latex2edx system for creating edX courses
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README.md

latex2edx

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This is version 1.5 of the open-source latex2edx compiler for generating interactive MITx / edX courses from LaTeX

latex2edx logo

This system is particularly useful for producing interactive course content where the expressive power of LaTeX is helpful, e.g. with math, physics, CS content. latex2edx provides interactivity via the introduction of a basic new macro, the "answer box" \edXabox, which defines a mechanism for student input, as well as how that input is to be graded. Also introduced are structural macros for defining course structure.

Version 1.2 provides, in addition, structured access to the adaptive hint system built into the edX platform, via a generalized hints system. This system allows hints to be provided for custom, multiple-choice, option, and numerical response problems, based on student responses.
The hint system provided by latex2edx allows authors to specify hints via pattern matching, based on matching strings, numerical value ranges, mathematical symbols and functions, and arbitrary boolean combinations of patterns.

Version 1.3 adds documentation, and the edXvideo and edXdiscussion macros.

See project homepage:

https://people.csail.mit.edu/ichuang/edx/latex2edx

and detailed documentation:

http://mitocw.github.io/latex2edx/html/index.html

Version 1.4 adds the edXlti macro, provides better edXshowhide operation, adds the coderesponse answer box type, adds wrapclass functionality for abox.

Version 1.5 adds unit tests for courses. With the --output-course-unit-tests option, an output filename can be specified, where answer box unit tests are written in YAML format. This "course unit test" set can then be used with the edxcut package, to execute unit tests on a running edx course instance.

Requirements

  • python 2.7
  • python-lxml
  • plastex
  • beautifulsoup
  • latex2dnd
  • pyyaml

Installation

Install using this command:

pip install -e git+https://github.com/mitocw/latex2edx.git#egg=latex2edx

Note that xmllint and lxml are required; for ubuntu, this may work:

apt-get install libxml2-utils python-lxml

PlasTeX (http://plastex.sourceforge.net/) is also required, but should be installed automatically by the pip install.

Usage

latex2edx -h                                                                                                                                       15:30:51
Usage: latex2edx [options] filename.tex

Options:
  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --verbose         verbose error messages
  -o OUTPUT_FN, --output-xbundle=OUTPUT_FN
                        Filename for output xbundle file
  -d OUTPUT_DIR, --output-directory=OUTPUT_DIR
                        Directory name for output course XML files
  -c CONFIG_FILE, --config-file=CONFIG_FILE
                        configuration file to load
  -m, --merge-chapters  merge chapters into existing course directory
  -P, --update-policy-file
                        update policy.json from settings in latex file
  --suppress-policy-settings
                        suppress policy settings from XML files
  --suppress-verticals  do not automatically add extra verticals needed for
                        Studio compatibility
  -S, --section-only    export only edXsections (sequentials) -- no course or
                        chapters
  -x, --xml-only        export only xbundle xml file -- no separate course
                        content
  --units-only          export only units, including problem, html -- no
                        course, chapter, section
  --popups              enable equation and figure popup windows on clicking
                        their references
  --allow-directories   allow subdirectory structure in the xml output
  --output-course-unit-tests=OUTPUT_CUTSET
                        filename in which to output answer box unit test set
                        (YAML format) for the course, made for testing with
                        edxcut

Example

See live demo course: https://edge.edx.org/courses/MITx/MIT.latex2edx/2014_Spring/about

The source code for the demo course is here: https://github.com/mitocw/content-mit-latex2edx-demo

Here is an annotated input tex file which generates the source for an edX course:

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
\documentclass[12pt]{article}

\usepackage{edXpsl} % edX "problem specification language"

\begin{document}

% edXcourse: {course_number}{course display_name}[optional arguments like semester]
\begin{edXcourse}{MIT.latex2edx}{latex2edx demo course}[semester="2014 Spring"]

% edXchapter: {chapter display_name}[optional arguments like url_name]
\begin{edXchapter}{Basic examples}

% edXsection: {section display_name}[optional arguments like url_name]
% this turns into a <sequential> in the XML
\begin{edXsection}{Basic example problems}

% edXvertical: {vertical display_name}[optional arguments like url_name]
\begin{edXvertical}

% edXproblem: {problem display_name}{attributes: url_name, weight, attempts}
\begin{edXproblem}{Numerical response}{attempts=10}

What is the numerical value of $\pi$?

% \edXabox: answer box, specifying question type and expected response
\edXabox{expect="3.14159" type="numerical" tolerance='0.01' }

\end{edXproblem}
\end{edXvertical}
\end{edXsection}
\end{edXchapter}
\end{edXcourse}
\end{document}

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

History

  • v1.0: python package; unit tests; xbundle and modular code
  • v1.1.0: Support for jsinput, custom mathjax filtering, formularesponse
  • .1: Fix optargs bug with plastex
  • .2: Allow spaces in semester; give example in README
  • .3: Fix bug in eqnarray table widths
  • .4: Fix showhide to work under firefox
  • .5: Allow multiple correct answers in multichoice
  • .6: Add \edXgitlink for link to specific line in source file
  • .7: Add \edXaskta for "Ask TA!" buttons
  • .8: bugfix for edxxml
  • .9: Allow \edXtext to have attributes option, eg \begin{edXtext}{My Name}[url_name=text_url_name]
  • .10: check imported python scripts for syntax errors
  • v1.2.0: General hint system for problems
  • .1: All python scripts syntax checked
  • .2: New option -P for generating policy.json from tex; handles, e.g. start, end, due, graded
  • v1.3.0: Add documentation, abox unit tests, edXvideo, edXdiscussion
  • .1: Add regexp mapping to hints; add \edXdndtex command; allow texbox for customresponse
  • .2: Fix edXmath environment to use verbatim
  • .3: Ensure edXinclude doesn't leave contents within a p; nicer error messages for include, with linenum
  • .4: Include linenum, filename in more error msgs; add --section-only, --xml-only, --units-only output fmts
  • v1.4.0: Enable cross-referencing with \ref and \label; add --popups output fmt for eqns and figs; add ToC generation with \tocref and \toclabel
  • .1: allow user-specified extra xml filters ; allow variables in math expressions
  • v1.5.0: provide course unit tests of answer boxes; the course unit test YAML file can be used with the edxcut package
  • to perform unit tests of running courses on an edx platform instance
  • v1.5.1: Add multicode for asynchronously graded problems