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Aplia Assignments

If you are not taking an economics course, please disregard this part of the configuration test, as it is a test to see if you can run economics experiments. If you are taking an economics course, please continue to read.

Please note: If you can't launch an experiment that is scheduled to begin within the next 10 minutes, we strongly recommend that you contact your instructor immediately. You should inform him or her that you will not be able to participate in the experiment. If you are in a computer lab or are in close proximity to another student from your course, you may be able to observe the experiment. Otherwise, you can proceed to troubleshoot the problem as described below.

When you tried to run the configuration test, you may have received a warning message stating that Port 2222 was blocked. Port 2222 is the gateway your computer uses to access game programs on the Internet. Our experiments are types of games, so if Port 2222 is blocked, you won't be able to run them. To unblock this port, you'll need to modify the firewall settings on your network or individual computer.

You may want to refer to your instructor to verify that your class will be participating in experiments. If you will not be participating in experiments, you will not need to pass the connection test or change your firewall settings for Port 2222. Failing the connection test will not affect your ability to access and submit answers to your Aplia assignments.

Networked Computer:

If you are using a networked computer (e.g., a computer located in a lab or library), please let us know the location of your computer and administrator contact, and we will provide the administrator with the necessary information to allow Aplia unrestricted access to this network. Please refer to the For IT Professionals section of our Support information page, which is located on our corporate website at

Individual Computer:

If you are using a computer that is not on a network, a security setting on your computer's local firewall is blocking access to this port. Since firewall configurations can be highly customized, you will need to refer to your firewall user manual and/or technical support to properly modify the settings or temporarily disable the firewall. Please note that you will have to assume all risks associated with disabling the firewall; Aplia assumes no responsibility for any unintended consequences that could result.

If you need additional information to resolve this issue, please contact us via e-mail and we will be happy to assist you further.

Aplia Inc. is an educational technology company founded in 2000 by Stanford University professor Paul Romer that offers online homework products geared toward college-level courses. In March 2007 Cengage Learning (formerly Thomson Learning) acquired Aplia Inc. Aplia was based in Belmont, California until March 2014, when it relocated to Cengage Learning's new Mission Bay, San Francisco office.


In 1998, Romer created an online experiment system for use in his economics courses at Stanford University so his students would come to class better prepared and become more engaged with the course material. After other professors expressed interest in his approach, Romer decided to turn this system into the basis for a new company. He raised $10 million in venture capital to start Aplia, an online learning system. Since 2000, it has been used by over 4,300 professors, 1,200,000 students, at 1,300 colleges and universities worldwide.[1]


Aplia’s basic product includes online homework assignments that professors can assign to students in accounting, business communication, business law, developmental reading, economics, finance, marketing, philosophy, statistics, and taxation. While the basic premise behind each course is the same, course materials vary; in many cases, Aplia problem sets are designed to complement specific textbook from a variety of publishers.[2]

Aplia support representatives set up and edit courses per the professor's schedule. Assignment types include problem sets, news analyses, tutorials, and (for economics) interactive market experiments.[citation needed]

Aplia is often integrated with textbooks from different publishers. Aplia's questions are written by content experts in their respective fields and the problem sets match the tone, difficulty level, style, of the textbook. Aplia works with publishers, authors, and contributors, and many users believe the quality is decent.[3][4]

In terms of pricing, many of Aplia's products have a low-cost digital textbook as well as Aplia. In the Friday, May 9 issue of The Washington Post, author Steven Pearlstein writes: "Aplia also paves the way for the textbook industry to ditch a lousy business model in which it has to charge ridiculously high prices for new books because it cannot collect anything from the students who buy them on the used-book market. Instead, publishers could move to a more sustainable model in which the textbook is priced close to the cost of printing and shipping (say, $20), while all students are charged a reasonable fee (say, $60) for what really matters, which is the content of the textbook, the labs and homework exercises."[4]

Research has also shown Aplia to be less effective in the classroom for students who require an indepth relationship with the teacher. Studies are surfacing to find online learning to be another challenge that students must overcome in order to learn a subject they might be unfamiliar with. Some anecdotal evidence has been found that schools administration have found value in the micromanagement software features that Aplia offers, especially with keeping students on track with their assignments and increasing engagement and participation in the classroom.[5][6]

Aplia features[edit]

Chapter assignments and problem sets[edit]

Chapter assignments (or problem sets)--groups of questions based on each chapter of a textbook—are automatically graded and provide students with explanations for every question. All problems are randomized and written by a team of subject matter experts. Most assignments use "Grade It Now" technology. Students are given three attempts on each problem; if they don't like their score after their first attempt, they may try a second time; if they don’t like their score after two, they may try a third; they don't have to use all three attempts. Scores are averaged.

News analyses[edit]

In economics and finance, Aplia regularly features economics and finance articles from new sources. Each story includes a summary and follow-up questions.


For economics, Aplia offers real-time, online market experiments to help students understand what the real market environment is like. Each experiment is supported by assignments that prepare students for this and help them analyze their results. These experiments have had proven success in the classroom as well—according to research, Aplia's methods provide college students with means to truly learn the material.[7]


All of Aplia's courses use multimedia to pique students' interest. Developmental Reading, for instance, uses audio so students can hear how vocabulary words are pronounced; Logic uses interactive Venn diagrams, truth tables, and natural deduction proofs so students keep learning the material hands-on.[8][9]

Assessment and grading[edit]

Aplia keeps instructors informed about student participation, progress, and real-time graphical reports. Instructors can download, save, manipulate, print, import, and export student grades. Gradebook Analytics allow instructors to monitor and address performance on a student-by-student and topic-by-topic basis.

Course management system[edit]

Instructors can post announcements, upload course materials, host student discussions, e-mail students, and manage their gradebook with Aplia’s course management system. Aplia works independently or in conjunction with other course management systems.

Aplia criticism[edit]

Additional course fees and registration fees[edit]

Students are charged (per course) additional registration fees on top of their home institutions tuition or per unit fees. This may amount to more than the parent institution's total cost for the entire course when including materials fees. This has been regarded by some to be a "troubling lack of transparency regarding the total net costs associated with getting a college degree."[10]

Outsourcing jobs[edit]

In 2015 several employees were asked to gather in the main conference room where a tactic of "psychological divide and conquer" separated the employees into the first of many days and weeks of learning that not only was their job being sent overseas that they would be shadowed by their replacement whom they would train.

One employee told Computer World "The employees were warned that speaking to the news media meant loss of severance" Once the story broke the company ignored media contacts and plowed ahead on a double down strategy of cutting costs and pressuring employees vs focusing on a total quality management strategy that was recommended by members of the Board and its Founder.[11]


External links[edit]