[LON-CAPA-admin] Happy New Year from LON-CAPA

Gerd Kortemeyer korte at lite.msu.edu
Mon Jan 1 21:40:39 EST 2007

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to provide a quick look back  
to what happened in 2006:

* Member Institutions: In 2006, we went from 80 institutions to 106,  
http://www.lon-capa.org/institutions.html - our biggest growth has  
been in the number of participating high schools

* Shared resources: we reached a quarter of a million shared  
resources in 2006, http://www.lon-capa.org/sharedpool.html - that  
makes us the largest repository of original online educational materials

* The original NSF grant ended at the end of August of 2006. We have  
two follow-up organizations to guarantee the sustainability of our  

   - eduCog.com, a commercial spin-off providing LON-CAPA services  
and hosting, http://www.educog.com/ - eduCog purchased its second  
server in 2006

   - the not-for-profit LON-CAPA Academic Consortium, which currently  
has three member organizations: the University of Illinois at Urbana- 
Champaign, Simon Fraser University (in the process of formalizing the  
agreements), and Michigan State University. Between these three  
institutions, we have commitments in the amount of $2.15M lined up  
over the coming five years.

* New Versions:

   - Version 2.1 came out at the beginning of the year: This version  
offered improved support for the import of courses from BlackBoard 
(tm) and a direct link to the National Science Foundation National  
Science Digital Library (nsdl.org). Messaging functions had been  
enhanced, both within courses and domain-wide. Scheduling  
functionality now included "slots" of availability. The system made  
it easier to switch between servers in mid-session and correctly  
handles time zone differences.

   - Version 2.2 came out in October: The system now supports import  
from WebCT 4 Vista(tm). When selecting course materials, instructors  
can jump from Search to Browse. Printing dialogues are improved,  
including better multi-column formatting options. The system now  
supports batch generation of courses. Online problems can be switched  
into "practice" mode, so they can be solved in different  
randomizations over and over without being graded. Files in portfolio  
space can now be made public or pass-phrase protected and can be  
publicly advertised. Course announcements are available as RSS feeds,  
and calendar entries in iCal format.

   - The first release candidate for 2.3 came out at the end of  
December: Users can now delete and rename internal mail folders.  
Additional access control features for portfolio files are available.  
Users can reset their own password if it is maintained within LON- 
CAPA (rather than, for example, Kerberos). Storage quota can be set  
on different levels. "\OR" (multiple correct answers in different  
formats for numericalresponse and formularesponse questions) is  

* The LON-CAPA accessibility and usability study is almost complete,  
see http://www.lon-capa.org/usability.html

As a quick outlook, in 2007 we will be working on

- cluster scalability: growth means we might need to support  
additional domain layers and establish sub-clusters with modified  
trust relationships
- accessibility and usability: we will work on implementing  
recommendations from the accessibility and usability project
- podcasting: hopefully, we will be able to enhance the current RSS  
features to allow for podcasting of lecture videos, etc
- collaborative features: we will continue to work on collaborative  
features and different concepts of group work
- portfolio features: further enhancements of the portfolio  
- symbolic algebra: we will continue work on the integration of a  
symbolic algebra system, see http://www.lon-capa.org/cas.html

Our next user conference will take place May 17th-19th, 2007 at the  
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We hope to welcome all of  
you there.

Again, Happy New Year, and the best wishes from the LON-CAPA group!

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