WebAssign is the company and product name of an online instructional application for faculty and students.
WebAssign is one service among several online homework system providers. This particular service was developed, launched and is hosted at North Carolina State University. Users create a standard personalized online account with a username and password which must be used to access assignments. The service provided cover the topics of mathematics, chemistry, statistics, physics, biology, and astronomy, as well as offering such services as secure online testing, limited student tutoring (for an extra fee), customizable questions and the option to craft entirely new questions. As the virtual homework business is a very young market, available services and subjects are likely to change and expand in the future.
WebAssign's core function is to load end-of-chapter questions from various textbooks into its archives, from which instructors may pick and choose in order to assemble a virtual assignment. Student must pay for access to their homework at a rate that varies based on the text they are accessing and are presented with multiple lengths of time for which they can activate their subscription, but are asked to pay more for longer subscriptions. The associated cost ranges widely, usually requiring students to pay between $15 and $60 per semester or quarter.
WebAssign was developed in 1997 by a small group of academics in the Department of Physics at North Carolina State University. The product was piloted in several large classes at NCSU.
WebAssign became commercially available as a hosted subscription service in January 1998 under the leadership of Dr. John Risley, a physics education specialist and professor in the Department of Physics at North Carolina State University. Within a year, WebAssign became the standard in online homework and grading and has become one of NC State's fastest growing spin-offs. Feedback from instructors and students in physics, math, statistics, and chemistry is used in expanding and refining the product.
In 1998, WebAssign incorporated under the name Advanced Instructional Systems with Dr. Risley as CEO. In 2003, the company officially spun off from NCSU and moved to NCSU’s Centennial Campus.
In 2012, WebAssign reincorporated as an employee-owned benefit corporation, a hybrid between a traditional stock corporation (being for profit) and a non-profit that has a social mission. WebAssign’s stated benefit is education, with all company strategy and decisions dedicated to promoting, supporting, and improving education and learning.
WebAssign was named a finalist in the “Software Company” category by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA); the NCTA 21 Awards is North Carolina’s statewide technology awards program, recognizing companies that have characterized excellence, innovation, and leadership in 21 categories.
WebAssign has partnerships with all major textbook publishers. The company also partners with colleges and universities, such as Texas A&M University and Christopher Newport University.
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