copy of the question in the designated library. Select the items to import, and click "Import Items".

Mashups: Google Gadget

IMathAS has experimental support for two mashups: BasicLTI as a producer, and Google Gadgets

There is a Google Gadget which users can add to their iGoogle account available through a link on the Change User Info page, accessible from the users' home page. The gadget will tell the user how many new messages and forum posts they have.

There is also a link from the Google Gadget page to a webpage that will report new messages and posts without requiring you to log in. This page is convenient on a mobile device.

BasicLTI

IMathAS can be used as a BasicLTI producer using two instructor-initiated placement methods: course level, or assessment level. A course level placement will provide access to an entire IMathAS course; an assessment level placement will allow you to provide access to a single assessment via LTI. You can set the LTI access secret through the Course Settings and Assessment Settings pages. The URL and key to use are also provided on those pages. Follow the instructions in your LTI consumer to make the placement using the URL, key and secret.

Your LTI keys will take the form cid_###_# or aid_###_#. The last number determines how authentication is handled. If that last digit is 0, then when the student accesses the LTI placement, the first time they will be asked to sign into their IMathAS account or create one, and that account will be linked with the account at the host LMS. From then on, when the same student accesses any LTI placement, they will not need to sign in again. They will be able to sign in directly to IMathAS as well.

If the last digit of your LTI key is 1, then a student account will automatically be created the first time a student accesses the LTI placement, and that account will be linked with the host LMS account. The student will not be provided an IMathAS username or password, so they will only be able to access IMathAS resources through the LMS LTI placements.

IMathAS can also be an LTI consumer. In any text item, enter [LTI: url=theurl, key=thekey, secret=thesecret] to place a tool

Writing Questions

The IMathAS question format is based on PHP.

Question Parts

A question is formed in several parts:

Note: All control code can be placed in the "Common Control" box; the Question Control and Answer sections do not have to be used.

Basic Control Syntax

Lines of the common control, question control, and answer sections usually take the form of variable definition. In IMathAS, variables are identified with a dollarsign ($) prefix. For example, $a is the variable a. Most lines will take one of these forms:

In some cases you want to define several variables at once. There are two ways to do this: In the first example, variables $a and $b each take on a value. In the second example, the variable $ar is an array; the elements can be accessed as $ar[0] and $ar[1] (note that arrays are zero-indexed). If you use this approach, enclose the variable reference in parenthesis in calculations, like $new = ($ar[0])^2, and in curly brackets inside strings, like $string = "there were {$ar[0]} people".

You can also literally define an array using the "array" function. Examples: $ar = array(2,3,4,5), or $ar = array("red","green","blue")

Note that numbers are not in quotes, and strings are in quotes. When you use the double-quote mark (") to define a string, you can interpolate variables into the string. Example:

$a = 3
$b = 5
$str = "What is $a/$b"
In this example, $str now contains "What is 3/5".

If needed, you can concatenate (combine) two strings using the . operator. Example:

$a = "string one "
$b = "string two"
$both = $a . $b
Here, $both now contains the string "string one string two"

If you have a long command to type, you can put a "&" at the end of a line to specify it continues on the next line. Example:

$questions = array("this is choice 1",&
"this is choice 2")
If defining a string for display, you can put a "&&" at the end of a line to specify it continues on the next line and insert an HTML line break. Example:
$showanswer = "Do this first. &&
Then do this."
will be interpreted as:
$showanswer = "Do this first. <br/>Then do this."

Conditionals

Any assignment line can be followed by one of two conditional: "where" or "if".

"where" is used to repeat the previous assignment if the condition provided is not met. The "where" condition is almost exclusively used with array randomizers. Example: to select two different numbers that are not opposites:

$a,$b = diffrands(-5,5,2) where ($a+$b!=0)

"if" is used to make an assignment conditional. For example:

$a = rand(0,1)
$b = "sin(x)" if ($a==0)
$b = "cos(x)" if ($a==1)

Note the use of double equal signs (==) for testing equality. A single equal sign (=) will make an assignment (change the value of $a in this example) and return "true", which is probably not what you intended to do.

Comparison operators available for "if" and "where" statements:

  • == Equal to
  • != Not equal to
  • > Greater than
  • < Less than
  • >= Greater than or equal to
  • <= Less than or equal to
To do compound conditionals, use || for "or", and && for "and". For example:
$a = nonzerorand(-9,9) where ($a!=1 && $a!=-1)

The "if" condition can also be used before or after a code block like this:

$a = rand(0,1)
if ($a==0) {
   $b = 1
   $c = 2
}
or
$a = rand(0,1)
{
   $b = 1
   $c = 2
} if ($a==0)
When "if" is used before a block of code, it can optionally be followed with "elseif" and/or an "else" statement, like this:
$a = rand(0,5)
if ($a==0) {
   $b = 1
} elseif ($a==2) {
   $b = 3
} else {
   $b = 2
}

"where" can also be applied to a block of code:

{ 
  $a = rand(-5,-1)
  $b = rand(1,5)
} where ($a+$b !==0)

Loops

There are several looping macros (such as calconarray) that can meet most needs. For more general use there is a "for" loop:

for ($i=a..b) { action }

Here a and b represent whole numbers or variables. Expressions are not allowed.

Examples:

$f = 0
for ($i=1..5) { $f = $f + $i }

$a = rands(1,5,5)
$b = rands(1,5,5)
for ($i=0..4) {
  $c[$i] = $a[$i]*$b[$i] 
}

Conditions can be used inside a for loop, but not outside without explicit blocking

for ($i=1..5) {$a = $a+$i if ($i>2) }     WORKS
for ($i=1..5) {$a = $a+$i} if ($a>2)     DOES NOT WORK
{for ($i=1..5) {$a = $a+$i} } if ($a>2)    WORKS

Randomizers

Note on macros: The descriptions below explain macros available and the arguments the functions should be called with. Arguments in [square brackets] are optional arguments, and can be omitted.

Single result randomizers: Array randomizers (return multiple results):

Graph/Table Macros

The following macros create graphs or tables:

Format Macros

The following macros help with formatting values for display:

String Macros

These macros help with working with strings:

Array Macros

These macros are for working with arrays:

General Macros

These macros are fairly general purpose:

Math Macros

These macros are used for mathematical calculations:

Conditional Test Macros

These macros are used to test various conditions. They typically return true or false, depending on whether the desired condition is met.

Feedback Macros

These macros are used to select and format feedback messages to students. They return a string which can be placed in the question text.

Using Other Macros

If an IMathAS administrator has installed other Macro Libraries, you can load a macro library by entering the line

loadlibrary("list of library names")
at the beginning of the Common Control section.

Examples:

loadlibrary("stats")
or
loadlibrary("stats,misc")

Click on the "Macro Library Help" link in the question editor to get a list of installed macro libraries and the macros available in each library

Math Entry

IMathAS uses ASCIIMath for math entry. For calculations, a limited subset is available:
SymbolMeaning
* / + -Multiply, divide, add, subtract
^Powers. 2^3 = 8.
e, piThe standard constants
%Modulus (remainder after division. 5%2 = 1)
!Factorial
sqrtSquare root
sin,cos,tan,cot,sinh,coshStandard trig function. Be sure to enter as sin(2), not sin 2
arcsin,arccos,arctan,arcsinh,arccoshInverse trig functions.
sin^-1, cos^-1, tan^-1Alternative entry for inverse trig functions. Use like sin^-1(0.5)
lnNatural Logarithm base e
logCommon Logarithm base 10
absAbsolute Value. Note that while abs() is used for calculations, you may prefer to use | brackets for display
round(n,d)round number n to d decimal places
floor,ceilfloor/ceiling: integer below/above given number

For display only, the full ASCIIMath language is available (which includes support for a limited subset of LaTeX). For more info, see the full ASCIIMath syntax, or look at some examples.

Common options to all types

All question types can support these options:

Hints

For a single question (not multipart), to use hints, in the common control (or question control) section define the array $hints where:

$hints[attempt number] = "hint text"

For example:

$hints[0] = "This will show on first display"
$hints[1] = "This will show on second attempt (after 1 missed attempt)"
$hints[2] = "This will show on third and subsequent attempts, since no later values have been defined"
It is fine, or example, to not define $hints[0] if you want nothing to display initially.

Then in the question text, place the location of the hint using the variable $hintloc.

In multipart questions, you can follow the process above if you just want a single strand of hints for the entire problem. If you want per-part hints, define the $hints array as:

$hints[question part number][attempt number] = "hint text"
Then in question text, place each hint using $hintloc[question part number]

Help references

To provide help of some sort for a question (typically, links to videos, book references, etc), define $helptext in the common control section. Any text assigned to this variable will show above the answer box entry tips. The display of this text is controlled by the same "show hints?" option that controls the display of hints described above.

Referencing Student Answers

To create multipart questions that are graded on consistency, or to create a set of lab-type problems that rely on student-provided data, you can reference students' previous answers in your question code. You will only be able to reference the student answer to some question types

Notes (important!):

1) If the student has not answered the question, then $stuanswers[N] == null. If used in an equation, it will take on the value 0. To prevent divide-by-zero errors and to prevent students from exploiting this, it is highly recommended that you do something like:

$a = $stuanswers[$thisq][0]
$a = rand(1,100) if ($a==null)
Perhaps also include: $warning = "You MUST answer question 1 before this question" if ($a==null), then put $warning in the question text.

2) If you use $stuanswers in your $answer, $showanswer will generally not be defined. If you follow the advice in #1 above, then your $showanswer will reflect the random number assigned to $a. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you custom define the $showanswer.

3) If using the $stuanswers array in a string or in the Question Text, you must enclose it with curly brackets: Your answer was {$stuanswers[0][0]}. If using it directly in a calculation, enclose it in parentheses just to be safe.

4) $stuanswers[$thisq] is defined for question scoring, but may not be for question display.

5) You can use the function getstuans($stuanswers,N,P) to retreive a student answer value. This method bypasses some strange things that happen when there is a multipart question with only one part.

Reusing Code

You can import in the Common Control code from another question using

includecodefrom(questionid)
where questionid is the ID number of the question you want to import the code of. In the source question, the variable $included will automatically be set to true when the question has been included, so it can be used to determine if the question has been imported into another question, or is running independently.

For example, in the master/source question, you might use the code:

if (!$included) {
 $type = rand(0,4)
}
do stuff here
In a question using this code, you could limit to a specific type using:
$type = 0
includecodefrom(1234)

Question text can be also brought in from another question by using

includeqtextfrom(questionid)
somewhere in the Question Text portion of the question.

Question Types

The question types available are:

Number

The student is asked to enter a number (integer, decimal, or scientific notation). The answer is compared to a given tolerance. Can also accept DNE, oo (Infinity), and -oo (Negative Infinity) as answers.

Required Variables

$answer = a number or calculation resulting in a number, like $answer = 5 (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Define multiple acceptable answers in a string separated by or: $answer = "3 or 5 or 7". Alternatively, you can provide an interval notation range of acceptable answers, like $answer = "(2,5]". Providing a range will override any tolerances set. If $answerformat is set for list answers, then this should provide a list of correct answers, like $answer = "1,2,3".

Optional Variables

$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$reqdecimals = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the decimal accuracy required (ie 2 for two decimal places). This will put a message in the answer tips stating the decimals required. If neither $abstolerance or $reltolerance is set, this will set the tolerance, otherwise the provided tolerance will be used (even if it doesn't agree with the $reqdecimal setting).
$reqsigfigs = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the significant figure accuracy required. Use $reqsigfigs = 2 for at least 2 sig fig accuracy, or $reqsigfigs = "=2" to require exactly 2 sig figs in the answer, or $reqsigfigs = "[2,3]" to require 2 or 3 sigfigs. This will put also a message in the answer tips stating the significant figures required. This overrides both $reltolerance and $abstolerance. If you use the "=2" form, it will also round your $answer if needed for the $showanswer.
$answerformat = "list", "exactlist", or "orderedlist"
Specifies that a list of answers is expected. If $answerformat="list", then duplicate values are ignored. If $answerformat="exactlist", then duplicate values are not ignored. If $answerformat="orderedlist", the list must be in the same order and contain identical counts of values.
$partialcredit = array(number,score,[number,score,...]) (In Common Control)
Allows you to specify partial credit for other answers. The array should be given in the form array(number,score,number,score,...), where number is the value to compare to the student answer, and score is a proportion between 0 and 1 to award as partial credit. Note this currently only works for single number answers; "or" and list answers are not supported.
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="y="
$displayformat = "alignright" (In Common Control)
Aligns the text in the answer box to the right side
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to $answer. Use this to give a detailed answer, or a rounded off answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Calculated

A student is asked to enter a number or a calculation, like 2/3, 5^2, or sin(2). Can also accept DNE, oo (Infinity), and -oo (Negative Infinity) as answers.

Required Variables

$answer = a number or calculation resulting in a number (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Define multiple acceptable answers in a string separated by or: $answer = "3 or 5 or 7". Alternatively, you can provide an interval notation range of acceptable answers, like $answer = "(2,5]". Providing a range will override any tolerances set

Optional Variables

$answerformat = "fraction", "reducedfraction", "mixednumber", "sloppymixednumber", "mixednumberorimproper", "scinot", "fracordec", "nodecimal", "notrig", "allowmixed", "noval", "list", "exactlist", or "orderedlist" (In Common Control)
Specifies answer format options. Some can be combined, like this: $answerformat="nodecimal,notrig".
  • fraction: requires the answer to be a single fraction (like 10/6, 1/3, or 5)
  • reducedfraction: a reduced fraction (like 5/3 or 5)
  • mixednumber: a reduced mixed number (like 2 1/2 or 2_1/2, or 2/3 or 5)
  • mixednumberorimproper: a reduced mixed number or improper fraction (like 2 1/2 or 5/2)
  • sloppymixednumber: a mixed number (will take 5/2, 2 1/2, even 1 3/2)
  • scinot: scientific notation (like 2.3*10^4)
  • fracordec: a single fraction or decimal value
  • nodecimal: an answer without decimals (also disallows 10^-2 and 3E-2).
  • notrig: an answer without trig functions (sin,cos,tan,sec,csc,cot)
  • allowmixed: will accept mixed numbers (like 2 1/2) as well as other expressions
  • noval: tells the answer preview to not compute a decimal equivalent
  • list: a list of answers is expected - ignores duplicate values (1,1,2 is equivalent to 1,2)
  • exactlist: a list of answers is expected - does not ignore duplicates
  • orderedlist: a list of answers is expected - order is important, and duplicates are not ignored
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$reqdecimals = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the decimal accuracy required (ie 2 for two decimal places). This will put a message in the answer tips stating the decimals required. If neither $abstolerance or $reltolerance is set, this will set the tolerance, otherwise the provided tolerance will be used (even if it doesn't agree with the $reqdecimal setting).
$requiretimes = a list, like "^,=3,cos,<2" (In Common Control)
Adds format checking to the student's answer. The list can include multiple checks, which come in pairs. The first is the symbol to look for. The second describes what is acceptable. For example, in the string shown above, the symbol "^" would be required to show up exactly 3 times, and "cos" would be required to show up less than 2 times.
You can use "#" in the symbol location to match any number (including decimal values); 3.2^5 would match twice.
You can use a regular expression by putting in the symbol location "regex:expression"
$requiretimeslistpart = a list, in the same format as $requiretimes (In Common Control)
Similar to $requiretimes, but this check is applied to each element of the answer list when a list $answerformat is used, where $requiretimes would be applied to the entire list of answers.
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="y="
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20.
$hidepreview = true (In Common Control)
Hides the Preview button. Could be useful in multipart questions, or if you're only asking for a simple response, like a fraction
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to $answer. Use this to give a detailed answer, or a rounded off answer.
$previewloc (In Question Text)
Where you want the preview button to be located. Defaults to after the entry box if not placed in question text.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Multiple-Choice

A student is asked to select the correct answer from those given. The order of choices is automatically randomized.

Required Variables

$questions (or $choices) = an array of choices (In Common Control)
Defines the choices. If you use $choices, don't define $questions
$answer = the index into $questions that contains the correct answer (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Remember that arrays are zero-indexed, so if $questions = array("correct","wrong","wrong"), then $answer=0. Define multiple acceptable answer indices in a string separated by or: $answer = "0 or 1".

Optional Variables

$displayformat = "horiz", "select", "2column, "3column", or "inline" (In Common Control)
Will lay out the choices horizontally, as a select box, in multiple columns, or inline with text rather than using the default vertical layout
$noshuffle = "all" or "last" (In Common Control)
If $noshuffle="all", then the $questions array will not be randomized (shuffled). If $noshuffle = "last", then the $questions array will be randomized, except for the last element. This is for options like "None of the above"
$partialcredit = array(index,score,[index,score,...]) (In Common Control)
Allows you to specify partial credit for other answers. The array should be given in the form array(index,score,index,score,...), where index is the index in $questions, and score is a proportion between 0 and 1 to award as partial credit. For example, if $answer = 0 and $partialcredit = array(2,.3), then the student would get full credit for selecting the item corresponding with $questions[0], and 30% credit for selecting the item corresponding with $questions[2]. All other answers would receive 0 credit.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the choice list in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Multiple-Answer

A student is asked to select all the choices given that are correct. The order of choices is automatically randomized.

Required Variables

$questions (or $choices)= an array of questions (In Common Control)
Defines the choices. If you use $choices, don't define $questions
$answers = a list of the indexes into $questions that contain the correct answer (In Common Control)
Defines the answers. Remember that arrays are zero-indexed, if $questions = array("correct","correct","wrong"), then $answers="0,1"

Optional Variables

$scoremethod = "answers" or "allornothing" (In Common Control)
By default, the total points possible are divided by the number of questions, and partial credit is lost for each correct answer missed and each wrong answer selected. If $scoremethod="answers" is set, then the total points possible are divided by the number of answers (tougher grading scheme). If $scoremethod="allornothing", then the student will only get credit if every piece is correct (no partial credit).
$displayformat = "horiz", "2column, "3column", or "inline" (In Common Control)
Will lay out the choices horizontally, in multiple columns, or inline with text rather than using the default vertical layout
$noshuffle = "all" (In Common Control)
If $noshuffle="all", then the $questions array will not be randomized (shuffled)
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the choice list in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answers. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Matching

A student is asked to match answers with questions

Required Variables

$questions = an array of questions (In Common Control)
Defines the questions - these will be on the left with entry boxes
$answers = an array of answers (In Common Control)
Defines the answers - these will be on the right and lettered

Optional Variables

$matchlist = a list of the indexes into $answers that contain the match to each question. (In Common Control)
Defines correct matches. By default, it is assumed that each element of $questions is matched one-to-one with the corresponding element of $answers (in other words, that $answers[0] is the answer to $questions[0]).
$matchlist allows you to define one-to-many matches. Example: if $questions=array("cat","dog","quartz") and $answers=array("animal","mineral"), then $matchlist = "0,0,1"
$questiontitle = string (In Common Control)
Displays a title above the list of questions. For example, if $questions was a list of states, then $questiontitle="States" would be appropriate
$answertitle = string (In Common Control)
Displays a title above the list of answers
$noshuffle = "questions" or "answers"
Retains original order of questions or answers, and only shuffles the other. By default, both lists are shuffled
$displayformat = "select" or "2columnselect"
Only displays the $answers, with select boxes next to each containing the $questions. This should only be used with pure text $questions.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place matching questions and answers in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the list of correct matches. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Function

A student is asked to enter a function

Required Variables

$answer = string (In Common Control)
Defines the answer function, entered as a string. For example, $answer="2sin(x)"

Optional Variables

$variables = string (In Common Control)
A list of all variables in the function (including letters representing constants). Defaults to "x". Can use "f()" to indicate a symbol represents a function.
$domain = "inputmin,inputmax" (In Common Control)
Defines the domain on which to compare the given answer and correct answer functions. The same domain applies to all variables. An option third list element "integers" can be given, which limits the domain to integer values. The domain defaults to real numbers from -10 to 10. If using multiple variables, can extend domain to define domain for each variable separately. Example: $variables = "x,y"; $domain = "0,5,20,25"
$requiretimes = a list, like "^,=3,cos,<2" (In Common Control)
Adds format checking to the student's answer. The list can include multiple checks, which come in pairs. The first is the symbol to look for. The second describes what is acceptable. For example, in the string shown above, the symbol "^" would be required to show up exactly 3 times, and "cos" would be required to show up less than 2 times. You can use "#" in the symbol location to match any number (including decimal values); 3.2x+42y would match twice.
$answerformat = "equation" or "toconst" (In Common Control)
By default, the student answer is expected to be an expression, and be equivalent (at points) to the specified answer. This option changes this behavior.
"equation": Specifies that the answer expected is an equation rather than an expression. The given answer should also be an equation. Be sure to specify all variables in the equation in $variables. This may fail on equations that are near zero for most values of the input; this can often be overcome by changing the $domain
"toconst": Specifies that the answer provided by the student is allowed to differ from the specified answer by a constant for all inputs. Appropriate for comparing antiderivatives. This may fail on expressions that evaluate to very large values or raise numbers to very large powers.
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="y="
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20.
$hidepreview = true (In Common Control)
Hides the Preview button. Could be useful in multipart questions, but generally not recommended
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to makeprettydisp($answer).
$previewloc (In Question Text)
Where you want the preview button to be located. Defaults to after the entry box if not placed in question text.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

String

A student is asked to enter a string (a word or list of letters).

Required Variables

$answer = a string (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Multiple acceptable answers can be entered using "or". Example: $answer = "dog or cat"

Optional Variables

$strflags = string of flags, like "ignore_case=1,trim_whitespace=0" (In Common Control)
Determines how the string will be compared. Set to 1 to turn on, 0 for off. Flags are:
  • ignore_case: ignores capitol/lowercase differences
  • trim_whitespace: trims leading and ending whitespace (spaces)
  • compress_whitespace: compresses multiple spaces to one space and trims
  • remove_whitespace: removes all whitespace (spaces)
  • ignore_order: treats ABC and CBA as equivalent
  • ignore_commas: removes commas
  • partial_credit: awards partial credit based on Levenshtein distance between strings
  • allow_diff=n: gives full credit for answers with Levenshtein distance between strings ≤ n
  • in_answer: gives credit if $answer is contained anywhere in the student answer
  • regex: interprets $answer as a regular expression (pattern) to evaluate the student's answer. For example, $answer="cost.*increas" will give credit if the word cost appears before increas in the student's answer. $answer="increas|ris" will accept any of the following: increasing, increases, rising, or risen etc.
  • special_or: use *or* for separating answers rather than or.
  • ignore_symbol=sym: Unlike the other flags, this is not an on/off flag. Set this equal to a symbol to ignore that symbol in student answers. This flag can be used multiple times with different symbols.
By default, compress_whitespace and ignore_case are On. Only one of partial_credit, allow_diff, in_answer or regex may be used at a time.
$scoremethod = "takeanything" (In Common Control)
Sets the problem to give full credit for any answer.
$answerformat = "list" (In Common Control)
Specifies that a list of answers is expected. Renders ignore_commas unnecessary. Cannot be used with partial_credit flag. Duplicates are not ignored.
$displayformat = "usepreview" or "typeahead"(In Common Control)
"usepreview" adds a preview button for previewing mathematical answers.
"typeahead" will enable an auto-suggest list of options once the student has typed at least two letters of the word. Provide the auto-suggest list in the variable $questions.
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="type: "
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the answer entry box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Essay

A student is asked to enter a free-response answer. The essay type is not automatically graded.

Required Variables
None - the essay type is not computer graded.

Optional Variables

$answerboxsize = "rows" or $answerboxsize = "rows,columns" (In Common Control)
Determines size of space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 5 rows, 50 columns.
$displayformat = "editor" (In Common Control)
Use the rich text editor for the essay answer box.
$scoremethod = "takeanything" (In Common Control)
Sets the problem to give full credit for any answer.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the essay box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Drawing

Drawing questions require the student to draw one or more lines/curves or dots. Dots are graded right/wrong. Lines/curves are graded based on the deviation of the drawn line from the correct line.

Required Variables

$answers = a string or array of strings describing the points or curves to be drawn (In Common Control)
Curves: "f(x)" or "f(x),xmin,xmax", like "x^2+3" or "x,-3,2"
Dots: "x,y" for closed dots, "x,y,open" for open dots, like "2,3"

Optional Variables

$answerformat = "line,lineseg,dot,opendot" or "polygon" or "twopoint" or "inequality" or "numberline" (In Common Control)
Limits the drawing tools available to students. Defaults to "line,dot,opendot". Define to limit the options. Example: $answerformat = "line", or $answerformat = "line,dot"
$answerformat = "polygon" can be used for drawing a single polygon; give $answer as array of points in order joined with edges.
$answerformat="inequality" will use a set of drawing tools for graphing linear inequalities in two variables. Give $answers for non-vertical lines in form like ">=3x+4", "<5x+4", and "x<=3" for vertical lines.
$answerformat="inequality,parab" will use a set of drawing tools for graphing quadratic inequalities in two variables. Give $answers in form like ">=x^2-4", "<x^2+1". Use $answerformat="inequality,both" to turn on lines and parabolas.
$answerformat="numberline" will use a set of drawing tools for graphing inequalities or points in one variable on a number line. Give $answers as dots and line segments, or use the intervalstodraw function from the interval macro library to form the $answers array.
$answerformat="twopoint" will use a different set of drawing tools for specific shapes that all use two control points to define the shape.
  • $answerformat="twopoint" will use a default tool set of line, parabola, absolute value, circle, and dot tools
  • You can limit or expand the tools by specifying them: e.g. $answerformat = "twopoint,line,parab". Valid values are: line, parab,abs,circle,dot,sqrt,trig,vector,exp
  • For lines, parabolas, absolute values, square roots, sines, cosines, exponentials and dots, give $answers in the normal way (as a function of x)
  • For circles, use "circle,x,y,radius", like "circle,2,-1,3"
  • For vertical lines use "x=number", like "x=3".
  • For vectors, use "vector, x_start, y_start, x_end, y_end" for position vectors, or "vector, dx, dy" for displacement vectors
$grid = "xmin,xmax,ymin,ymax,xscl,yscl,imagewidth,imageheight" (In Common Control)
Defines the grid to be drawn on. Defaults to "-5,5,-5,5,1,1,300,300". You can set all or just some of the values. For example, to just set the window, you could use "0,10,0,10"
If using $answerformat="numberline", set ymin and ymax to 0.
If desired, you can set separate label and grid spacing using "xmin,xmax,ymin,ymax,xlabel:xgrid,ylabel:ygrid,imagewidth,imageheight". You can specify axis labels using "xmin,xmax,ymin,ymax,xlabel:xgrid:xaxislabel,ylabel:ygrid:yaxislabel,imagewidth,imageheight"
$snaptogrid = spacing (In Common Control)
Turns on snapping, where points will jump to a grid. $snaptogrid = 1 will jump to the nearest integer. $snaptogrid = 0.5 will jump to the nearest .5. $snaptogrid = "2:4" will jump to the nearest 2 in the x and 4 in the y. Does not have to match the actual grid line spacing. Be aware that due to pixelation, the snapping may not land on exact values correctly. This is usually corrected for automatically, but it sometimes fails if the correction would be too large. In that case, use the getsnapwidthheight macro to compute an imagewidth and imageheight that will be pixel accurate.
$background = equation or array of equations, using the showplot macro format (In Common Control)
Define a graph to display in the background, to be drawn on top of. Example: $background = "x^2,red"
$partweights = array or list of weights (In Common Control)
Defines grading weight for each line or dot in $answers. Example: $partweights = ".5,.25,.25". Defaults to equal weights on each line or dot.
$reltolerance = tolerance scaling factor
Scales the grading tolerance. Defaults to 1. Set $reltolerance = 2 to make the grading twice as tolerant; $reltolerance = 0.5 to make grading half as forgiving
$abstolerance = grading cutoff
Sets all-or-nothing grading. If score < $abstolerance, the student receives 0 for the question (note: score is between 0 and 1). Otherwise the student will receive full credit. Not set by default.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input drawing tool in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

N-Tuple

N-Tuple questions require the student to enter an n-tuple or list of n-tuples. This can be used for coordinate points, vectors, or any other n-tuple of numbers.

Required Variables

$answer = a string containing an n-tuple or list of n-tuples (In Common Control)
Defines the answer n-tuple or list of n-tuples. N-tuples can be any dimension, but must be surrounded by any of: (), [], {}, <>. Examples: $answer = "(1,2)", $answer = "<2,3,4>,<1,5,7>".

Optional Variables

$displayformat = "point", "pointlist", "vector", "vectorlist", "list" (In Common Control)
Changes the answer entry tips (does NOT change how the question is graded). For points, entry like (2,3) is specified. For vectors, entry like <2,3> is specified.
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input drawing tool in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Calculated N-Tuple

Calculated N-Tuple questions require the student to enter an n-tuple or list of n-tuples. This can be used for coordinate points, vectors, or any other n-tuple of numbers. Drawing question require the student to draw one or more lines/curves or dots. This is identical the the N-tuple answer type, but allows students to enter mathematical expressions rather than just numbers, such as (5/3, 2/3).

Required Variables

$answer = a string containing an n-tuple or list of n-tuples (In Common Control)
Defines the answer n-tuple or list of n-tuples. N-tuples can be any dimension, but must be surrounded by any of: (), [], {}, <>. Examples: $answer = "(1/3,2)", $answer = "<2,3,4>,<1,5,7>".

Optional Variables

$displayformat = "point", "pointlist", "vector", "vectorlist", "list" (In Common Control)
Changes the answer entry tips (does NOT change how the question is graded). For points, entry like (2,3) is specified. For vectors, entry like <2,3> is specified.
$answerformat = "fraction", "reducedfraction", "mixednumber", "scinot", "fracordec", "nodecimal", or "notrig" (In Common Control)
Requires each component of the answer to be a single fraction (like 10/6), a reduced fraction (like 5/3), a reduced mixed number (like 2_1/2), scientific notation (like 2.3*10^4), a single fraction or decimal, an answer without decimals (also disallows 10^-2 and 3E-2), or an answer without trig functions (sin,cos,tan,sec,csc,cot). Multiple options can be specified like $answerformat="nodecimal,notrig".
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input drawing tool in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Complex

Complex questions require the student to enter a complex number in a+bi form.

Required Variables

$answers = a string containing a complex number or list of complex numbers (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Example: $answer="3+2i"

Optional Variables

$answerformat = "list" (In Common Control)
Specifies that the answer will be a list of complex numbers.
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input drawing tool in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Calculated Complex

Calculated Complex questions require the student to enter a complex number in a+bi form. This is identical the the N-tuple answer type, but allows students to enter mathematical expressions rather than just numbers, such as 1/3+sqrt(2)i.

Required Variables

$answers = a string containing a complex number or list of complex numbers (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Example: $answer="3+2i", $answer="2/3+1/3i". The answer must be given in a + bi format (so 2+3isqrt(2) or 5/2+i/3 will not work)

Optional Variables

$answerformat = "sloppycomplex", "fraction", "reducedfraction", "mixednumber", "scinot", "fracordec", "nodecimal", or "notrig" (In Common Control)
Use "sloppycomplex" to allow the student to enter complex numbers in forms other than a+bi (allows 2+3isqrt(2) for example). Student answer must still only contain one i.
The other options requires the real and imaginary parts of the answer to be a single fraction (like 10/6), a reduced fraction (like 5/3), a reduced mixed number (like 2_1/2), scientific notation (like 2.3*10^4), a single fraction or decimal, an answer without decimals (also disallows 10^-2 and 3E-2), or an answer without trig functions (sin,cos,tan,sec,csc,cot). Multiple options can be specified like $answerformat="nodecimal,notrig".
$answerformat = "list" specifies that the answer will be a list of complex numbers.
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input drawing tool in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Numerical Matrix

The student is asked to enter a matrix of numbers (integer, decimal, or scientific notation). The entries are compared to a given tolerance.

Required Variables

$answer = string descripting a matrix of numbers, or calculations leading to numbers (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Example: $answer = "[(1,2,3),(8/2,5,6)]" is a 2x3 matrix with first row: 1,2,3

Optional Variables

$answersize = "rows,cols" (In Common Control)
Defines the size of the answer matrix. If this is supplied, the student will be provided with a grid of entry boxes in which to input the matrix. If this is not supplied, they will be required to enter the matrix using the ASCIIMath notation, like "[(1,2,3),(4,5,6)]"
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="y="
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20. Will only be used if $answersize is not supplied.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to $answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Calculated Matrix

The student is asked to enter a matrix of numbers or calculations, like 2/3 or 5^2. The entries are compared to a given tolerance.

Required Variables

$answer = string descripting a matrix of numbers, or calculations leading to numbers (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Example: $answer = "[(1,2,3),(8/2,5,6)]" is a 2x3 matrix with first row: 1,2,3

Optional Variables

$answersize = "rows,cols" (In Common Control)
Defines the size of the answer matrix. If this is supplied, the student will be provided with a grid of entry boxes in which to input the matrix. If this is not supplied, they will be required to enter the matrix using the ASCIIMath notation, like "[(1,2,3),(4,5,6)]"
$answerformat = "fraction", "reducedfraction", "mixednumber", "scinot", "fracordec", "nodecimal", or "notrig" (In Common Control)
Requires the entries of the answer to be a single fraction (like 10/6), a reduced fraction (like 5/3), a reduced mixed number (like 2_1/2), scientific notation (like 2.3*10^4), a single fraction or decimal, an answer without decimals (also disallows 10^-2 and 3E-2), or an answer without trig functions (sin,cos,tan,sec,csc,cot). Multiple options can be specified like $answerformat="nodecimal,notrig".
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="y="
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20. Will only be used if $answersize is not supplied.
$hidepreview = true (In Common Control)
Hides the Preview button. Could be useful in multipart questions, but generally not recommended
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the question input box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to $answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$previewloc (In Question Text)
Where you want the preview button to be located. Defaults to after the entry box if not placed in question text.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Interval

A student is asked to enter an interval notation answer. Example: (2,5]U(7,oo)

Required Variables

$answer = a string with the answer in interval notation (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Join multiple intervals with U for union. Example: $answer = "(-oo,4]U(3,oo)". Use DNE for empty set. Multiple acceptable answers can be entered using "or". Example: $answer = "(3,3) or [3,3]"

Optional Variables

$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$reqdecimals = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the decimal accuracy required (ie 2 for two decimal places). This will put a message in the answer tips stating the decimals required. If neither $abstolerance or $reltolerance is set, this will set the tolerance, otherwise the provided tolerance will be used (even if it doesn't agree with the $reqdecimal setting).
$answerformat = "normalcurve" (In Common Control)
Changes the question to use a "shade the area under the normal curve" widget. Define $answer using the interval that should be shaded. Note that the shading tool only allows selection of z-values to 1 decimal place.
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="`x in`"
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the entry box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Calculated Interval

A student is asked to enter an interval notation answer. Example: (2,5]U(7,oo). Values can be entered as calculations rather than numbers, like [2/5,sqrt(8)]. Can use $answerformat="inequality" to require the student to use inequalities rather than invertal notation.

Required Variables

$answer = a string with the answer in interval notation (In Common Control)
Defines the answer. Join multiple intervals with U for union, and oo for infinity. Example: $answer = "(-oo,4]U(9/2,oo)". Use DNE for empty set. Multiple acceptable answers can be entered using "or". Example: $answer = "(3,3) or [3,3]".

Optional Variables

$answerformat = "fraction", "reducedfraction", "mixednumber", "scinot", "fracordec", "nodecimal", "notrig", or "inequality" (In Common Control)
Requires the each value in the answer to be a single fraction (like 10/6), a reduced fraction (like 5/3), a reduced mixed number (like 2_1/2), scientific notation (like 2.3*10^4), a single fraction or decimal, an answer without decimals (also disallows 10^-2 and 3E-2), or an answer without trig functions (sin,cos,tan,sec,csc,cot). Multiple options can be specified like $answerformat="nodecimal,notrig".
$answerformat = "inequality" will require the student to enter an inequality rather than an interval. The instructor answer must still be given in interval notation (it will be reformatted to an inequality automatically for the Show Answer). Use $variables="y" to change the variable of the inequality.
$reltolerance = a decimal value (In Common Control)
Defines the largest relative error that will be accepted. If this is not set, a relative error of .001 (.1%) is used by default.
$abstolerance = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the largest absolute error that will be accepted. This will override the use of $reltolerance
$reqdecimals = a number (In Common Control)
Defines the decimal accuracy required (ie 2 for two decimal places). This will put a message in the answer tips stating the decimals required. If neither $abstolerance or $reltolerance is set, this will set the tolerance, otherwise the provided tolerance will be used (even if it doesn't agree with the $reqdecimal setting).
$ansprompt = string (In Common Control)
A string that will be displayed in front of the input box. Example: $ansprompt="`x in`"
$answerboxsize = number (In Common Control)
Determines the number of characters space provided for entry of an answer. Defaults to 20.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the entry box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available). Defaults to the text of the correct answer. Use this to substitute a detailed answer.
$previewloc (In Question Text)
Where you want the preview button to be located. Defaults to after the entry box if not placed in question text.
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

File Upload

A student is asked to upload a file. The file upload type is not automatically graded.

Required Variables
None - the file upload type is not computer graded.

Optional Variables

$scoremethod = "takeanything" (In Common Control)
Sets the problem to give full credit for any answer.
$answerbox (In Question Text)
Using the variable $answerbox in the Question Text will place the file upload box in that location
$showanswer (In Common Control)
The answer to show to students (if option if available).
$hidetips = true (In Common Control)
Hides the question entry tips that display by default. This should only be used when a question type is being used in an unintentional way, or if the question type gives away critical info to the student.

Multipart

This type of question can contain multiple parts, where each part is one of the previous question types.

Required Variables

$anstypes = an array or list of answer types (In Common Control)
Defines the answer type for each part. Example: $anstypes = array("number","number","choices")
Refer to this list for the short names of each question type:
  • Number: "number"
  • Calculated: "calculated"
  • Multiple Choice: "choices"
  • Multiple Answer: "multans"
  • Matching: "matching"
  • Function/expression: "numfunc"
  • Drawing: "draw"
  • N-tuple: "ntuple"
  • Calculated N-tuple: "calcntuple"
  • Matrix: "matrix"
  • Calculated Matrix: "calcmatrix"
  • Complex: "complex"
  • Calculated Complex: "calccomplex"
  • Interval: "interval"
  • Calculated Interval: "calcinterval"
  • Essay: "essay"
  • File Upload: "file"
  • String: "string"
Question part variables
For each question part, you will need to define the variables (like $answer, $questions, etc.) you would normally need to define. However, you will need to suffix the variable with a part designator. For example, based on $anstypes above, the first answer is a number. Instead of $answer = 5, enter $answer[0] = 5. This designates that this answer belongs to the first element of $anstypes. Likewise, to set the variables for the "numfunc" type, you'd set $variables[5] = "x".
$answerbox[partnum] (In Question Text)
The array $answerbox will contain the entry boxes for each answer type. In the question text, you will need to position these boxes within the question. For example: "Enter a number: $answerbox[0]. Now a function: $answerbox[1]". Alternatively, you can use [AB#]: "Enter a number: [AB0]. Now a function: [AB1]"

Optional Variables

$answeights = an array or list of weights for each question (In Common Control)
By default the points for a problem are divided evenly over the parts. Use this option if you wish to weight parts differently. Example: $answeights = array(.2,.3,.5). Best practice is to use percents, but if other values are used, they will be converted to percents.
$scoremethod = "singlescore" or "allornothing" (In Common Control)
Instead of recording individual scores for each question part, these will cause a single score to be recorded for the question. "singlescore" totals the individual part scores, while "allornothing" will only give full credit or no credit.
Question part options
You can define any optional variable for each question part. Like above, suffix the variable with the part designator.
$showanswer (In Common Control)
You can either define $showanswer for individual question parts (ie, $showanswer[1]="`x^2`"), or you can set one $showanswer, which will be the only answer shown for the problem (ie, $showanswer = "x=$answer[0], y=$answer[1]")
$showanswerloc (In Question Text)
Optionally, you can use $showanswerloc to place a single $showanswer "Show Answer" button, or $showanswerloc[part] to place "Show Answer" buttons for each part. You can also use short tags of the form [SAB] or [SABn] (like [SAB2]). Note that if you use this to place one Show Answer button, you must place all of them, or else the remainder will not show. Use $showanswerstyle = 'inline' to allow Show Answer to be placed inline with text rather than on its own line.

Conditional

A variation on multipart questions, a conditional question can include multiple answer boxes, but assigns a single score. The score is based on applying some comparison or conditional test to the student answers, referenced through the $stuanswers array. This allows the question writer to essentially create their own question type.

Required Variables

$anstypes = an array or list of answer types
Defines the answer type for each part. Example: $anstypes = "number,number". See the Multipart help above for the list of short names
$answer = any of these:
  • A boolean (true/false) expression: Something that evaluates to true or false.
    Example: $answer = ($a>3)
    Example: $answer = comparefunctions($f,'x^2') && ($a!=0)
  • A single numerical value in the interval [0,1]: will award that percentage of the total possible points.
  • array('function',$a,$b): Will compare the functions $a and $b and mark the question correct if they are equivalent. Can set $variables, $reltolerance, $abstolerance, and $domain as needed, like with Function type questions
  • array('number',$a,$b): Will compare the numbers or numerical expressions $a and $b and mark the question correct if they are equivalent. Can set $reltolerance or $abstolerance as needed, like with Number/Calculated type questions
  • Multiple comparisons: You can mix the two types above by creating an array of comparions. All must be true for the question to be marked correct.
    Example: $answer = array($a>3, array('function',$b,c), array('number',evalfunc($b,$a),5))
Question part variables
For each question part, you will need to define the variables (like $questions, etc.) you would normally need to define, except you should not define an $answer. However, you will need to suffix the variable with a part designator. For example, based on $anstypes above, the first answer is a number. Instead of $displayformat = "select", enter $displayformat[0] = "select". This designates that this setting belongs to the first element of $anstypes.
$answerbox[partnum] (In Question Text)
The array $answerbox will contain the entry boxes for each answer type. In the question text, you will need to position these boxes within the question. For example: "Enter a number: $answerbox[0]. Now a function: $answerbox[5]"

Optional Variables

Question part options
You can define any optional variable for each question part. Like above, suffix the variable with the part designator. Note that $variables, $domain, $reltolerance, and $abstolerance may be used for the comparison, and should not be set for individual parts.
$showanswer
By default the $showanswer for conditional types is "Answers may vary". Set $showanswer to override this.

Using IMathAS

Registering

At the Login page, if you are not currently registered as a student, click the "Register as a New User" link. You will be asked to provide: When you click "Sign Up", you will be taken back to the Login page so you can log in

Logging In

At the Login page, you will be asked to supply your login credidentials (username and password). You will also be able to select Viewing/Accessibility options:

If you're not sure what to choose: Pick "Use defaults"

The options are set for your current session only, so you can set them differently depending on the support offered by the computer you're currently working at.

Home Page

The home page lists the classes you're currently taking, and also has options for enrolling in a course, changing your password, changing your user info, or logging out of the system.

Enrolling in a Course

At your home page, you can sign up for a course by entering the course ID number and enrollment key in the box provided. If you do not know these, ask your instructor.

Course Page

The course page consists of a list of items. There are five types of items:

Blocks have a colored header. Some blocks may show collapsed. Click the block name or the "Expand" button to view the block's contents. Other blocks may display as folders (with a folder icon). Click on the block name show the contents.

Text items are preceded with an information ! icon, forums are preceded with a F icon, and assessments are preceded with a ? icon. Depending upon the setup, these may change color as a deadline approaches. The color is green at two weeks before a due date, yellow at one week, and red on due date.

Taking Assessments

When you take an assessment, it will be displayed to you in one of three ways: There are several question types. At the bottom of the question or under the answer box when you click on it, it will tell you what kind of answer is expected. Here are the types:

Entering Math

For some types of questions, you need to enter a mathematical expression. The system follows order of operations, so use grouping symbols as much as necessary.

Here is some help on how to enter expressions:

SymbolMeaning
* / + -Multiply, divide, add, subtract
^Powers. 2^3 = 8.
sqrtSquare root. sqrt(4) = 2
( )Parentheses, for grouping. (2+6)/2 = 4, while 2+6/2 = 5.
e, piThe standard constants
absAbsolute Value. abs(-4) = 4
sin,cos,tan,sec,csc,cot,sinh,coshStandard trig function. Be sure to enter as sin(2), not sin 2
arcsin,arccos,arctan,arcsinh,arccoshInverse trig functions. Note arcsec, arccsc, and arccot are not defined
sin^-1, cos^-1, tan^-1Alternative entry for inverse trig functions. Use like sin^-1(0.5)
lnNatural Logarithm base e
logCommon Logarithm base 10
!Factorial
ooInfinity. Those are two lowercase o's, like the middle of the word "look"