John Travis


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Upcoming WeBWorK related PREP summer workshops

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 08:10
Registration has just been opened for two faculty development workshop to be held during Summer 2015 through the MAA's Professional Enhancement Program (PREP).

The first one is a repeat of a very well received workshop offered the past two summers:
Authoring Effective Homework Problems with WeBWorkDavide Cervone, Gavin LaRose,
Paul Pearson, and John TravisJune 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2015This online workshop introduces participants to the technical skills necessary to identify, edit and create high-quality WeBWorK problems.  Participants new to WeBWorK will also be provided an extra workshop introducing them to WeBWorK as well.  Two sessions (about 2 hours each) will be provided on each date noted above.

The second offering is a new course aimed for potential WeBWorK system administrators:
Becoming a Successful WeBWorK System AdministratorMike Gage, Jason Aubrey, Geoff Goehle, Danny Glin, and John TravisJuly 6, 13, 14, and 20, 2015Participants in this online workshop will cover the technical skills necessary to install and maintain a robust, reliable, and secure WeBWorK server.  In particular, participants will be walked through the steps necessary for installing WeBWorK on their own servers.  Most days will include morning and afternoon sessions.

Advance registration for these workshops is $175 (before posted deadlines) and is available at .

We are looking forward to a full house for both workshops.  Previous workshops have required us to close registration so if you are interested in either then please make plans to register soon.

Questions about either workshop:

Categories: Planet WeBWorK

WeBWorK sessions at JMM 2014

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:43
There are a number of sessions involving WeBWorK scheduled for the upcoming Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore next week.

The Exhibit Hall display will be available from Wednesday noon through Saturday noon. Be sure to drop by and chat and perhaps volunteer to staff the exhibit for an hour or so during the meeting. If you can make plans to staff the booth, please send a note to to have access to the planning document.

Minicourse #9. WeBWorK: An open source alternative for generating and delivering online homework problems, will be on Wednesday and Friday and presented by John Travis, Jason Aubrey, and Paul Pearson. The first session will be on Wednesday, 2:15 p.m.–4:15 p.m. and the second on Friday, 1:00–3:00 p.m.. There are currently a relatively large number of registered participants but there may be a few slots left in this mini-course designed to introduce WeBWorK and basic problem authoring. Any experienced WeBWorK folks are welcome to drop by and chip in to help these new users.

A NSF poster session on Wednesday includes three poster displays related to various WeBWorK projects:

Several presentations related to WeBWorK are scheduled for various paper sessions:

There will also be several possible informal gatherings during the meeting.  The first will be at 5:30pm on Wednesday. Meet at the exhibit hall booth or entrance. Also, stop by the exhibit booth and check on dates and times for any other gatherings as well to grab a new WeBWorK business card!
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

WeBWorK::Summer 2013

Fri, 05/17/2013 - 06:42
The WeBWorK project is gearing up for a very busy summer.  It looks like close to 100 people (and unofficially many more of course) are taking part in one of several WeBWorK activities.

The MAA PREP workshop on Problem Authoring will be late May through June.  This online course has been wildly popular and the enrollment cap extended due to tremendous demand.  Forty two students will be taking part in this online course led by Gavin "Gateway" LaRose, Paul "PG" Pearson, Davide "Yoda" Cervone and myself (with no nickname since this is my blog post).

The code camp WeBWorK::Ann Arbor will be held the first week in June with over twenty participants.  The results of this meeting will show up in future releases although some of the back-end items may not be so apparent.

John Jones and Jeff Holt have a project for cleaning up the Open Problem Library.  This will involve a number of folks in June.

A second code Camp WeBWorK::Vancouver is still in the planning stage but will take place the last week in June and will be a good option for WeBWorK developers on the west coast.  Interested folks are encouraged to contact organizer Djun Kim at UBC.

The MAA PREP workshop on Model Courses will be in early June.  This course will be held at the MAA Headquarters in Washington DC and will be a great opportunity to both develop course creation skills and to network with others in various WeBWorK leadership roles.  Enrollment is nearing a full complement of 20 participants with advance registration still in effect till May 20.

Any WeBWorK users who plan to attend Mathfest are encouraged to help out with the exhibit hall booth.  Plans are also in the works for a social gathering.  Please contact me if you are interested in either.
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

Upcoming Summer 2013 WeBWorK development meetings

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 14:48
As an open-source project, WeBWorK continues to improve due to the efforts of its numerous contributors.  This summer, two code camps are being planned to assist in that effort.

WeBWorK::Ann Arbor - June 1-3
Organizer:  Gavin LaRose, University of Michigan

Some suggested projects:
  • Documentation
  • Procedures
  • Wiki
  • Model courses
  • Answer evaluation
  • Database structure
  • Mastery learning set type
  • HTML5 applets

  • Finish the instructor UI -- make it functional and ready for final graphic design
  • Finalize restful API for the database calls.
  • Macros
  • Something you are interested in working on!

WeBWorK::Vancouver - June 27-30
Organizer: Djun Kim, University of British Columbia

Some suggested projects:

  • Finish the instructor UI -- make it functional and ready for final graphic design
  • Finalize restful API for the database calls.

  • Database re-design
  • Something you are interested in working on!

If you would like to participate in one or both of these or to perhaps organize another such gathering, please contact the listed organizer or send a note to me at  The WeBWorK grant will cover travel and housing costs and perhaps meals.  Do not feel that you have to be a "WeBWorK expert" since there are avenues for plugging in at all levels.
Feel free to post questions or suggestions on the WeBWorK forums
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

Summer WeBWorK workshop opportunities

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 07:06

In conjunction with the Mathematical Association of America, the WeBWorK leadership team is sponsoring two development workshops this summer dealing with problem authoring and with course creation.
The first is an online-only course "Authoring Effective Homework Problems with WeBWorK" held on Mondays in June and deals with problem authoring starting with the very basics and moving to more advanced techniques.   Information on this workshop is available at .
The second is the course "Building Model Courses for Online Homework with WeBWorK" which focuses more on how to set up a coherent collection of problems sets for a course.  This workshop involves a couple of online meetings and culminates with a 3.5 day intensive component at the MAA headquarters in DC.  Information on this workshop is available at .
Registration for any of the MAA PREP workshops is available using the link following the workshop list at 
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

Upcoming JMM 2013 activities

Thu, 11/08/2012 - 19:51
Several activities and sessions involving WeBWorK are scheduled for the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego this coming January:

MAA Minicourse #15:
Thursday January 10, 2013, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m./Saturday January 12, 2013, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
WeBWorK: An open source alternative for generating and delivering online homework problems. Room 29D, Mezzanine Level, San Diego Convention CenterPresenters: John Travis, Mississippi College Jason Aubrey, University of Missouri

MAA Session on Assessing the Effectiveness of Online Homework 
Saturday January 12, 2013, 8:00 a.m.-10:55 a.m.Room 5B, Upper Level, San Diego Convention Center
Jason Aubrey, University of Missouri
John Travis, Mississippi College 
Joanne Peeples, El Paso Community College 
Exhibit Hall BoothWednesday January 9 - Saturday January 12aMAA PavilionContact John Travis if you would like to volunteer to help at the booth or if you would like to schedule a presentation at the booth.

BIO SIGMAAReception and Business Meeting, Friday, 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.Guest Lecture, Friday, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. by Joseph M. Mahaffy, San Diego State University, Modeling and calculus for the life sciences with WeBWorK computer labs.
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 8:00 a.m.-10:40 a.m.
MAA General Contributed Paper Session: Mathematics and Technology, I
Room 5B, Upper Level, San Diego Convention Center: 

Wednesday January 9, 2013, 2:15 p.m.-4:50 p.m.
MAA Session on Research on the Teaching and Learning of Undergraduate Mathematics, I
Room 3, Upper Level, San Diego Convention Center

Thursday January 10, 2013, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
MAA Poster Session of Projects Supported by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education
Exhibit Hall B2, Ground Level, San Diego Convention Center
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

WeBWorK consultants workshop begins

Wed, 08/01/2012 - 07:39

The Mathfest 2012 consultants workshop participants.  It's early in the morning so everyone is still a little fuzzy.
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

Upcoming WeBWorK stuff

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:27
As summer break comes to a close, a number of planned WeBWorK events are on the schedule:
WeBWorK consultant's Workshop On the day before Mathfest (August 1), Arnie Pizer and I will be showing a new group of WeBWorK users various ways that they can serve as ambassadors for WeBWorK.  The meeting will be held in the Hall of Fame room in the Monona Terrace conference center.  If you are already a consultant and happen to be arriving in Madison on Wednesday, it would be great for you to drop by and meet some of the new folks.
WeBWorK Mathfest BoothWe will be represented in the exhibit hall again this meeting but now officially under the MAA's umbrella.  A benefit of this new arrangement is that we will have prime location in the room and should get a lot of exposure from folks stopping by to look at other MAA products.  There is a significant need for volunteers to staff the booth so if you are willing to help, please send a note to me at  You do not need any special skills other than a desire to help.  There is special need for helpers during noon till 3pm on Friday, August 3.
Online Homework Panel DiscussionJason Aubrey and I will be presiding over the panel discussion "Designing Studies to Measure the Effectiveness of Online Homework" on Friday, August 3, 1:00 - 2:20 p.m. in the Lecture Hall.  Panelists will include Flora McMartin of Broad-based Knowledge, Andy Bennett from Kansas State University, Aaron Wangberg from Winona State University, and Dale Dawes from CUNY.  The Committee on Technologies in Mathematics Education and WEB SIGMAA serve as cosponsors of this panel.  A corresponding paper session that should serve as a followup to this panel has been approved for the 2013 JMM in San Diego.  WeBWorK users are certainly encouraged to consider the approaches presented in this session and to present followup papers at JMM.
WeBWorK::WinonaAaron Wangburg will be hosting a developers conference at Winona State University immediately following Mathfest and Jason Aubrey and I will be leading the discussion.  Work will focus on content issues and specifically on the creation/improvement of (1) Model Courses, (2) adaptive homework, (3) discussion-type problems, and (4) interactive problems.  Other items of interest include problem library redesign issues.
Following these two weeks of fury, we will all go back home and hopefully recover before the fall semester starts.
Categories: Planet WeBWorK

WeBWorK::Clinton upcoming

Mon, 06/18/2012 - 20:44
WeBWorK::Clinton 2012Starting on Wednesday (June 20) I will be hosting the first of perhaps many "local users conferences."  The idea is for interested users to gather together for sharing ideas--working on personal projects and helping others with theirs.

I'll try to post some updates here along with (perhaps) a few pictures.

If others would like to host a similar event at their location, I'm certain the webwork team would be interested in your proposal.  If so, write up your idea and send it along to me or Mike Gage.
Categories: Planet WeBWorK


Mon, 06/18/2012 - 18:42
Sage + WeBWorK
At Sage Days 41/Sage Edu Days 4, Jason Aubrey, Malcolm Harper, Bruce Cohen and John Travis spent some time working on several issues related to embedding Sage into WeBWorK problems.

With this model, WeBWorK is utilized for initialization and randomization.  Sage is then called upon for interactivity, symbolics and perhaps visualization and finally WebWork is again used for answer checking.  The Sage portion uses the "Sage Cell Server".  If you have not yet tried this out, you should.  Some pre-made examples are also available at

Malcolm and Bruce found an interesting way to complete the loop and get answers back out of the Sage portion so that students would not have to manually re-type the experimentally determined answers.  
Jason also created a macro which could query Sage for an answer (such as the value of pi up to any number of digits).  
The group pondered how to streamline the Sage Cell problems and came up with a map for creating a Sage macro.

The sage+webwork presentation Video Part One and Video Part Two give some history of this project and illustrate a few examples.
A current set of demos is maintained by me at Sage Demos.  Users are welcome to log in as guest to see how the problems work.
Categories: Planet WeBWorK