Kunkel, Matthias [mkunkel] - 08. Oct 2013, 09:10
Connecting ILIAS with a CAS
Due to several e-learning projects for educating and training mathematics, the request for connecting ILIAS with a Computer Algebra System (CAS) has increased in the past two years. Main advantage of such a connection would be the possibility to calculate test answers with mathematical equations and to check if the result is correct. ILIAS is only able to compare the given answer with a predefined result but cannot calculate it. After months of comparing and discussing possible solutions the Special Interest Group Mathe+ILIAS has made its decision.
The SIG suggests to connect ILIAS with a CAS and to use it for assessment by implementing a new question type STACK and use the CAS MAXIMA. MAXIMA is an open source computer algebra system that supports calculation and conversions of equations and symbolic operations, see also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxima_(software).
But using this CAS for assessment is requiring an interface to the CAS. Instead of creating one from scratch an existing solution is adapted to reduce the implementation costs. STACK takes over this part and prepares the requests send by ILIAS for MAXIMA and delivers results and rating back to ILIAS. STACK has been developed in Birmingham and is already used in the UK for years. An implementation exists already for Moodle and will be the prototype for an ILIAS test question plugin.
The optes project has started a funding campaign to finance the adaption of the existing plugin to ILIAS and to create an ILIAS compliant learner and authoring GUI. The question type shall be available in spring 2014. If you are interest to contribute to the funding, have a look into the Crowdfunding data collection.