Christian Lawson-Perfect

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

Development update: October 2020

I went from paternity leave in September straight into the mêlée of our first entirely online semester. Here’s an update of development work on Numbas during the month of October.

The vast majority of changes are bug fixes, now that so many more people are using Numbas and discovering edge cases. (And I made a couple of mistakes when introducing Numbas v5, sorry!)

Read the rest

Development update: August 2020

We’re continually working on Numbas, fixing bugs and adding new features. I thought that it would be a good idea to post more regularly about updates to the Numbas software, rather than waiting until each year’s major version release to list everything that’s changed.

I’m going to go into a bit more detail on changes than I normally would in major-release posts, to give an idea of what day-to-day development on Numbas looks like.

I’d like these posts to be monthly, but I’m about to embark on a month of paternity leave, so don’t expect another one until the end of October.

So, here’s what’s changed since Numbas v5.0 was released in June.

Read the rest

Numbas LTI provider v2.7

We’ve just released a minor new version of the Numbas LTI tool provider.

Changes in this version include:

  • A global dashboard view, showing resources which are active today.
  • An option to only show completed attempts when viewing the statistics for a resource.
  • When the student ends their attempt, they’re shown an encoded receipt which they can use as evidence of their score, even if no receipt email is sent.
  • Bug fixes around time zone handling, sending email receipts on attempt completion, cross-site security and text formatting.

We recommend updating any servers running the LTI provider as soon as possible, by following the upgrade instructions.

The installation instructions for Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Heroku have all been updated.

Recordings of Numbas training sessions

Here are the recordings of our recent training sessions held over Zoom.

First, there was a beginners’ session on the 15th of July, covering the Numbas editing interface, how to deliver exams to students, and writing a first question:

And an advanced session on the 22nd, covering explore mode, custom marking algorithms, and custom part types: