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Re: Buttons in CDFs Created for Homework Assignments

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  • Subject: [mg128104] Re: Buttons in CDFs Created for Homework Assignments
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2012 03:23:14 -0400 (EDT)
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The modestly sophisticated kind of homework system you're describing is 
the sort of thing that is probably best left to a dedicated (on-line) 
system -- whether a proprietary one such as WebAssign or a free 
local-sever-based one such as WeBWorK. A huge amount of effort, 
instructor feedback, and field testing has gone into development of such 
systems, and it seems a wasteful task to reinvent what has already been 
done (unless, of course, you want to develop and disseminate such a new 
system yourself).

On Sep 15, 2012, at 3:37 AM, Gregory Lypny <gregory.lypny at> 

> Hello everyone,
> I'm using CDF as the format for a series of undergraduate 
multiple-choice quizzes and graduate assignments that I am developing.  
Both generate unique homework exercises for each student by drawing 
random samples from real-world data sets.  I have already used them 
successfully in an intermediate undergraduate theory course in financial 
economics.  But something came up yesterday when I was putting the 
finishing touches on a prototype for multiple-choice quizzes, and I 
suppose it should have occurred to me before I even started.  I included 
radio buttons for the answer choices to each question, knowing that free 
CDFs cannot export, but thinking that the answers chosen could be 
dynamically updated in a table, and students could then use the table to 
enter their answers into a web form for submission.  No problem with 
this as long as the quiz is completed all at once.  But students are not 
be able to come back to complete a quiz that they had started earlier 
because free CDFs cannot sa
> ve the interface state and do not allow importing (which, presumably, 
could be used to create a file to do the same thing).  All this being 
said, I was wondering if someone on the list might confirm, and perhaps 
suggest a workaround if one exists.  A volume license for Player Pro is 
not an option at my institution.
> I think CDFs are neat, but the inability to save states, severely 
limits their usefulness for homework, and I am now wondering whether I 
might just as well use Mathematica to create a workflow to generate a 
unique PDF for each student instead of a CDF.  Even if a student does 
not print a PDF, they can always annotate them, and in that way, save 
their work.
> I guess this is a shout-out to Wolfram to consider expanding the 
capabilities of free CDFs for these purposes.
> Regards,
> Gregory

Murray Eisenberg                                     
murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.      
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                  413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street                      fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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