Maple T.A. Questions and Posts Maple T.A. Questions and Posts Feed

These are Posts and Questions associated with the product, Maple T.A.

Disclaimer: This blog post has been contributed by Dr. Nicola Wilkin, Head of Teaching Innovation (Science), College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Jonathan Watkins from the University of Birmingham Maple T.A. user group*. 

We all know the problem. During the course of a degree, students become experts at solving problems when they are given the sets of equations that they need to solve. As anyone will tell you, the skill they often lack is the ability to produce these sets of equations in the first place. With Maple T.A. it is a fairly trivial task to ask a student to enter the solution to a system of equations and have the system check if they have entered it correctly. I speak with many lecturers who tell me they want to be able to challenge their students, to think further about the concepts. They want them to be able to test if they can provide the governing equations and boundary conditions to a specific problem.

With Maple T.A. we now have access to a math engine that enables us to test whether a student is able to form this system of equations for themselves as well as solve it.

In this post we are going to explore how we can use Maple T.A. to set up this type of question. The example I have chosen is 2D Couette flow. For those of you unfamiliar with this, have a look at this wikipedia page explaining the important details.

In most cases I prefer to use the question designer to create questions. This gives a uniform interface for question design and the most flexibility over layout of the question text presented to the student.

  1. On the Questions tab, click New question link and then choose the question designer.
  2. For the question title enter "System of equations for Couette Flow".
  3. For the question text enter the text

    The image below shows laminar flow of a viscous incompressible liquid between two parallel plates.

    What is the system of equations that specifies this system. You can enter them as a comma separated list.

    e.g. diff(u(y),y,y)+diff(u(y),y)=0,u(-1)=U,u(h)=0

    You then want to insert a Maple graded answer box but we'll do that in a minute after we have discussed the algorithm.

    When using the questions designer, you often find answers are longer than width of the answer box. One work around is to change the width of all input boxes in a question using a style tag. Click the source button on the editor and enter the following at the start of the question

    <style id="previewTextHidden" type="text/css">
    input[type="text"] {width:300px !important}

    Pressing source again will show the result of this change. The input box should now be significantly wider. You may find it useful to know the default width is 186px.
  4. Next, we need to add the algorithm for this question. The teacher's answer for this question is the system of equations for the flow in the picture.

    $TA="diff(u(y),y,y) = 0, u(0) = 0, u(h) = U";

    I always set this to $TA for consitency across my questions. To check there is a solution to this I use a maple call to the dsolve function in Maple, this returns the solution to the provided system of equations. Pressing refresh on next to the algorithm performs these operations and checks the teacher's answer.

    The key part of this question is the grading code in the Maple graded answer box. Let's go ahead and add the answer box to the question text. I add it at the end of the text we added in step 3. Click Insert Response area and choose the Maple-graded answer box in the left hand menu. For the answer enter the $TA variable that we defined in the algorithm. For the grading code enter


    This code checks that the students system of equations produces the same solution as the teachers. Asking the question in this way allows a more open ended response for the student.

    To finish off make sure the expression type is Maple syntax and Text entry only is selected.
  5. Press OK and then Finish on the Question designer screen.

That is the question completed. To preview a working copy of the question, have a look here at the live preview of this question. Enter the system of equations and click How did I do?


I have included a downloadable version of the question that contains the .xml file and image for this question. Click this link to download the file. The question can also be found on the Maple T.A. cloud under "System of equations for Couette Flow".

* Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Birmingham unless explicitly stated otherwise.

I try to make a question with an equation with numbered variables. This works fine when evaluating:


I need to have the lefthand variable indexed also like this:


When entering y2=x1/x2 as the answer Maple TA won't evaluate it as a correct answer!?

Disclaimer: This blog post has been contributed by Dr. Nicola Wilkin, Head of Teaching Innovation (Science), College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Jonathan Watkins from the University of Birmingham Maple T.A. user group*.


If you have arrived at this post you are likely to have a STEM background. You may have heard of or had experience with Maple T.A or similar products in the past. For the uninitiated, Maple T.A. is a powerful system for learning and assessment designed for STEM courses, backed by the power of the Maple computer algebra engine. If that sounds interesting enough to continue reading let us introduce this series of blog posts for the mapleprimes website contributed by the Maple T.A. user group from the University of Birmingham(UoB), UK.

These posts mirror conversations we have had amongst the development team and with colleagues at UoB and as such are likely of interest to the wider Maple T.A. community and potential adopters. The implementation of Maple T.A. over the last couple of years at UoB has resulted in a strong and enthusiastic knowledge base which spans the STEM subjects and includes academics, postgraduates, undergraduates both as users and developers, and the essential IT support in embedding it within our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), CANVAS at UoB.

By effectively extending our VLE such that it is able to understand mathematics we are able to deliver much wider and more robust learning and assessment in mathematics based courses. This first post demonstrates that by comparing the learning experience between a standard multiple choice question, and the same material delivered in a Maple TA context.

To answer this lets compare how we might test if a student can solve a quadratic equation, and what we can actually test for if we are not restricted to multiple choice. So we all have a good understanding of the solution method, let's run through a typical paper-based example and see the steps to solving this sort of problem.

Here is an example of a quadratic

To find the roots of this quadratic means to find what values of x make this equation equal to zero. Clearly we can just guess the values. For example, guessing 0 would give

So 0 is not a root but -1 is.

There are a few standard methods that can be used to find the roots. The point though is the answer to this sort of question takes the form of a list of numbers. i.e. the above example has the roots -1, 5. For quadratics there are always two roots. In some cases two roots could be the same number and they are called repeated roots. So a student may want to answer this question as a pair of different numbers 3, -5, the same number repeated 2, 2 or a single number 2. In the last case they may only list a repeated roots once or maybe they could only find one root from a pair of roots. Either way there is quite a range of answer forms for this type of question.

With the basics covered let us see how we might tackle this question in a standard VLE. Most are not designed to deal with lists of variable length and so we would have to ask this as a multiple choice question. Fig. 1, shows how this might look.

VLE Question

Fig 1: Multiple choice question from a standard VLE

Unfortunately asking the question in this way gives the student a lot of implicit help with the answer and students are able to play a process of elimination game to solve this problem rather than understand or use the key concepts.

They can just put the numbers in and see which work...

Let's now see how we may ask this question in Maple T.A.. Fig. 2 shows how the question would look in Maple T.A. Clearly this is not multiple choice and the student is encouraged to answer the question using a simple list of numbers separated by commas. The students are not helped by a list of possible answers and are left to genuinely evaluate the problem. They are able to provide a single root or both if they can find them, and moreover the question is not fussy about the way students provide repeated roots. After a student has attempted the question, in the formative mode, a student is able to review their answer and the teacher's answer as well as question specific feedback, Fig. 3. We'll return to the power of the feedback that can be incorporated in a later post.

Maple T.A. Question

Fig. 2: Free response question in Maple T.A.


Maple T.A. Answer

Fig. 3: Grading response from Maple T.A.

The demo of this question and others presented in this blog, are available as live previews through the UoB Maple T.A. user group site.

Click here for a live demo of this question.

The question can be downloaded from here and imported as a course module to your Maple T.A. instance. It can also be found on the Maple TA cloud by searching for "Find the roots of a quadratic". Simply click on the Clone into my class button to get your own version of the question to explore and modify.

* Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Birmingham unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Dear Maple T.A. users

I have just begun using Maple T.A. I have access to a number of questions, some of which involves placing points in a coordinate system. It works for most students, but for a few, including myself, it doesn't work. I am not able to place those points in the coordinate system at hand when leftclicking. What can be the reason for this issue?


This January 28th, we will be hosting another full-production, live streaming webinar featuring an all-star cast of Maplesoft employees: Andrew Rourke (Director of Teaching Solutions), Jonny Zivku (Maple T.A. Product Manager), and Daniel Skoog (Maple Product Manager). Attend the webinar to learn how educators all around the world are using Maple and Maple T.A. in their own classrooms.

Any STEM educator, administrator, or curriculum coordinator who is interested in learning how Maple and Maple T.A. can help improve student grades, reduce drop-out rates, and save money on administration costs will benefit from attending this webinar.

Click here for more information and registration.

Um den Studierenden zu helfen, deren Mathematikkenntnisse nicht auf dem von Studienanfängern erwarteten Niveau waren, hat die TU Wien einen Auffrischungskurs mit Maple T.A. entwickelt.  Die vom Team der TU Wien ausgearbeiteten Fragen zu mathematischen Themen wie der Integralrechnung, linearen Funktionen, der Vektoranalysis, der Differentialrechnung und der Trigonometrie, sind in die Maple T.A. Cloud übernommen worden.  Außerdem haben wir diesen Inhalt als Kursmodul zur Verfügung gestellt.

Laden Sie das Kursmodul der TU Wien herunter.

Bei Interesse können Sie mehr über das Projekt der TU Wien in diesem Anwenderbericht lesen: Erfolgreiches Auffrischen von Mathematikkenntnissen an der Technischen Universität Wien mit Maple T.A.

Maplesoft Product Manager, Maple T.A.

Assume the inequality xA,2+xB,2+xC,2 ≤ 110 has to be entered as "symbolic entry only".

How can I check that in Maple T.A.?

It seems that there are type conversions necessary. I attempted to use the MathML package without any luck.

  1. Tried to transform $ANSWER within the answer field using MathML[ExportPresentation]( x[A,2]+x[B,2]+x[C,2] <= 110) and compare it with evalb(($ANSWER)=($RESPONSE)) in the grading code field
  2. Tried to transform $RESPONSE in the grading code: evalb(($ANSWER)=( MathML[ImportContent] ($RESPONSE)))

What’s the format of a symbolic entry? Is it really MathML!?

What is the correct way to do it?

  1. answer: ?
  2. grading code: ?
  3. expression type: Maple syntax?!
  4. Text/Symbolic entry: Symbolic entry only

Assume you want to check that the following inequality was correctly derived:

xA2+xB2+xC2 ≤ 110

How can I check that in Maple T.A.?

If I use a Maple-Graded questions, what must be in the answer field? x[A,2]+x[B,2]+x[C,2] <= 110 !?

What is the grading code?

How do you check an indexed variable in Maple TA?

For instance the question might be: enter 6x1   (or 6xA1)

I have tried using a Maple-graded question specifying as correct answer 6*x[1]   (or 6*x[A,1]) without any success (works only for 6x).

How can I display in Maple T.A. the content of a matrix as pure text?

Thus instead of

matrix([[1, 2], [3, 4]])

1 2

3 4

Is there a solution without using Mathml and hopefully without using StringTools?

And can I assign the rectangular text display to a variable (including line feeds)?





Does Maple TA work in Windows 10?

My first attempt in Edge and Chrome was not promising.

Harry Garst

I am trying to design a question, where studenst have to find the equation of a linear function given its graph. For this to work, I have to be able to draw gridlines, which for some reason is not possible in Maple TA with the ordinary plot function. I know it should be possible using an applet; given the problems this is going to create with all the different browsers, however, this is not a viable solution. I have found another solution which is unreasonably complex but should work. The problem is that sometimes it doesn't work. When I press Refresh algorithm preview in the Question Designer I get "Broken Maple plot. Verify your plot statement" roughly every third time I refresh the preview. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


The algorithm is here:

  [plots[coordplot](cartesian, [-10 .. 10, -10 .. 10], grid = [11, 11], color = grey),
   plot($f, x = -10 .. 10, y = -10 .. 10, color = [green, blue, red], thickness = 2, tickmarks = [[1], [1]], labels = [``, ``]),
   plots[textplot]([0, 10, 'y'], align = {above, right}),
   plots[textplot]([10, 0, 'x'], align = {above, right})
  labels = [``, ``], axes = normal, view = [-10 .. 10, -10 .. 10]),

I have written a Math App in Maple to create a Math App question in Maple TA.

The app has two tables, a plot area, and text box. The first table provides the data to the students for calculating their answer (and so Editable in the component properties is unchecked). The second table is where the student enters their answers (and so Editable is checked). The text area and plot area are for providing some real time feedback and error checking to the students.

Everything works fine in Maple.

In Maple TA I have tried using both a Math App question type and a Question Designer question type with a Math App inserted. I have tested it in Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.

In all six cases when I click on one of the editable table cells to put in an answer a popup appears with the error message: "Unable to update RTable due to error=TypeError: window.parent.parent.updateRTable is not a function"

I am using Maple 10 and the latest hotfix is SP-002.

What I have worked out so far is that the Maple TA web page is designed so that the Math App sits in an iframe and each table sits in a separate iframe inside that iframe. updateRTable is a function inside the tables iframe that calls the updateRTable on the top level window and if this fails gives the error message above.

The top level window includes the file /maplenet/js/worksheet.js, which includes the function updateRTable.

How do I fix this error?


As an educator, you surely know that giving students more involved problems in an online assessment tool provides challenges, both for students and instructors. Only marking the final answer doesn’t necessarily provide an understanding of the student’s capabilities, and it penalizes students that make a small mistake in part of their solution.

This webinar will demonstrate how to create separate questions with multiple steps that can be linked or chained together. Question chaining allows instructors to mark subsequent questions based on the correct answer or the answer provided by students in previous parts.

To join us for the live presentation, please click here to register.


I have a problem with the adaptive question designer: when I use the multiple choice question type then occasionally parts of the question environment appear multiple times in the text, duplicating each time I reopen the question to edit. This happens in particular if the answers are a bit longer (4-5 lines each). So far I couldn't figure out how to fix this, does anyone have a similar problem? 

Many thanks for your help!

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