The short story: We’ve written an extension to Numbas which adds a data type for handling quantities with associated units, and a custom part type which asks the student to enter a value with units. Read the rest
Today we’ve released Numbas v3.0. It’s the thing I’m second-most proud of producing in the last year (my daughter was born last October).
The marking code at the heart of Numbas has been completely rewritten, to make it much easier for question authors to change how students’ answers are marked. This has also allowed the introduction of custom part types, to make it easier to use and reuse different marking algorithms. Read the rest
During our project to create material for students making the transition to university, I did a bit of development work on Numbas based on issue that our interns raised. I’ll describe those here. Read the rest
We’ve made a few changes to Numbas and the editor recently, with the aim of improving usability. It involved moving some parts of the editor around, so I thought I’d better show what we’ve done.
First of all, when you submit an answer to a part of a Numbas question, the input changes colour depending on the score you were awarded. (If you’ve got score feedback turned off, it turns the same colour no matter how you did)
Numbas has acquired a few new features and had a bit of a tidy-up in the last couple of months, so I thought it was time to bump the version number up to 2.1 and let you all know what’s been happening with another development log.
Groups of questions in exams
You can now separate the questions in an exam into groups, allowing you to pick a subset from each group at random. This feature was requested by Ione Loots at the University of Pretoria, who wanted a way of showing students a randomly-picked variation of each question in a test. (documentation, issue) Read the rest
One of the more complicated parts of using Numbas is getting it to work with your Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). We designed Numbas to use the SCORM standard, which ideally would allow it to run in any SCORM-compliant VLE without any configuration or input from the server administrator. However, there have always been a couple of wrinkles in that plan: not all VLEs support SCORM, and some of those that claim to don’t do it properly.
Blackboard’s SCORM player has a few long-standing bugs and missing features which mean that we haven’t recommended it for serious use. Since we can’t fix those problems ourselves, we’ve spent a long time trying to find a way work around Blackboard’s problems. Additionally, when a large contingent of Norwegian lecturers visited us for the MatRIC colloquium this April, we discovered that very few institutions in Norway use VLEs which support SCORM. Someone suggested we look at LTI, since many more VLEs seem to support it. Read the rest
You can now embed GeoGebra applets in Numbas questions and, using GeoGebra’s new exercises feature, award the student marks based on constructions within the applet. This is a huge step forward, making it much easier to include interactive diagrams in Numbas questions.
Here’s a video showing how to embed a GeoGebra applet in a Numbas question, and award the student marks if they complete a certain construction. There are even steps, giving marks for each stage of the process!
You can use the values of Numbas question variables in the definitions of objects in the GeoGebra worksheet, meaning that diagrams can accurately reflect the rest of your question.
In this question, the gradient of the slope and coefficient of friction are randomly generated in Numbas, then passed to the GeoGebra applet.
I’ve put together a small demo exam with a couple of questions showing some ways you can use GeoGebra inside Numbas.