Christian Lawson-Perfect

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Numbas training sessions – February 2021

We’re planning on running some more Numbas training sessions.

The first session, aimed at beginners, is scheduled for 14:00 BST on Tuesday 2nd February. It’ll run over Zoom and last about two hours. No previous knowledge of Numbas will be assumed.

The second session, aimed at more advanced users of Numbas, is scheduled for 10:00 BST on Thursday 4th February. Again, it’ll run over Zoom and last about two hours. Christian will demonstrate a few things, then there’ll be time to work through question-authoring problems from attendees.

If you can’t attend these sessions, you might like to watch the recordings of the previous sessions.

Register for a training session:

Both these sessions will be recorded. If you’d like to attend but would prefer not to appear in the recording, please let us know by email.

If you’re looking to start using Numbas in a hurry because of the CoViD-19 crisis, have a look at our blog post about how Numbas can help.

Development update: November 2020

You might notice this update was published in December: November was a busy month!

The Numbas runtime and editor mainly got bug fixes this month. There’s a big new feature in the LTI provider: the ability to automatically remark a resource after you update the exam package. This has already become invaluable for us, with more lecturers than ever setting Numbas assessments and misconfigured marking becoming more common. The remarking feature should be considered experimental: we’ve used it on a few assessments, but I expect to uncover bugs and limitations as we use it more often.

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