Press Release - East Lansing / Hagen Oct. 27th, 2004
LON-CAPA - Web-Based Learning Content and Course Management System out of Michigan Newly Accepted into the CampusSource Exchange
The CampusSource initiative, funded by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, helps educational institutions to create the infrastructure necessary for the use of new media in teaching. It acts as a brokering agent of open-source freeware developed at universities. The software offered through the "CampusSource Exchange" has to be licensed under a General Public License (GPL) and comply with a defined quality standard in order to be accepted.
The web-based "LON-CAPA" learning content and course management system fulfills these requirements. "LON-CAPA" is also the first American platform in the Exchange. LON-CAPA`s history goes back to the year 1992, when the CAPA (Computer-Assisted Personalized Ap-proach) system was first used at Michigan State University in East Lansing as a means to administer online homework in a physics course. By now, LON-CAPA is used at 21 schools, two community colleges, and 21 colleges and universities with an estimated number of more than 23,000 users. The majority of the users are located in the United States and Canada, however, installations in Brazil and Israel exist. The system is internationalized and a German user interface is available.
As a networked system, LON-CAPA (The LearningOnline Network with CAPA) enables the seamless exchange and reuse of learning objects beyond institutional boundaries. The con-tent library of the system presently contains over 60,000 learning objects, of which approxi-mately 21,000 are content pages and approximately 19,000 are homework exercises. The emphasis of the content collection is on the natural sciences and mathematics. In addition, LON-CAPA offers all functions of a course management system, so that learning objects can be readily deployed in courses. LON-CAPA's concept was recognized with the 2003 "21st Century Achievement Award" in the Education and Academia category by the American trade journal ComputerWorld. At present, the continuing development of the system is funded to about equal parts by the American National Science Foundation and Michigan State University.
The CampusSource reviewers state about the Michigan-developed system that "it offers a large spectrum of functionality and therefore appears to be a valid standalone LMS solution." The initiators of CampusSource welcome the successful cross-atlantic cooperation, and view the exchange of software systems like LON-CAPA as a considerable efficiency improvement for the deployment of new media. As a whole, CampusSource strives to be a forum around the topic of Learning Management Systems (LMSs), and invites any interested parties with own software development projects to get into contact.
Dipl.-Ing. Manfred Postel
Telephone: +49 (0)2331 987 4258
bei der FernUniversität in Hagen