Can students tell which problems are assigned when seeing them in context?

Skip to first unread message

Sean Fitzpatrick

Apr 28, 2023, 2:43:12 PM4/28/23
to PreTeXt support
I am playing around with Runestone: making a test course with some fake students, so I can try out creating assignments, having the students do them, grading them, etc.

I made an assignment consisting of some (but not all) of the interactive and exercise elements in a section of the textbook.

When I log in as a student, I can go to the Assignments page and see what questions are assigned, but when I'm reading the section they come from, I don't see any cues that would tell me which questions are part of the assignment, and which are not.

Is that something that should happen, or can be made to happen?
If it isn't, is that a feature we could add, at least in principle?

Chrissy Safranski

Apr 28, 2023, 3:47:03 PM4/28/23
to PreTeXt support
I don't think they can tell currently.  Brad added "decorations" to WeBWorK problems so that students can see when they have done a problem correctly previously, or have submitted at least 1 attempt but not fully correctly before the problem is activated.  Green check when correct, yellow-triangle-exclamation-mark when attempted by not correctly yet.  

This means a work-around, at least for assignments containing only WeBWorK problems, would be for students to go to the Assignments page and hit submit on every problem.  Then all the problems that have been assigned would have the yellow decoration in-context. :-D

This may not matter a ton though, if my students are typical.  Several of them reported to me that they tend to do the Preview problem in-context, but the homework assignments from the Assignments page.  And they're not doing this because they're concerned that they might accidentally do extra work - every WeBWorK in the book is there because it's part of an assignment.


Oscar Levin

Apr 28, 2023, 3:48:38 PM4/28/23
Currently, I am almost certain the answer is "no".  This would be a very desirable feature.  Although practically, is it enough to just know that this is a problem that was assigned in some way?  What if I have a set of "extra review"  worth no points.  What if a problem was in two assignments?

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "PreTeXt support" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web visit

Alex Jordan

Apr 28, 2023, 11:04:53 PM4/28/23
When the PreTeXt page loads, say there are 100 exercises. Runestone will need to look up each one to see if it's used in an assignment, but that could be a heavy ask. If there are 50 assignments, it might be 5000 queries. My understanding is that this is the problem.

I wonder if the database could have a table or column for each exercise ID where there is a list of assignment IDs that use that problem. Every action that adds or removes an exercise to/from an assignment (or deletes an assignment) would have to also update this entry, in addition to that action's primary function. Then the 5000 queries becomes more like 100. Is that model viable?

Sean Fitzpatrick

Apr 29, 2023, 12:22:54 AM4/29/23
These are all great points.

I vaguely recall this being one of the goals that David had in mind for the system he was working on before Runestone.

It would be nice to have but students can certainly manage without it.

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages