Introduction to WeBWorK for Students

What is WeBWorK?

WeBWorK is a software package, developed at the University of Rochester, which delivers individually customized calculus homework assignments via the Worldwide Web. Any student can connect at any time to a WeBWorK server from any computer with a reasonably up-to-date web browser. Each student gets their own version of a problem, based on a template written by the course instructor. The student can then submit their answers over the web, and WeBWorK immediately tells the student whether or not their answer is correct. Students can resubmit their answers as often as they like without penalty, until they get a correct answer (up until the due date of the assignment).

How do I log into the WeBWorK server?

From any computer with a network connection, start up your favorite web browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, (version 4 or higher) and go to the URL

Then click on the name of your lecturer. You will then get a login window. Your WeBWorK login name is your ``'' (HomeNet/ResNet) user name in lower case. E.g. if your official OSU email address is

then your WeBWorK login name would be

Your initial password is your Social Security Number with hyphens
e.g. 123-45-6789
[You should also have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to be able to conveniently print hard copy of the problem assignments.]

How is WeBWorK different from regular homework?

The types of problems you will encounter in a typical WeBWorK assignment are pretty similar to the kinds of problems you will find in most calculus texts. However unlike written assignments (which take a long time to grade if they get graded at all), WeBWorK will give you immediate feedback as to whether you are doing the problems correctly. So you have plenty of time to seek help.

Also since WeBWorK problems are individually customized, you are prevented from developing such bad habits as blindly copying answers from some other person or from some solutions manual. [Do NOT expect your TA's to work out your individual version of WeBWorK problems in recitation. Rather they will work out some generic version of these problems.]

Do I still have to attend lectures, recitations, read the text?

Yes, all of the above. WeBWorK is NOT a distance learning system. WeBWorK does not explain how to do problems. Nor can it analyze your mistakes and determine whether you are just making some trivial errors or whether you are suffering from some fundamental misunderstanding of an important concept.

How should I go about doing WeBWorK assignments?

I am sure that I have the correct answer, but WeBWorK will not accept it. What should I do?

You may be using the wrong syntax and WeBWorK is misunderstanding what you are trying to write. Use the Preview window to see how WeBWorK is interpreting your answer. [Also review Homework Assignment 0 which is intended to familiarize you with the basics of WeBWorK. You might also try reading the online WeBWorK documentation.] If you still can't figure out what is going wrong, print the contents of the Preview window, as well as the window where WeBWorK tells you your answer is wrong, and bring the hard copy to your lecturer/TA during office hours. You can also email your lecture or TA, copying and pasting the top of the WeBWorK web page, which shows the answer that you entered which WeBWorK thinks is wrong, into your email.
NOTE: Many students who think WeBWorK is refusing a correct answer are actually making algebra mistakes, sometimes minor, sometimes serious.