New Chemistry Tools for LON-CAPA

Introduction to LON-CAPA

LON-CAPA (LearningOnline Network with Computer Assisted Personalized Approach) is a distributed, open-source, “Learning Content Management and Assessment System,” under development at Michigan State University. An extension of CAPA, which was originally developed for physics, it provides sophisticated graphing and numerical tools for algorithmically generating individualized problems for each student. As LON-CAPA expanded to other disciplines, tools specific to discipline questions have been added. A general demo site illustrates some physics problems and some foreign language capability.

This demonstration course illustrates a number of LON-CAPA individualized problem types applicable to chemistry. It is not comprehensive for all LON-CAPA problem types (for example Essay Response and Formula Response questions are not illustrated). Nor does it cover all of the many features of LON-CAPA which can be explored elsewhere . Those features include rendering problems in online mode, print mode, online exam mode, bubble-sheet mode, PDA, and different accessibility modes, as well as edit mode for online problem creation. As a course management tool, there are also many features for instructor-student interaction and for tracking and analyzing student performance.

As a distributed system, there are currently about 24 universities, 4 community colleges, and 20 secondary schools which are user institutions, each of which hosts one or more servers holding resources developed at that institution. These resources include an ever increasing bank of questions that become available for anyone in the system to use in a course. The pool of chemistry resources is not as extensive as that for physics, but it is a growing pool. The examples in this demo are drawn from the following sources, which can be identified from the URL of the problem.

Institution Author Problem URL contains
Florida State University
Robley Light
/res/fsu/rlight and /res/fsu/OrganicChemistryLib
Simon Fraser University
Ray Batchelor
Northern Arizona University
Jim Maxka
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Guy Ashkenazi

To access all of the resources, you must be enrolled in the General Chemistry Demo course, and have a username and password for LON-CAPA. You become "registered" as a "student" in the course, and you have a chance to explore and answer sets of questions. Each student will get a different variation of the question and will have 15 tries to get it correct (a number which can be varied by the instructor). You can log in and out as many times as you like, and you always get the same problems. Once a problem is answered correctly, you have no more tries at it. Your attempts and scores are recorded by the computer. For anyone wishing to experience the demonstration this way, send an email to Robley Light with your first and last name and institution. (If you are from Florida State, send me your garnet, mailer, or Blackboard username). To proceed, view the Getting Started with LON-CAPA instructions, then log in by going to the LON-CAPA Login page.

Alternatively, some of the problems have been "published" in such a way that they can be viewed without logging in to LON-CAPA. These are primarily the problems written by Robley Light. In this mode no record is kept of your score. For each problem there is a "New Problem Variation" button at the top of the page which allows you to explore the variations that the computer generates for that problem. To explore the demonstration in this way click on one of the links to the right::
Matching Problems
The student "selects" an answer.
String Response Problems
The student inputs a string as an answer.
Numerical Response Problems
The student enters a number as an answer.
Image Enhanced Problems
Images used in various ways in problems and resources.