Agnes d’Entremont Featured for Open Problem Library Project

Dr. Agnes d’Entremont, an instructor in Mechanical Engineering, and her colleague Dr. Jonathan Verrett, an instructor in Chemical and Biological Engineering, were featured in a video by BC Campus for their work with an open-source online homework system.

The video highlights how creating problems for the WeBWork Open Problem Library (OPL) improves their students’ learning experience and reduces financial barriers. WeBWork is an open-source online homework system for math and science courses that provides students with immediate, detailed feedback. They are allowed to make changes to their answer, which promotes learning. WeBWorks also has  individualized versions of problems, allowing instructors to encourage students to work together – each student has a similar but unique problem, and much develop their own answer to their individual version of the problem. For instructors, WeBWork has over 30,000 problems in an Open Problem Library that can be used in math and an increasing number of problems that are available for other sciences and economics. At least 5 post-secondary institutions in BC use WeBWork.

d’Entremont and Verrett wanted to create a set of problems that could be used in engineering programs in BC, North America and worldwide. This project received an Open Education Resource grant this year to supplement and extend the UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund grant that the instructors received. The funding will be used to hire a student to increase the number of problems in the OPL, and adding to the set of open problems available globally for engineering.

“My hope is that we plant a seed on the open problem library” says d’Entrement. “We’re starting several subjects that don’t exist there now. We’re founding certain subject areas on there. And we have the capacity to build 60 – 80 problems, but what we hope is people will see that and say, “Oh, there are like-minded people… engineers using this. I could build a few problems too. And if 10 people build five problems each, suddenly we have this amazing resource that’s available to all of us.”

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Story adapted from APSC News.