I am looking for something similar to WebWork, WebAssign, MyMathLab, but geared to more advanced courses with specialized features.

What I want is something that will work for say a numerical analysis course. Exchanging homework assignments through email seems not to be the most efficient way to do it. So I want

  1. The software maintains a class folder for a certain course.

  2. Students can enter free format tex-based answers, instructor can annotate, enter grades.

  3. Software will maintain revisions of a document.

  4. Software gives ability to export code to the program that runs it.

What software comes close? What system do you use? A home-made one using Web-2.0 seems feasible, at least for features 1,2,3.

Related questions:

  1. Can programs e.g. Matlab be made executable from within PDF?

  2. Customizable latex equation editors for students

I recently learned that BlackBoard now supports TeX.

  • 2
    You might better attack from R or Matlab and export a document to TeX not the other way around. Handling tough stuff with the typesetter is kind of making your life harder.
    – percusse
    Mar 31, 2013 at 18:07
  • I don't know if this is like what you have in mind LON-CAPA.
    – Alan Munn
    Mar 31, 2013 at 20:04
  • @AlanMunn Does that software provide any \TeX\ related facilities? I was hoping that one of web-based \TeX\ processor programs such as SpanDex will offer such a thing.
    – Maesumi
    Apr 1, 2013 at 14:48
  • @Maesumi I think all of the back-end for producing the displayed problems is done with TeX.
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 1, 2013 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


I've been setting up a course using eduComponents in Plone. And it does basically everything that you mention above. You can find a public demo at the University of Magdeburg, where they originally developed the software

The demo at the uni-magdeburg address runs on Plone 3, and looks a bit old fashioned. But I have found the componentes to work well with Plone 4.1.6 so you can use a more modern interface (I had no luck on 4.2).

What you get is a folder-like object called a "Lecture" (from ECLecture) where you then can add all the content, including tests. Thoses tests can include free text format that can be graded by the teacher or automatically parsed using grep expresions. The latter can also be used to pre-grade assigments (for instance letting the student know that they can submit, but some crucial keywords are missing).

Assignments can be submitted multiple times and the entire history of submissions (all the versions) is recorded. I'm very impressed at what it enables me to present to students.

  • 1
    That is an interesting site. I guess it is only for your university. Is that right?
    – Maesumi
    Apr 30, 2013 at 12:59
  • No, that is not my university. All packages are also downloadable through plone.org. It is just the only place where I know where to find a publicly accessible demo of ECComponentes.
    – FvD
    May 8, 2013 at 22:25

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