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WeBWorK Frequently Asked Questions

Using WebWorK

  1. How do I log on?
  2. I changed my password and forgot it. What should I do?

Doing homework

  1. Why can't I see all the homework problems?
  2. How do I see the correct answer?
  3. I'm sure my answer is correct, but it is scored as a wrong answer. What can I do?
  4. What happens if I answer a question right the first time, and try it again later and get it wrong?
  5. Can I get an extension on the due date?
  6. How do I see my progress on homework for the course?
  7. How can I look at closed homework sets? They seem to have disappeared from the list.
  8. The answer box is too small. How do I enter my answer?
  9. How many decimal places do I need to have my answer scored correctly?

Errors and messages

  1. How do I report a problem?
  2. What does "There is a syntax error in your answer" mean?
  3. Why does my problem display with a pink background?
  4. What does "Hardcopy Generator WeBWorK Error" mean when I try to create a hard copy?
  5. What does a pink background and the message "* Use of uninitialized value in join at (eval 111) line 2406" at the bottom of the screen mean?
  6. Parts of my problem are missing -- I see a broken image instead of an equation.


Using WebWorK

  1. How do I log on?
    To log into WebWorK, point your Web browser to the address http://webwork.dartmouth.edu/ and choose your course from the list.
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  2. I changed my password and forgot it. What should I do?
    Your instructor can reset your password to its initial password.
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Doing homework

  1. Why can't I see all the homework problems?
    The status of each homework set is given next to its name. Each set has an open date, due date, and answer date. If it is before the open date, you cannot view the problems. If you try to do the problem set or get a hard copy, you will get an error message. Please do not send email to the webmaster reporting this error, unless the problem set status is OPEN.

    Between the open date and due date, you can work on problems and check and record your answers. After the due date, you can work on problems and check answers, but your scores will not be recorded.
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  2. How do I see the correct answer?
    After the answer date, you may view the answer to a problem by checking the "Show Correct Answer" box and then checking your answer, or by generating a hard copy with answers.
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  3. I'm sure my answer is correct, but it is scored as a wrong answer. What can I do?
    Talk to your instructor or one of the T.A.s.
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  4. What happens if I answer a question right the first time, and try it again later and get it wrong?
    If you do a problem correctly once, its status will always be Correct even if you later do the problem again incorrectly. It the problem allows partial credit, the highest percentage correct you receive on any attempt is recorded, regardless of which parts are correct or not. So, to get 100% correct on a partial credit problem, you need all parts correct on the same attempt.
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  5. Can I get an extension on the due date?
    The policy on extending due dates for homework is determined by your instructor. WebWorK supports individual due dates for students.
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  6. How do I see my progress on homework for the course?
    Click Grades under the Homework Sets heading in the left column.
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  7. Can I look at closed homework sets?
    Yes. You may work on the problems and have your answers checked, but your score will not be recorded.
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  8. The answer box is too small. How do I enter my answer?
    WebWorK will accept hundreds of characters in an answer box, even if the box size on the screen is smaller. When you enter a long answer in a short answer box, the text scrolls to the left as you continue to type characters.
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  9. How many decimal places do I need to have my answer scored correctly?
    For most numerical problems, WebWorK counts an answer within .01 percent of the right answer as correct. So, if the right answer is 12345, anything between 12343.765 and 12346.235 counts as correct. If the correct answer is smaller, π/2 for example, an answer would need to be within about 0.0001570796 of π/2 to be considered correct.
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Errors and messages

  1. How do I report a problem?
    If you believe there is a problem with the WebWorK software, click the "Email instructor" button to send an email reporting the problem. If you are having difficulty doing homework or using WebWorK, see your instructor or attend a tutorial session.
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  2. What does "There is a syntax error in your answer" mean?
    This usually means you entered a character or characters in the answer box when WebWorK was expecting a number. It can also mean you are missing a beginning or ending parenthesis. You will also get a form of syntax error if WebWorK expects a function of a particular variable as the answer, such as t, and you enter a function of a different variable, like x. Previewing your answer before you submit it can catch a lot of these types of errors.
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  3. Why does my problem display with a pink background, but other students see their versions of the problem as normal?
    Although the problem writers have done their best to design error-free problems, an occasional one may pop up. It's a good idea to view your problems soon after the open date for the homework set so that if there is such an occurrence it can be corrected before the homework is due.

    To report the error, use the "Email instructor" button. If it does not appear on the screen, you may need to click the "Up" link to the list of problems in the homework set. Include your name, the homework set, and problem number in your message. Do not click the Report bugs link in the left column.

    You should also speak to your instructor or T.A. about the error.
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  4. What does "Hardcopy Generator WeBWorK Error" mean when I try to create a hard copy?
    This error message appears when WebWorK encountered some errors in creating the PDF file for a problem set. Often, the PDF is fine, but may have some visual anomalies. Look for the following in the error message: Some pdf output was produced and is available here. Follow the link and examine the PDF file; often there will be no formatting problems and you can use it as you normally would. If there is no link to a PDF file or if the PDF file has obvious problems, send email to your instructor.
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  5. What does a pink background and the message "* Use of uninitialized value in join at (eval 111) line 2406" at the bottom of the screen mean?
    This usually means you have answered the question before, and your answer caused a syntax error. You can eliminate the pink screen by erasing the offending answer and submitting a blank answer, or of course by answering the problem correctly.
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  6. Parts of my problem are missing -- I see a broken image instead of an equation.
    There is a bug in WebWorK that occasionally causes this to happen. It can't be predicted, but it can be fixed after it is reported. If you have broken images so that the equations are not showing up in your problem, you can still answer the problem. Remember, you are not penalized for wrong answers, so as long as the answer blanks appear you can enter your answers. Try one of the following:


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This page updated 19 September 2005 by Susan Diesel