At 7am yesterday I was sitting at my computer, head-set on, for the Transforming Assessment webinar about STACK, led by Chris Sangwin in Birmingham, via Australia…(hence the early start).

STACK will be released in December as a Moodle question type, but it has been around for a while. STACK (System for Teaching and Assessment using a Computer-algebra Kernel) is an eAssessment system for mathematics and related subjects, with computer algebra (Maxima) at its heart. For those of us at the OU wanting to increase the use of good eAssessment in maths and physics, we have been waiting a long time for this moment – and I’m sure the same is true elsewhere. Chris commented yesterday that computer algebra is essential (and that regular expressions are wholly inadequate) for this sort of assessment. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but we have been bashing our head on a brickwall somewhat, having to think of every way students might legitmately write an expression. 

Aside of the advantage that computer algebra brings,  STACK appears to be a very well thought out system and I am looking forward to using it. Mind you, I think  I will be on a steep learning curve as I start writing questions in the coming months.

There is a recording of yesterday’s webinar at

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