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Homework, Quiz, and Test Problems
    Online Problems Database

All problems from the eCourses database
are multiple choice


Problems are an integral part on any engineering course. Similar to a traditional engineering course that uses a printed textbook, eCourses has an online database of problems that can be assigned for homework, quizzes, tests and examples. The problems are multiple choice and are organized to correlate chapters and sections of the eBook.

The due date for each problem set (homework, quizzes, etc.) are set by the instructor. After the problems are submitted by the students, eCourses will grade and release the solutions at the date and time that has been set by the instructor.

Other features that are controlled by each instructor include randomization of the problem order for each student, log files of all problem set access, special password for quiz and test access, changing points deducted for problem in each problem set, and graphs of score distribution.

    Viewing and Submitting Problem Sets - Students

Schedule table for a typical problem set
(homework, quiz, test, or example)


Submission page for problem sets


After the instructor creates a problem set (homework, test or quiz) the students can view and submit the problem set anytime after the "Posting Date" (set by instructor). After the "Due Date", the problems can still be submitted but additional points may be deducted (depends on the instructor). However, after the "Solution Posting Date", the problem set cannot be submitted.

To submit a problem set (expect for examples which cannot be submitted), click the "Submit the answers for grading" button at the bottom of the web page. The system will record the student's choice for each question. If a question is left blank, then no choice is recorded. When the problem set is accessed latter, the system will return the last submitted choices.

Please note, each submission overwrites the previous submission and thus only one submission is stored in the database.

After submitting the problem set, you can check what your submitted by clicking the "Review Submission" radio button and then clicking the "Display Problems" button. Whatever is displayed in this section is what the computer thinks you submitted. If you feel that your submission was recorded incorrectly, please resubmit or see your instructor immediately.

    Viewing and Submitting Problem Sets - Instructors

Typical solution page (only partially shown)

The instructor can view all problem sets that have been created at any time. The instructor does not have to wait for the "Posting Date" to view the problems. This allows you to check the problems before the students can access them.

You will also note that as an instructor, you will not have a submit button. It is assumed that the instructor account is for checking problems only and will not be graded by the system. Thus, submission of problem sets are not allowed by the instructor.

  Viewing Solutions - Students

The students can view the full solution of any problem set after the "Solution Posting Date". However, the instructor can view the solutions at anytime. The solutions are fully worked out problems with graphics. If a student tries to view a problem set before the posting date, the system will tell the student to check back later.

  Viewing Scores - Students

Score summary page

In addition to the worked out solutions, students can also check their score over the web. Individual problem set scores can be accessed by clicking on the "See Scores" through the main menu (example of the page is shown on the left). Each problem set is listed with the score and a possible note. The instructor can edit and change individual scores and add a comment in the Notes field.

Additional details about the score can be accessed by clicking on the problem set label (HW 1, QZ 1, etc). Individual problem set report (see below) gives both the correct answer and the submitted answer.

Individual score report page


Distribution graph of student's result for a problem set
  Score Graphics - Instructor
  There are also a number of graphs that chart the scores of individual problem sets and the the class overall grades. They allow both the student and instructor to visually see how the class has performed on a given problem set. Instructors can also check to see how many students correctly answered a given questions on a particular problem set.

Problem management screen

Listing of online database problems

  Setting up Problem Sets - Instructor

An instructor can set up a new homework, quiz, test or problem set by first going to the "Admin Menu" (click link at the bottom of the main menu) and then clicking on the type of data set desired. There are four types of problem sets, homework, quiz, test and examples. All types are managed the same way. For illustration purposes, the quiz problem set will be used as shown on the left.

The first step is to set up a new problem set by clicking the "Add" button. The problem set can then be edited (problems added or deleted) by selecting the "Edit Quiz Set" and clicking on the "Proceed" button. Remember to select the quiz number that you want to edit. The other options in the list will be explained in the sections that follow.

After the clicking the "Proceed" button, a three-part frame will appear on the right side of the web page. These three parts include a column listing of all problem sections, an area for problems, and a listing of current selected problems.

To add problems, first select the chapter and section for either hard or easy problems. This will bring up a selection of possible problems to choose from. If you want to add a problem to the problem set, simply click the "Add this question" button. The selected problem will be added to the list of problems in the lower right corner. Once problem has been selected, that problem cannot be selected again for another problem set. This prevents you from using a problem twice.

The solution to any problem can also be viewed at this time by clicking on the "View solution" link. This allows the instructor to preview the problem before actually assigning it.

Problems can be removed from the problem set by clicking on the check box beside each problem and then clicking on the "Delete" button. The problem can be added again later.

  Problem Set Schedule - Instructor

After a problem set has been created, the schedule can be edited by choosing the "Edit Quiz Schedule" radio button and clicking on the "Proceed" button. The schedule setup screen that appears has three dates that can be set (see below). The first one is when the students will be able to view the problem set. The second one is when it is due. The last date is when the solution will be open to the students to view.

The system will delete points if submitted after the due date. The amount of points deducted can be set by the instructor in the "Add/Delete Additional Points" screen.

The "delay" is the number of minutes the system will allow a late submission past the due time. This is useful to allow a couple of minutes in case there are computer or network problems.


Problem schedule setup screen
Local Password & IP Check - Instructor
  Problem Randomization - Instructor

To increase security for quizzes and tests, the instructor can set a local password that must be used to start a test or quiz. This is in addition to the normal login password to enter the class web site. This local password is good for only a single test or quiz. This is useful when all students are at one location to take a test. The local password can be given to all students in the room but friends or other students outside the room cannot see the test.

The second security feature is the ability to set IP number ranges that can see the exam. To use this feature you will need to know what IP number are used in the room or building. You can set more than one IP subnet that can access the test or quiz. This feature is useful if there is a need to restrict access to a group of computers, such as in a lab.


Each problem set can have both the problem order and problem answer randomized. These options can be turned on and off before the problem set is released. After the date and time the problem set is released to the students, these options cannot be changed. The default setting is off.

The random problem order option gives each student the same problems but in a different order. The random answer order option presents both the right and wrong answers in a different order for different students.

In addition to randomization, a third option turns on a fifth answer choice, "none of the above" for all problems in the problem sets. This means that there are five choices instead of the standard four. The system will randomly choose which questions will have the "e) none of the above" answer as the correct one. The default setting is off.


Points can be added and deducted to each problem set
  Add/Delete Additional Points - Instructor

Each problem set score can be changed by the instructor in the "Add/Delete Additional Points" screen. This is also where the instructor can change the number of points that are deducted for a wrong answer for each problem set. The late penalty is the number of points that are deducted in addition to any wrong answers if the submission was after the due date but before the solution release date. The defaults are 8 points deducted for wrong answers and 20 points for late submission.

After the problem set has been graded, points can be added or deducted to the score of all students. A note can also be added that the student will see. This will let the students know why points were added or deleted. Note, this effects all students. If you want to change the score of an just one student, that must be done in the "Account" section of the "Admin Menu".

  Student Submission Log File - Instructor

The instructor can view the log file of all submissions by students. This screen lists every time any student submitted the problem set, even if it is submitted after the due date. The log file will let the instructor know the time and IP location of the submission. Log file information can also be viewed through the "Account" section for a given student.


Listing of online database problems
Summary of Problems Used - Instructor
  Deleting Problem Sets - Instructor
The instructors can list all problems used in a class by accessing the "Summary List" in the "Admin Menu". This simply lists all problem numbers used. It can be printed and saved for reference later. This is useful if you plan to assign different problems to another class.   Any problem set can be deleted at any time, even after grading. Please be very careful about deleting assignments after the students have submitted their answers. When the problem set is submitted, all student submissions are also deleted. They cannot be retrieved.
  Uploading new problems - Instructor

Form to upload new problems

The instructors develop and upload their own problems by clicking on the "Add/Delete Problem" link in the Admin Menu. The problem that is uploaded is only for that class and is not shared with other classes. You can remove the problem at any time.

The form used to upload the problem is shown at the left. The instructions on how to upload it is given on the form. Basically, three graphics need to be uploaded. These graphics need to be developed outside of eCourses using a drawing tool like Illustrator, Freehand, Canvas, or Corel Draw. Photoshop can also be used, but is difficult. It is easier and better to use a drawing program and not a pain program.

The three graphics are, 1) question diagram, 2) solution diagram, and 3) solution steps. The solution steps is a graphic and not text since you may need to use equation like integrals, fractions, etc. that cannot be done in HTML.

The graphics are uploaded by typing the location of the graphic file (gif or jgp format) or browsing to their location.

The problems will appear in the database just like all the other problems under the "individual" link at the bottom of the chapter listing.