What is an Online Homework System?

  • Online tools that can grade questions asked to students as homework, track formative practice, or assess examinations
  • Most useful in classes where students are problem solving (i.e. math, chemistry) and need immediate feedback about if they have done the process correctly. Systems also commonly used to test recall
  • Typically tied to or integrated with textbooks
  • Faculty can often customize questions
  • Can be commercial, student-pay systems or non-commercial (free) systems
  • May or may not be used with Blackboard, but typically require a login

For more information about incorporating homework systems into your teaching pedagogy, see the Gwenna Moss Centre's Homework Systems documentation, or contact Heather Ross at the GMCTL.

How is privacy protected?

The University of Saskatchewan has established formal terms of use agreements with software or textbook publishers listed below addressing required privacy, legal, security, and business requirements. 

Sometimes commercial publishes share information they obtain when students use these systems. For example, this might include sharing information between systems that improve the user experience such as class list synchronization and transfer of grade or performance information to Blackboard.

Can students be given direct access to an online homework system?

  • Students can always access response systems that are approved, for example Top Hat.
  • Publishers may offer direct online access to their products and services.   Students login directly on the publisher’s website or in the app. Faculty and students who choose this mode of access must consider the following:
    • The direct access method will not offer integration with University systems and services (like Blackboard gradebook)
    • The homework system many not comply with University privacy, security, and legal policy 
    • Support for the service is provided directly by the publishers to the instructor or student
    • Students are being required to pay for additional services in order to have access to graded assignments and tests, then may have their data sold or used in ways that they prefer not to consent to.

When accessed through Blackboard, the following online homework systems have agreements to comply with University privacy, security, and legal policy:

  • Smartworks 5 (Norton/Nelson)


  • Nelson (MindTap)

mind tap

  • Cengage (Nelson)


  • Cengage WebAssign (Nelson)


  • Connect and Create (McGraw Hill)


  • Pearson (Revel)
  • JWiley (WileyPlus)


Non-Commercial: None are currently enabled.