LON-CAPA provides all of the functionality that you have come to expect from a course management system, building on our experience from running 7,700 courses for 965,000 students at 160 institutions.
LON-CAPA has an updated architecture, building on current technologies and best practices, but it does not start from scratch. The team has experience building systems that are machine room ready and run in a variety of environments.
LON-CAPA needs to run on an enterprise-level as a mission critical system. We understand the amount of disruption that downtimes and bugs are causing within the teaching mission of an institution; we are educators ourselves.
Because we have 20 years of experience, we are not going to produce something traditional.
Anything but traditional
We are not:
- A link collection: LON-CAPA is not simply a collection of links to external materials that are maintained and managed by other people. Content in LON-CAPA resides in a repository, where it is managed and persistently maintained. We provide a safe and sustainable home for granular, flexible content.
- Some “political” or ideological consortium: While we have a strong ideology about making learning content available, we are about building a system that actually works, not about soap boxes.
- A black market for intellectual property: Content creators put licenses on content for a reason. While we encourage open licenses, we respect the choices of the authors and publishers. It’s a market, but not a black one. We work with content creators, not against them.
- Another educational digital library: Digital libraries can have their benefits, but only too often they are closed, limited, ill-maintained, and unsustainable. Besides, what’s the point if a simple search on the open web yields better and more useful results than several searches within the confines of most any educational digital library? Cataloging data needs to be more than static “index cards,” and today it can be so much more.
- Posted static course materials: It is frustrating to see “open courses” around the web which are nothing more than a series of static links to static documents. What year is this?
- A graveyard for digitized dinosaurs: We are maintaining granular, flexible, re-usable content, which can be seamlessly woven into various educational environments.
… but it’s naïve to believe that it is a blessing. Some people seem to believe that a lack of experience is the best qualification to truly disrupt a market segment: no worries, no “can’t do,” no baggage, …
We do not believe that. We have 20 years of experience.
Working model system
LON-CAPA-NG is built on experience with LON-CAPA, which started in 1992 at Michigan State University, and has continuously been growing since. We have learned our lessons over the years, working with 160 partner institutions and building the largest coherent educational content repository on the planet. We’ve had successes and failures, built great stuff and not-so-great stuff. We’ve done research on the effectiveness of online learning components. We know what works and what doesn’t. We are moving forward based on a solid foundation of knowledge.