Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
WeBWorK is an open-source, online homework system widely used in mathematics at the post-secondary level, with a number of institutions developing WeBWorK problems for use in engineering. The WeBWorK Open Problem Library (OPL) contains around 33,000 problems that are freely available to instructors to use within their courses (currently, around 200 mechanical engineering problems are available). The OPL problems are organized under a taxonomy structure of “subject”, “chapter”, and “section”, where subject is an area of study (e.g. linear algebra, probability, etc.), and chapter and section locate a particular problem within the subject (e.g. linear algebra – matrices – inverses), analogous to a textbook structure. Having an easily understandable and comprehensive taxonomy available makes it simpler for contributors to correctly designate their new problems, and for instructor-users to find appropriate problems to assign to their students.
While there are some engineering problems available on the OPL, the taxonomies are either not extensive (few problems) or do not truly adhere to the structure above. As well, engineering instructors interested in building a few problems for their classes have the daunting task of creating a taxonomy structure in order to share them. We have created comprehensive proposed taxonomies in three core mechanical engineering subjects (statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials) and a partial taxonomy in a fourth (vibrations) for discussion and approval, and eventual use by future contributors. We have not found any literature that outlines practices for the creation of a new taxonomy, so we have documented our process and provide guidance for the creation of future OPL taxonomies in engineering. Finally, we outline suggestions for the systematic use of searchable keywords in OPL problems that can provide consistency across engineering subject areas and institutions. This work will lay the foundation for educators to more easily contribute to and utilize the growing body of open-source mechanical engineering problems in WeBWorK.
d'Entremont, A. G., & Abelló, J. (2018, June), Creating Problem Taxonomies for WeBWorK in Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30237
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