Getting Started

WeBWork is an online testing platform developed by the Mathematical Association of America. It provides excellent tools to developed complex, equation-based online questions and deploys them within the Canvas system. There are online libraries of free WebWork problems (Math and Engineering).

WeBWorK is an online platform for delivering individualized homework problems. By giving students instant feedback, WeBWorK encourages students to make multiple attempts until they succeed. Cheating is discouraged as the problems are individualized. Instructors receive real-time statistics which helps customize lesson plans to better serve students.

Uses and Benefits

Immediate Feedback

Research has shown that good teaching practice gives prompt feedback to students [1] and goal-directed practice with targeted feedback can enhance student learning [2].

Each question in a WeBWork practice test, assignment or exam will provide immediate feedback to students if their responses are correct. It can help students asses their own knowledge on a specific topic.

Allowing multiple attempts provides students a chance to reflect on what they know and what they need to know.

Although not currently enabled at UBC, WeBWork also allows for customized hints when a student answers a question incorrectly.

When students answer a question incorrectly, they will be given immediate feedback. (Click to enlarge)

Individualized Problems

Questions in a WeBWork problem set or assignment is randomized. Each student will be given a unique assessment experience that discourages cheating.

Above are examples of the same problem set but with different first questions for 2 different students. (Click to enlarge)

Real-time Statistics

Effective teaching requires instructors to continually reflect on our past teaching experiences and adapt our courses based on feedback or evaluations [3].

WeBWork collects statistical data for each problem set that help you customize your course or lesson plans. You can see data on areas such as the average number of attempts on a question and percentage of students who got a question correct.

Students can also see their own progress in the course with data from their responses to assignments and tests.

Above is an example of the statistics for an assignment. (Click to enlarge)


  1. Chickering, A. W., & Ehrmann, S. C. (1996). Implementing the seven principles. AAHE Bulletin, 49(2), 2-4. [1]
  2. Theory and Research-based Principles of Learning, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon University,
  3. Teaching Principles, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon University,

WeBWorK is a UBC supported web-based homework system which was developed at the University of Rochester in 1995. UBC's Math department first piloted WeBWorK in 2009, and has since been adopted by many more departments. The current instance is deployed in a high availability environment using UBC IT infrastructure, providing a reliable service to all faculties across UBC.

Students access WeBWorK through Canvas, which is required for the course roster and grades to sync.

You want students to access WeBWorK through Canvas, at least the first time to log into WeBWorks. Accessing this way automatically adds the student to the WebWorks course and will push the WeBWork grades back to Canvas Gradebook.

On subsequent visits, students can go directly to WebWorks if they want.

WeBWorK is being used in Math and Engineering at UBC. At UBC Engineering, a number of Electrical, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering professors take advantage of the WeBWork system. UBC Engineering has undertaken a multi-year project to build libraries of WeBWork problems.

Contact if you want to learn more from one of the current faculty users of the WeBWork system.

Common Tasks