Math 2: Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry

Winter 2013


General Information about WeBWorK

I. What is WeBWorK ?

WeBWorK is a system that allows students to do their homework in an interactive web-based environment.

Using WeBWorK, students may try to answer homework problems more than once. After each try, a message appears telling the student whether the answer is correct or not. This provides immediate feedback to the students, allows them to discover what they did wrong, and hopefully alows them to understand the topic of the question better.

Each WeBWorK problem set is individualized. Each student has a different version of a problem generated from a fixed template; for example the numerical values in the formulas may be slightly different).

II. How to use WeBWorK to do your homework

Using WeBWorK is quite simple.
Below are the basic steps on how to get started.

NOTE: Most pages of WeBWorK also contain directions. Therefore, if you are ever unsure of what you should do, try reading the directions and descriptions on the page at which you are looking.

  • You can use any computer with a browser like Firefox or Opera.

  • Open your browser and go to the main WeBWorK page, address

  • This will get you to the main page of your course. This page includes necessary information about logging in. To log in, click on the 'Login' button.

  • This will take you to a login page. Enter your login name and password, and click on the 'Continue' button.

    • Your login name is the usually just your last name, followed possibly by a digit for people in the class with the same last name (e.g. smith, smith2, ...). Possible exceptions include compound last names like "den Hartog" or "De La Huerta," which would be rendered Hartog and Huerta, respectively.
    • Your initial password is (unless you gave me something else) your six-character student ID number.

  • If your login is incorrect, you will be told so, and you can return to the login page and try again.

  • If you are registered for the course, you should receive an email from your instructor confirming your login and password. If your login is correct, you will see a page where you can do following:

    • Look at and do the problems in a set via your web browser.
      To do the first day's assignment, for example, click on the line in the box that starts with 'Section 1.1'. Then click on the 'Do problem set' button.
      On each line in the box (where all the sets are listed), you can see whether the set is open or closed. If the set is listed as open, any problems you solve will be counted toward your grade. If the set is closed, you can still solve problems, but your results will not be recorded. After the indication of whether the set is open or closed, there is additional information about the due date (if the set is open), or whether the answers are available (if the set is closed).

    • Get a printout of the problem set.
      To print out Section 1.1, for example, first choose the download type. The default output is a pdf file. After choosing one of the download types, click on the line in the box that starts with 'Section 1.1...'. Then click on the 'Get hard copy' button. If your browser is capable of displaying pdf files, the problem list will appear and you can print it directly from your browser. If not, you can save the file to your hard drive and print it from a pdf viewer (such as Adobe Acrobat Reader).

    • Look at a summary of your WeBWorK homework scores.
      This is the second section of the page. If you click on the button 'Get Summary', you will see your current scores for all available problem sets.

  • If you are printing out a problem set or looking at a summary of your homework scores, you are done. If you are viewing a problem set via your web browser, you will see a page with the problems in the set you chose. To view and/or answer a problem, click on the number of the problem and click on the 'Get Problem' button. Notice that there are four modes of viewing the problem: 'text', 'formatted-text', 'typeset', and 'typeset2'. It is best to view the problem using 'typeset2' mode, which should be the default. Once you choose a problem and click on the 'Get Problem' button, you will see the text of the problem along with boxes for your answers. Enter your answers and click on the 'Submit Answer' button. If you are working on a problem set that is already closed, you will have the option to see the correct answer or a solution if one is available (currently only a few problems have solutions available). To see the correct answer and/or solution, just check the box(es) and click on the 'Submit Answer' button (you do not have to enter an answer to see the correct answer or solution). Once you have submitted an answer, you will be told whether your answer is correct or not. If not, you can try again. After you've tried a problem, you can either go to the next problem, the previous problem, or see the list of the problems again.

  • If you want to check the status of your problems (for example, to double check that your answers have been recorded), use the "Prob. List" button at the top of the page to see the problem list page.

  • When you are finished, log out using the "Logout" button at the bottom of the page.

IV. Important facts to know

  • What to do if you have problems with WeBWorK:

    • If you have a problem logging in, contact your instructor.
    • If you have a problem printing out a set, ask a consultant at a computer lab. If you don't get sufficient help, contact your instructor or TA.
    • If you have questions on specific homework problems or if you have comments about WeBWorK that you think can help us make WeBWorK better, click on the 'Feedback' button on any of the pages of WeBWorK.

  • If you are logged on to WeBWorK for longer that 30 minutes without any activity, you will be asked to log in again. This is a security measure. You can resume your work after you logged back in. All your results from the last log in will be saved.

Some Notes on WeBWorK

The main advantage of WeBWorK is that it provides you with instant feedback on your answers to problems. You can see immediately whether your answer is right or wrong, and you have the opportunity to retry the problem until you get it right. Unfortunately, it can become easy to obsess over getting the right answer, while losing sight of the mathematical concepts in the process. Therefore, we have put together a list of suggestions regarding the way in which you should approach WeBWorK.
  • In order to succeed in this course, it will help you greatly to keep a written record of your work. Therefore, we suggest that you keep a ``WeBWorK notebook'' where you can keep track of your work. Even though the instructors will not see your notebook, it will help you when studying for quizzes and exams if you can look back and see how you approached the homework problems.

  • For each problem, write out your work as if you are explaining it to a classmate. Make sure you understand each step - ask yourself why it makes sense, and if the answer is not immediate, record it in your notebook.

  • If you enter your answer into WeBWorK and it is correct, great. However, make sure that you know why it is correct before moving on.

  • If your answer is incorrect, it is tempting to try altering details (such as negative signs) directly in WeBWorK until you get the right answer. If you do this, you should make sure that you understand why these changes worked. Again, make sure you record your work.