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Digital Learning Unit

Our Digital Learning unit specialises in researching, developing and implementing digital materials for Digital learning and assessment in mathematics, statistics and numeracy.

About the Digital Learning unit

We support the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics, the University and the wider mathematical community. We use technology to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics.

We support the transition from A Level to University through:

  • diagnostic tests
  • pre-entry material
  • work with the University’s mathematics support service, Maths-Aid


Awarded AdvanceHE Collaboration Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020.

Our Digital Learning team.


A large part of the unit’s work is the development of the digital assessment system, Numbas. Numbas is used worldwide in hundreds of institutions.

Numbas is an open-source, web-based system developed by the digital learning unit. It helps users to build online mathematics assessments.

Numbas is used throughout the mathematics, statistics and physics degree programmes at Newcastle, as well as in other subjects.

Applications of Numbas include:

  • diagnostic tests
  • formative exercises available for self-service access
  • in-course assessment
  • assessment of lab exercises
  • high-stakes summative exams

A publicly accessible editor and database of content released under permissive licences is available at

We have released a lot of open-access material under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Numbas is used in hundreds of institutions around the world and has been translated into over a dozen languages.


Chirun is a system for producing flexible and accessible course notes in a variety of formats from a single source. It was developed by the Digital Learning unit.

Chirun is designed to work primarily with notes in the mathematical sciences and supports both LaTeX and Markdown formatted source files.

E-Assessment in Mathematical Sciences Conference (EAMS)

The Digital Learning unit hosts an annual international conference, e-assessment in Mathematical Sciences.

The conference aims to bring together researchers and practitioners with an interest in digital assessment for mathematics and the sciences. The conference includes presentations by speakers from around the world and workshops to try out the latest mathematical digital assessment systems.