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Nov. 5, 2004

MSU-developed LON-CAPA system wins Sloan award, accepted into German software exchange

Contact: Gerd Kortemeyer, Lyman Briggs School, (517) 432-5468; or Russ White, University Relations, (517) 432-0923,


EAST LANSING, Mich. � A learning management system developed by Michigan State University is being recognized as one of the most outstanding effective practices in online teaching and learning.

The system, LON-CAPA, will be recognized Nov. 12 in Orlando by the Sloan Foundation as being effective, innovative and replicable.

LON-CAPA was also introduced into the CampusSource software exchange (, which is funded by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and helps educational institutions to create the infrastructure necessary for the use of new media in teaching.

�CampusSource acts as both a reviewing and a brokering agent for open-source freeware developed at universities,� said Gerd Kortemeyer of MSU�s LON-CAPA team. �The CampusSource reviewers said the MSU-developed system offers a large spectrum of functionality and therefore appears to be a valid standalone LMS solution."

LON-CAPA is the first American system to be accepted into the exchange.

LON-CAPA�s history goes back to the year 1992, when the CAPA (Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach) system was first used at MSU as a means to administer online homework in a physics course. Today, LON-CAPA is used at 21 schools, two community colleges, and 21 colleges and universities with more than 23,000 users each semester. The majority of the users are located in the United States and Canada, but installations also exist in Brazil and Israel.

At MSU, LON-CAPA serves more than 12,000 students with more than 16,000 course enrollments in over 400 course sections each semester. Within just the first 16 days of this semester, 100,000 MSU student logins were registered.

As a networked system, LON-CAPA (The LearningOnline Network with CAPA) enables the seamless exchange and reuse of learning objects beyond institutional boundaries. The system�s content library presently contains more than 60,000 learning objects, of which approximately 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 ComputerWorld.

At present, the continuing development of the system is funded by the American National Science Foundation and MSU.

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