This project is now complete.
For the past several years, commercial publishers have been marketing online tools to faculty that provide a curriculum to students, including textbooks, ancillary resources, and homework systems. These commercial platforms can impose a significant financial burden on students who are required to use them.
In an effort to reduce the cost to students for access to learning platforms and materials, BCcampus has received funding from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to explore open source software alternatives to proprietary commercial publishers’ homework platforms.
The purpose of the Open Homework Systems (OHS) project is to reduce the cost of post-secondary education for students by lowering the cost of access to homework systems.
Our specific goals are to:
- Replace high-use, high-cost commercial homework systems used within the B.C. post-secondary system with open source alternatives.
- Develop discipline champions and communities who can further steward the open source options once the project ends.
- Inform and educate people in the B.C. post-secondary system about the costs of homework systems to students.
To achieve this, BCcampus will:
- Explore the barriers institutions and faculty face when considering open source options.
- Analyze existing open source homework systems to understand their technical capabilities and limitations.
- Contribute to the technical development of open source homework systems to improve their functionality and make them more attractive for adoption by faculty.
- Collaborate to create assessment content to support open homework systems.
- Work with educators currently using commercial systems to understand what features best enable them to support student learning.
- Open Homework System Project Update – November 13, 2019
- Open Homework System Project Update – January 30, 2020
- Open Homework Systems Project Wrap-Up – August 1, 2022
Math Platform Evaluation Reports:
BCcampus conducted a comparative analysis of three open-source math-focused homework systems; WeBWorK, iMathAS, and Numbas. The evaluations occurred between January and May 2020 and were conducted by Shirin Boroushaki of the Thompson Rivers University Math department, BCcampus accessibility specialist Josie Gray, and technical analyst Alan Levine. The following reports are the results of the evaluation of the three platforms focusing on three areas; faculty and student user experience, technical setup, and accessibility.
BCcampus awarded close to $200,000 to 12 B.C. post-secondary institutions for 19 projects over the three grants. We invested an additional $50,000 to provide support services for grantees, which included the development of the H5P Kitchen website and community support sites for H5P grantees, six open H5P support webinars, and technical consultation services for WeBWorK grantees.
The project resulted in 1291 H5P activities that aligned with 11 open textbooks in the B.C. Open Collection, 188 WeBWorK questions to support first-year open math and calculus textbooks, 240 ChemSketch questions to support the open textbook Organic Chemistry, 507 PrairieLearn questions to support open math textbooks and a first-year physics course, and 278 Carnap questions to support the the open logic textbook forall x.
All the activities are openly licensed with Creative Commons licenses to allow the activities to be freely copied and reused by other educators.
Summary of Projects
|Type of Grant||Book, Course, or Subject Area||Project Lead||Lead Institution||Resources Created|
|H5P (1)||Writing for Success||Brenna Clarke Gray||TRU||156 H5P|
|H5P (1)||Psychology: H5P Edition||Simon Lolliot||UBC||282 H5P|
|H5P (1)||Introduction to Tourism||Rebecca Wilson-Mah||RRU||59 H5P|
|H5P (1)||Concepts of Biology (1st Canadian edition)||Michelle Nakano and Charles Molnar||Camosun||80 H5P|
|H5P (1)||Vital Sign Measurement Across the Lifespan||Kymberley Bontinen||Douglas||122 H5P|
|H5P (2)||Le Francis Interactif||Mirabelle Tinio||Langara||229 H5P (in final review)|
|H5P (2)||Technical Writing||Deborah Neilsen||CNC||42 H5P|
|H5P (2)||Physical Geology||Karla Panchuk||UBC-O||200 H5P|
|H5P (2)||Principles of Social Psychology||Farhad Dastur and Hammond Tarry||KPU||25 H5P|
|H5P (2)||Principles of Marketing||Biggi Weischedel||TRU||78 H5P|
|H5P (2)||Foundations of Digital Marketing||Rochelle Grayson||Langara||18 H5P|
|STEM||Organic Chemistry||Jessie Key||VIU||240 ChemSketch|
|STEM||Math||Stefan Luktis||BCIT||90 WeBWork (in final review)|
|STEM||Math||Elyse Yeager||UBC||40 PrairieLearn|
|STEM||Physics||Firas Moosvi and Jake Bobowski||UBC-O||467 PrairieLearn|
|STEM||Biomechanical Engineering||Robyn Newell||UBC||98 WeBWork|
|Other||Philosophy||David Gilbert||UBC||278 Carnap|
- 1291 H5P
- 507 PrairieLearn
- 118 WeBWork
- 240 ChemSKetch
- 278 Carnap
- The Cost of Homework
- Homework Activities: A logical extension of forall x using Carnap
- Early thoughts on the BCcampus open homework systems project
- Access code costs continue to burden students
For more information, contact Clint Lalonde, Project Manager