Numbas

The Numbas Blog

Numbas LTI provider v3.0

We’ve just released the next major version of the Numbas LTI provider: v3.0.

The main impetus for moving to a new major version was to get up to date with the third-party libraries that the LTI provider relies on; there were a few big changes in the way they worked, so working with the latest versions involved rewriting a lot of code.

However, I’ve also taken the opportunity to add a few new features, and to work through a lot of bug reports and interface improvements in the issue tracker.

We’ve been running v3.0 here at Newcastle for a couple of months, and it’s proved significantly more reliable than v2.

Development update: November 2021

Here’s an update on Numbas development, covering July to November 2021.

I’ve been working on a big update to the Numbas LTI provider, which is pretty much ready but I’d like to test on a few different systems before recommending everyone upgrades.

Other notable additions recently include autocompletion in the editor when writing JME expressions, and variables are automatically added to the Variables tab after you write a reference to them anywhere in the question. These changes should make writing questions quite a bit easier, especially for new authors!

Improvements to the JSXGraph extension

Last week was the second International JSXGraph Conference. Numbas has had an extension to integrate JSXGraph for over 10 years, since the very start, but I haven’t done much with it, so I submitted a talk proposal to pressure myself into doing something.

That tactic worked – as the conference approached I spent a few days working on the extension, adding the ability to use JSXGraph diagrams in marking, just like you can with the GeoGebra extension.

Help wanted: The Organising Numbas Project

In the coming year, I’m going to focus less on developing new features in Numbas, and more on organising the content we’ve already got.

At the moment, the database of content in the Numbas editor at numbas.mathcentre.ac.uk contains a lot of stuff, but it’s hard to search, and it’s particularly hard to find good-quality material.

We’d like to improve this, by developing some new tools, and by applying more effort to moderation. Our goal is to start and maintain a library of good-quality, well-organised Numbas questions and exams available for everyone to reuse.

I’ve collected some ideas on how we might do this in a document. Please add your own comments to it.

We’re looking for anyone interested in helping with this project. Your contribution could be:

  • Time spent moderating – ad hoc, or committing to a number of hours per year 
  • Content for the library 
  • Expertise from previous similar projects

As a first step, I’m running a meeting on August 31st, open to anyone interested in helping. To cover as many time zones as possible, the meeting will run twice: first at 09:00-10:00 BST (GMT+1), and then at 15:00-16:00.

The meeting will take place over Zoom. If you’d like to attend, please fill in this registration form.

Numbas talks at EAMS 2021

This year’s edition of EAMS, the international conference on E-Assessment in Mathematical Sciences, has just finished.

There were a few talks about Numbas.

Numbas v6.0

It’s finally Summer, so it’s time for a new major version of Numbas. This year I’ve been working on diagnostic testing, and other adaptive assessments. There are also some new question-level features, improved accessibility, and some new features in the LTI tool.

Numbas open office hours

We’ve decided to start running weekly “open office” hours each Thursday. You can make an appointment to talk with the lead developer of Numbas, Christian Lawson-Perfect, about anything to do with Numbas.

Meetings will normally take place over Zoom, unless you specify a different method.

You could get help writing questions, integrating Numbas with your VLE, or have a more wide-ranging chat about using Numbas.

To make an appointment, use the booking form.

Numbas is 10 years old!

This week marks ten years since we first released Numbas as open-source software.

Here’s what it looked like back then:

Screenshot of the original Numbas interface.

Development on Numbas began in September 2009, and once it was ready to use I made it a priority to make sure it was released under an open-source licence so it wouldn’t languish in obscurity at Newcastle.

Development update: March 2021

Here’s another update on Numbas development, covering February and March, 2021.

I’ve mainly been spending time on developing new features for Numbas v6 lately, so the published versions have mainly just had bugfixes, but there are a couple of new things.

Notable changes include the ability for students to choose their own colours in the default theme, and some new marking methods for “choose several from a list” and “match choices with answers” parts.

Documentation

Numbas features full documentation which is always in line with the most recent version.

Numbas Documentation

Numbas Blog

We regularly update our blog with articles about new and future features, as well as other useful information.

Numbas Blog