Joan Lindsay Orr

Homework Management

Starting in the mid-90's I became interested in the educational potential the the web, and over the next 10 years I developed a number of online educational software products both in academia and in a startup. Educational software which I designed and created has been in continual use by students (and continually active in the marketplace) since 1998.

Wiley WebTests for Calculus CD cover

In 1996 at the University of Nebraska I created a platform to deliver online basic skills exams in calculus. In 1998 the system I developed was published by John Wiley & Sons as The Wiley Webtests in Calculus" (and also in 1999 as The Wiley Webtests in Precalculus").

I then built on this system to extend it from a math-centered testing system to a general assessment tool which handled different question types and assessment types. In 2000 this was published by John Wiley & Sons as eGrade (and is still in use by some today!) EGrade was one of the first - possibly the first - online homework management systems, and it pioneered the idea of instant on-line grading of homework questions linked to a textbook.

Prentice-Hall Grade Assist landing pageopen_in_new

In 2001 I joined the educational software company Brownstone Learning (now part of Blackboard), and there I continued to develop this product as a branded assessment solution for 4 of the top college textbook publishers: John Wiley, Prentice Hall, McGraw-Hill, and WH Freeman. (The branded products were respectively eGrade, PH GradeAssist, MH Homework Manager). These branded products were integrated with content from hundreds of college textbooks, primarily in SMET disciplines, and also Business/Finance, and Social Sciences. At its peak my software was serving about 400,000 students in 2,000 classes world-wide, and was deeply integrated in Blackboard, CourseCompass, and publisher and university websites. In 2003, when Brownstone partnered with the scientific computing company Maplesoft, I led development of Maplesoft's educational product MapleTA.

McGraw-Hill Homework Manager student registration pageopen_in_new

Developing these assessment products, I created products/solutions for educational problems, including: