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June 9, 2003


Contact: Gerd Kortemeyer, LON-CAPA, Project, (517) 282-6446; or Russ White, University Relations, (517) 432-0923,


EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University's College of Natural Science has received the coveted 21st-Century Achievement Award from the Computerworld Honors Program for visionary use of information technology in the category of Education & Academia.

The college received the award for its LearningOnline Network with a Computer Assisted Personalized Approach (LON-CAPA) project. LON-CAPA is an integrated system for online learning and assessment, which provides for new and existing instructional content to be used flexibly, a course management system and individualized homework and automatic grading system. For more details, go to

"I am proud to be part of a hard-working dedicated group of faculty, staff and student workers, who over the past 11 years have expended much energy, sweat, intellectual effort and - yes - sometimes literally tears over this project," said Gerd Kortemeyer, director of MSU's LON-CAPA project. "MSU is far ahead of the pack in the area of instructional technology; this award is external recognition of MSU's leadership role in instructional technology."

Merritt Lutz, managing director of Morgan Stanley, nominated the College of Natural Science in recognition of its contributions to the global information technology revolution and its positive impact on society.

This year's awards, in 10 categories, were presented June 2 by Patrick J. McGovern, founder and chairman of International Data Group, and Maryfran Johnson, editor-in chief of Computerworld, at a gala event at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

"We have faculty and staff who deeply care about teaching, and are putting instructional technology to creative and innovate use, all for the better of the learner," said David Gift, vice provost for libraries, computing and technology at MSU. "This award brings well-deserved international recognition to a group that has produced an exceptional and far-reaching online learning product."

A celebratory luncheon will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 13, at the University Club.

This award comes at a crucial point in time for the project. Today's enterprise level learning content and course management systems all had their origins in the academic realm, but at some point spun off into commercial ventures. MSU could go down that road, but believes that free open-source systems can be a viable alternative to their proprietary counterparts, even on the enterprise level, added Kortemeyer.

Honorees were celebrated for their significant achievements in the use of information technology across the following 10 categories: Business and Related Services; Education and Academia; Environment, Energy and Agriculture; Finance, Insurance and Real Estate; Government and Non-Profit Organizations; Manufacturing; Media, Arts and Entertainment; Medicine; Science; and Transportation.

"Recipients of the Computerworld Honors 21st-Century Achievement Awards represent those organizations whose use of information technology has been especially noteworthy for the originality of its conception, the breadth of its vision, and the significance of its benefit to society," said Daniel Morrow, executive director of the Computerworld Honors Program.

This year's collection includes innovative applications of technology from 36 states and 33 countries. Additional information about the 2003 collection is available at