Talk:OpenStax Physics

Latest comment: 6 years ago by Dave Braunschweig in topic Intention to move each textbook out into main space

How can instructors use these testbanks? edit

Good question.

One thing is clear: Wikiversity only posts open source teaching materials, which implies the testbank is open source and therefore fully available to the students. This will force us to adapt:

  1. A sufficiently large testbank will render memorizing a less productive strategy, especially with multiple choice questions involving calculations an numerical results, this strategy is likely to be effective. To a lesser extent, this strategy can be used on conceptual questions by ensuring that a variety of questions are available for each concept.
  2. If a test involves conceptual multiple choice questions, a few such questions on each test and ask students to write short essays instead of answering the multiple choice exam. The grade penalty for knowing the answer to a question but failing show any understanding could be enhanced by giving extra weight to the short-answer portion of the test.
  3. Construction of a large testbank can be facilitated by assigning students to provide questions as a course requirement. # A large testbank on any wiki will inevitably contain a large number low quality test questions, such as those notorious "true/false" questions where both answers are plausible. One strategy is to direct students' attention to these low quality questions as the material is being presented. Explain the answer why one answer has been deemed "correct" and remind students that they may be required to write a short essay on it. Instead of attempting to "clean" the testbank of low quality questions, a better strategy is for individuals to maintain "personal" testbanks either offline, or stored as permalinks on the wiki.
  4. For the numerical problems that form the basis of physical science courses, there is an advantage to this complete merging of homework and exam preparation. Instead of rushing through homework, and then setting aside time to study for an exam, students can prepare for the exam by practicing the wikiquizzes. The conflict in the students' mind over which activity should take priority creates stress.
  5. While it may seem odd to give students the solutions to all problems from the start, this use of Wikiversity-based quizzes does not preclude the traditional approach to assigning problems because classroom time can be devoted to such activities. In fact, the traditional style of assigning homework for students to do on their own (or with study partners) is becoming more difficult to accomplish, since the internet becoming progressively more adroit at showing students how to solve homework problems.

This section last edited by Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 03:42, 26 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Technical details question edit

@Guy vandegrift:I was reading through this and got curious about this part:

The actual quiz will reside in the author's computer, controlled by a high-level programming language that produce wikitext.

I was just wandering if you could elaborate a little on that. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 20:14, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am not sure I am using the right terminology, but Wikiversity pages are written in the markup language wikitext. Matlab is used to write this wikitext because random numbers must be inserted into the questions, and because the "quiz collections" consist of between 10 and 25 nearly identical versions of the same test. For examples of these Matlab codes, see MATLAB/Wikiquiz_writer_(MATLAB).
Also, I need to rewrite all my codes because the "quiz collections" will use entirely different markup (to include the page breaks). Python would be a much better choice for this task, since it is open source. But I don't know Python very well and plan to use MATLAB because OpenS tax needs this product as soon as possible. Are you interested in collaborating on a parallel effort to transition from MATLAB to Python? I know what the codes are supposed to do and you know Python.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 22:22, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure. I'll take a look at the link you gave and get a basic idea on how it works. I'll let you know if I have any questions. (I probably will.) --I8086 (discusscontribs) 23:27, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Two questions.
  1. So the software creates testbanks like this?
  2. In what form is the info that's needed to create a testbank? From the source code I presume it's in customizable strings?
Thanks in advanced. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 23:52, 30 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@I8086: I forgot to put this on my watchlist and only now noticed your message. I am still working out the details and will show you something in a few days. There is no immediate reason to make a Python code because two events should occur prior to creating that code:

  1. I need to finish the project in MATLAB
  2. A need to render exams using Python must arise. This happen only if if others wish to become actively involved in managing the quizbank. Instructors who simply want to download quizzes as PDF files won't need any high-level programming skills.

But to answer your question, the idea is to post and organize text files on Wikiversity that can be processed by a high level language into Wikiversity markup so they may be rendered on a Wikiversity page, then converted into a PDF for instructors to use.

I will keep you informed--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 16:48, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see what you mean about the page breaks. By the way, the page breaks worked great. I understand about the re-writing the code to Python; the main reason why I'm a bit pushy is because of my new choice of career/job. Sadly, it may reduce the amount of free time I have. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 18:04, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Don't feel bad about not having time to work on Wikiversity. It happens to the best of us. FYI, here is an update on my programming plans. Today I plan to write some functions that will allow MATLAB to quickly process these online quizzes.
Thanks for letting me know, I'll keep an eye on that page. --I8086 (discusscontribs) 19:21, 6 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cleaning up this page for convenient viewing edit

I propose we clean this page so that students will come here to read or download the texts. I suggest that we:

  1. Include the external links (called "original file"), since the [[file:''textbookname''.pdf]] internal links lead to something that take time to learn to navigate. Also, the external links work fine on most modern browsers because there is a table of contents option.
  2. Keep the page clean and put most of everything else into subpages (or delete outright).
  3. Change the name from OpenStax College to Openstax because that is the name used by Wikipedia.
  4. Make sure our copyright info is correct
  5. Replace any high resolution (large) files by low resolution files for online viewing

I will do all these things, but need a bit of feedback because this is a time-consuming operation that I don't want to redo.-Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 16:50, 17 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Subpages works for me. It's actually Wikipedia: OpenStax. I would create a redirect from Openstax to OpenStax. If you want to link to a Wikibook, there's also Wikibooks: Principles of Microeconomics. I'm working on that one for three professors at our college. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 23:38, 17 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Intention to move each textbook out into main space edit

As I work on this project I find myself creating too many subpages. I think each book should be it's own project in main space. This is an opportunity for WV to interact with OpenStax in a big way. At the moment, I am working on equation sheets for a physics book, and have at least three versions:

  • OpenStax/College Physics equations is a master set obtained by paraphrasing each chapter summary in a way that should avoid copyvio issues (since equations cannot be copyrighted). These equations will not be often edited, but instead users will transclude into their own versions and modify. Two modifications are important:
  1. User:Guy_vandegrift/pt2eqn illustrates how instructors can transclude from the master set in order to modify or add content to the master set.
  2. User:Guy_vandegrift/sandbox/01 represents that all-important equation sheet that instructors can give to the students in printed form. Note how the online version links to the more complete versions.

In the unlikely event that we are overwhelmed with instructors wishing customized versions of these three documents, all should be subpages of OpenStax College Physics. I'm not sure what to call these three versions. Perhaps I could move:

  1. User:Guy_vandegrift/pt2eqn to OpenStax College Physics/Equations (If I were teaching this, I might add discussion sections under the cot and cob templates.)
  2. User:Guy_vandegrift/sandbox/01 to OpenStax College Physics/Formulas
Let me know if you have any suggestions. I only want to move these pages once because I need to modify all the links by hand. I will do this in a few days.Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 14:51, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Guy vandegrift: We have projects with hundreds of subpages. That, by itself, wouldn't be a reason to move. I'm not opposed to moving out the Physics titles, as those are the main interest at this time. Note that moving pages and correcting links can be done by bot. It doesn't require manual effort, just a very specific list of what you want accomplished. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 15:27, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the info on the bots. Since I have only four chapters completed (out of 35), I can change the links by hand. I am also a strong believer in subpages, but agree that these textbooks are likely to become so important that they each deserve their own page. I was concerned that my administration would frown on my selecting OpenStax textbooks ... until I learned that the main campus Faculty Senate voted that instructors should use such free resources whenever feasible. The Calculus version came out only about a year ago, and I am confident that this OpenStax project will grow in importance.--Guy vandegrift (discusscontribs) 15:30, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We're working on a similar OER effort at my college. Note that the Calculus books have a different license than everything else. Most OpenStax is CC-BY. The Calculus books are CC-BY-NC-SA. That means the files can be added here, but the content can't be used on a wiki page, as the license on the page is not compatible. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 16:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Adding material I just cut from OpenStax main page edit

Links about Quizzes edit

  4. (XML format only)

Footnotes and references edit

Subpages If this link fails, use Special:PrefixIndex/OpenStax_College

CLEANUP: OpenStax/Flexible equation transclusion needs to be moved deleted or moved to OpenStax equation

 For certain browsers, these links open the pdf file directly for online reading=====

College Physics         University Physics[1]         Astronomy         How Things Work

In the past, OpenStax College has hosted practice quizzes through Learningpod.[2] Unfortunately, the future of this support is uncertain[3]. Wikiversity should fill the gap by hosting quizzes(link) for OpenStax textbooks.

About OpenStax College edit

OpenStax College is an open textbook initiative at Rice University that began in 2012. It provides peer-reviewed college-level textbooks that are available in both printed and digital formats. As of 2015, seventeen textbooks have been produced[4], and more are under construction.[5] The closely affiliated OpenStax CNX contains learning objects, called pages, that are organized into textbook-style books in a host of disciplines. All these items are accessible online and downloadable to almost any device.[6] A number of these options are free of charge, although donations are always welcome.


OpenStax operates under a under a CC-BY license that permits two-way transfer of materials between OpenStax and Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and other sisters. The category Commons:Category:CNX lists uploaded 601 images (as of 4/24/2015).

Coordination with Quizbank==

Making the testbank user friendly edit

The resource will not be a "testbank" (or "quizbank"[7]), but be "collection" of complete and ready-to-use quizzes and exams that require a bit of effort to change or edit.[8]

  • The "product" will not be a Mediawikiwiki:Extension:Quiz but an ordinary Wikiversity page.
  • As with any Wikiversity page, this page printed PDF format, provided your computer is configured with a Print to PDF option. For those without this option, a host site should be established that posts the PDF versions of the tests.
  • The PDF files will be long. But hard copies of one or two versions of the exam can be produced by printing only specific pages. An answer key should be included in each PDF document.

Pagebreaks in the Wikiversity resource are achieved using the commands ''<div style="page-break-before:always"></div>'' and ''{{pagebreak}}''[9]

Technical details edit

The actual quiz will reside in the author's computer, where it interacts with a high-level programming language[10] that produces wikitext (such as in this MATLAB code). Two types of resources are uploaded onto Wikiversity:

  1. The primary resource is a quiz extension similar to this example. Wikiversity readers can practice this quiz online as often as they wish, and no record is kept of their efforts.
  2. A subpage to the primary resource resembles this tesbank except that it will not be a quiz extension, but an ordinary Wikiversity regular page[11], except that (unseen) page breaks will permit it to be downloaded as a PDF that can be printed for use in the classroom.[12] It is likely that a variety of these "collections" will be needed: quizzes, midterms, and a final. The wikitext for all these versions will be written by the high-level programming language.

Ideas that don't seem to work edit

  1. It is almost useless to publish a large collection of Wikiversity quizzes, each formatted as a Mediawikiwiki:Extension:Quiz [13] due to page break problem.
  2. There does not seem to be an existing CMS (LMS) assessement-making system[14]. Physics quizzes require figures, formulas, and on occasion, complicated calculations. If an appropriate system exists, we cannot find it.

Temporary placement of gallery as I clean up edit

Gallery of recent images edit

  1. Calculus based Physics is also called University Physics., and College Physics is the name usually given for algebra or trigonometry based versions of a essentially the same course.
  7. To facilitate Google search engines, the should be called "quiz banks" or "assessment banks" because "testbank" has a different meaning in software development.
  8. Editing is accomplished by printing the Wikiversity page or associated PDF printout and pasting the result into a blank word processing document.
  10. The wikitext is currently written by MATLAB, but Python might be a better choice.
  11. It might save a bit of space and facilitate coding if this secondary quiz collection used transclusions from the primary resource
  12. Users who do not wish to print the entire "collection" of exams may scroll down the long pdf file and randomly select only those pages that need to be printed.
  13. also written as "mw:Extension:Quiz' or called "quiz extension"
  14. When googling, use "assessment" and/or "quiz" banks and systems; "testbank" has other meanings.
Return to "OpenStax Physics" page.