From UBC Wiki

WeBWorKis a free open-source online assessment platform that integrates with Canvas and is primarily used in mathematics and science. WeBWorK is developed and supported by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF).

Students can access practice problems and assignments anywhere, and instructors can limit the number of attempts for each problem. By completing problems at their own pace and receiving instant feedback each time, students are empowered to practice and understand new concepts and learning goals.

Some key features are:

  • Display of complex mathematical notations and formulas (LaTeX)
  • Automatic grading to provide students with instant feedback
  • Randomly generated numbers and functions within problems to prevent students from sharing answers
  • Numeric and/or symbolic responses in problems
  • Instructors can author their own problems or choose from thousands of problems from the Open Problem Library

If you are interested, you can click these links to read more about WeBWorK:

Getting Started

At UBC, WeBWorK is supported and maintained by the Learning Technology Hub (LT Hub).

WeBWorK must be used in conjunction with Canvas. As students access WeBWorK via Canvas, they are automatically added to the WeBWorK course roster. Using Canvas is a requirement for using WeBWorK in your course.

Furthermore, WeBWorK runs in your web browser and supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge. It is recommended that you use one of the two latest versions of Chrome or Firefox.

Integrating WeBWorK into Canvas


  • Experiment with the different functionalities of the tool, and take your time to learn about WeBWorK.
    • To obtain a Sandbox Canvas Course to experiment with WeBWorK, please contact the LT Hub or Science LT.
    • If you want to test as a student in your actual course, it is best to create a secondary "Basic CWL" and add it as a test student in your Canvas course, as the student view in WeBWorK is not a true representation of what students see in WeBWorK. To create a test student account and add it to your Canvas course, please contact the LT Hub or Science LT. Please note that this test student account will appear as a real student in your Canvas course, therefore any assignments/quizzes that you test with this account will affect class statistics, such as your class average.
  • Find some time to orient students in the WeBWorK environment.
  • Create low/no-impact assignments and tests to provide opportunities for students to assess what they have learned.
  • Use the Statistics tool, which is located in your WeBWorK course under the Main Menu, to see which topics might need more time in class.
  • You may also find it useful to access the answer log to see students' specific answers for further insight:

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about WeBWorK? Check out our FAQ:

Working with WeBWorK

There are 4 different assignment types in WeBWorK:

  1. Homework Sets
    • Homework sets are untimed problem sets used for homework. Instructors select Opens and Closes dates for each homework set, as well as an Answers Available date to reveal the correct answers to students. Instructors may also choose to Hide Hints from Students while they work on the homework problems. Lastly, homework sets can be made Visible/not Visible, which is a useful feature to hide homework sets from students' view during exams.
  2. Tests
    • Tests are timed assessments used for quizzes and exams. Their options include the same as homework sets, plus additional exam-related settings: instructors can set a specific Test Time Limit instead of letting the assignment expire at the Closes date, and they may choose the Number of Tests per Time Interval to set the number of attempts each student will have during the exam. To help deter cheating, instructors can choose to Order Problems Randomly as well as choose not to Show Scores on Finished Assignments.
  3. Proctored Tests
    • Proctored Tests are password-protected Tests. Students must enter credentials, which are provided by the instructor, to access the exam. The default setting requires credentials only once: the first time the student accesses the exam. If you instead want your WeBWorK course to require credentials every time students access their exam and upon submitting their exam, please refer to the page below:
    • How to enable WeBWorK requiring credentials for submitting a proctored test
  4. Just-in-time
    • Just-in-time assignments are more complex than the above types and are less common in UBC WeBWorK courses. If you would like to learn about Just-in-time assignments, please refer to this page.

Creating and Editing WeBWorK Homework Sets and Tests

Math Entry Assistance: This feature adds a math entry tool to assist students with inputting mathematical formulas into the answer input field. There are two types for instructors to choose from: MathView or MathQuil. To enable or disable this feature, click on Course Configuration from the main menu on the left side of the page and select Problem Display/Answer Checking. Set Assist with the student answer entry process to the desired entry tool, or None to disable the tool.

Setting Up and Managing WeBWorK Exams

Managing WeBWorK exams can sometimes be difficult, especially if an issue arises during the exam. The following guides can help ensure your exams run smoothly.

Please note that running exams for large courses (150+ students) may lead to potential load/submission issues. In this case, it is recommended to stagger your exam start times by at least 10 minutes apart to reduce load issues, and to limit to smaller groups. For further assistance in setting up your exam, please contact the LT Hub or Science LT.

Managing WeBWorK Grades

WeBWorK automatically grades each assignment and calculates the total assignment grade for each student. However, WeBWorK grades do not automatically sync to your Canvas course - this requires setting up. If you have not yet set this up but would like to, see "How to set up Canvas grade sync" below. Please note that setting up grade sync between your WeBWorK and Canvas course is recommended but not required. If you would prefer to manually upload grades to Canvas, see the page "How to download grades and upload them to Canvas" below.

Reusing WeBWorK Problem Sets from Previous Terms

Instructors can also configure all homework sets using pre-written definition files to reuse problems from a previous term for the same course; however, please note that this is not required. To learn more about importing homework set-definition files, please refer to the page below:

Advanced WeBWorK Feature: Creating Your Own Problems

If you do not want to use an existing problem in the WeBWorK Open Problem Library (OPL), you can author your own problems. This involves writing and modifying Perl code in the source file that generates the problem. You can use the following templates to customise your problems, or learn to integrate R code into your WeBWorK course to generate data, perform analyses, and create figures.

Problem Authoring

WeBWorK Integrating R

Advanced WeBWorK Feature: Configure Math Entry Assistance for Students

WeBWork supports math entry assistance that can help students eliminate confusion with math entry with WeBWork such as nonmatching brackets and incorrect math functions. MathView is the default editor, it includes a live rendering view and some shortcut buttons and is the recommend. MathQuill adds live rendering to the input field and a column of shortcut buttons on the right side of the screen.

  1. Go to your WeBWork course homepage, and click Course Configuration in the navigation.
  2. Click on the Problem Display/Answer Checking tab.
  3. In the Assist with the student answer entry process section, choose your preferred math entry assistance for students with the dropdown from the “Current” column.
  4. Click Save Changes.

Resources & Support

UBC Support

General WeBWorK Resources

The WeBWorK Wiki by the Mathematical Association of America has an extensive library of resources on how to use WeBWorK. Some resources we want to highlight are:

Training Sessions

The Department of Statistics usually offers two training sessions on the WeBWorK on-line homework system during Reading Week.

If you have any questions about these sessions or WeBWorK in general, please contact Bruce Dunham at