I’m very proud to announce the release of Numbas 2.0, which features a completely rewritten editing interface and a reorganised item database.
We’ve added some very helpful new features, and changed the way the database is organised to make working in groups much easier. All exams and questions in the editor database are now organised into projects, which provide a simple way of collecting together material relating to a particular course or activity in one place.
Projects allow you to automatically grant editing rights to a group of collaborators, keep track of changes that have been made to your content, and filter out irrelevant material. Project-level comments make it easier to coordinate writing, testing, and deployment of questions and exams with your team members.
We’ve rebuilt the editing interface from the ground up, to make it cleaner and easier to use.
Activity feeds on individual items, projects, and for the site as a whole let you see at a glance what’s going on, and quickly find items you’ve been working on.
To make it easier to find content which is appropriate for the level you’re teaching, we’ve added new “topic” and “ability level” fields to both exams and questions. Using these, you can say what subjects your items relate to, and what stage of education they’re appropriate for. Over the years, we’ve had many new users ask questions like, “do you have anything for first-year engineering students?” With these new tags, answering that question is a lot easier.
We need help! I’ve set up tags for the contexts we deal with – largely, pure maths and stats in the English system. We need information about other subjects and education systems. Please email us with any categories you’d like to be made available.
Finally, a long-standing problem with the public Numbas editor hosted at mathcentre.ac.uk is the mass of unfinished questions (and copies of questions) that clog up search results. We’re hoping to reduce this problem by introducing a “published” state for exams and questions. When you create a new item, by default it’s only visible to you. When you’re ready to share it with the community, you must click the “Publish” button, making it visible to everyone. A handy checklist helps you to make sure you’ve set up your metadata – description, tags, copyright statement, and so on – before making something visible to the public.
Items which were visible to the public and tagged as “ready to use” before the database was upgraded have automatically been marked as published.
All existing content needs to be sorted into projects and/or published, in order to take advantage of the new features. To make that task easier, I’ve written a migration tool which lets you sort your material in bulk. If you’ve written material on the public editor, please take a moment to sort through your content – it shouldn’t take long.