[LON-CAPA-admin] LON-CAPA version

Stuart Raeburn raeburn at msu.edu
Wed Jul 30 13:14:40 EDT 2008

New Testing Version

This is a testing release for upcoming version 2.7. It is anticipated that
version will be installed on production servers at MSU a week or so
from now.

Although this testing release is considered ready for installation in  
a production environment, you may wish to consider delaying installation
in such a setting for a week or two, as all the LON-CAPA developers
from the MSU group will be away from Michigan for the next week (some longer)
and will have very limited access to e-mail etc.

To use this release you need to have version 1-12 of
LONCAPA-prerequisites installed. The repositories for the various supported
Linux distributions on http://install.loncapa.org/ have been updated with
the new package, and any associated new dependencies unavailable from core
repositories for each particular distro.

Although support for LON-CAPA 2.7 on Fedora 9 is planned, for now is not supported because of a LaTeX issue with that particular

One of the changes affects the scantronformat.tab. After you have installed
this new version on the primary library server in your domain, log-in,
select the Domain Coordinator role, and go to "Domain Configuration".
Check the box for "Scantron format file", click "Go", and if you currently
use a customized scantronformat.tab file it will be copied (behind the scenes)
  from its current location to a new location where it will be  
available for selection whenever scantron grading is used in a course  
in your domain.

Notable Changes from 2.6.3:

Authoring resources
- Choice of problem templates shown for new problems in Construction
Space are organized by type/function.
- Math renderer and language can be set when displaying problems in
Construction space.
- Maxima libraries are available for mathresponse and forumlaresponse
problems which use the Maxima CAS.
- Import of questions from a testbank file now supports import from
files in RTF and HTML format (including embedded images) as well as
plain text.
- Users uploading HTML files containing embedded objects (images etc.)
to Construction Space will be prompted to upload referenced files.
- New units are available (c, cc, e, hbar, mph, rpm, pc).
- An improved example of a mathresponse problem is provided.
- New accessor functions provide access to submission, current part,
and open date, due date and answer date in a format suitable for
- The JME Molecular Editor is an updated version.
- The pop-up Dragmath editor is available for composing math expressions
and pasting them as LaTeX into text blocks.
- Publication of problems lacking response items is prohibited.

Course Management
- Recent role changes in a course are displayed on the What's New page.
- The complete history of role changes in a course is available to a
Course Coordinator.
- A role switcher in a course's inline menu allows users with multiple
roles in the course to choose a different role; Course Coordinators
can choose any role currently assigned in the course.
- Courses can be configured to allow students to self-enroll.
- Modify Resource Parameters - Overview Mode can be used to shift all
start and end date parameters in a course.
- Individual courses can be excluded from display in the course catalog.
- A timezone selector is available when choosing a timezone to be used
for a course.
- The timezone is displayed when setting access dates, enrollment dates etc.

- Scantron format choices available for scantron grading are from the
course's domain, instead of the domain of the server performing the
- Comparisons can be generated of raw scantron data and submission
records for previously graded scantron exams.
- Locking prevents logout while scantron grading is in progress,
unless overridden by the user.
- The grading interface now provides a free form data entry field for correct
answers to clicker questions.

Student interface
- Users in domains with institutional authentication (Single Sign On,
Kerberos or local authentication e.g., LDAP) can be authenticated if
they do not have a LON-CAPA account and given the opportunity to
create an account.
- A pop-up Dragmath WYSIWYG editor is available for composing math
expressions and exporting in Maxima format.

Domain Coordination/Domain Settings
- Domain Coordinators can select an ad hoc co-author role for any
author in the domain, unless the author chooses to opt out.
- A hierarchy of categories and sub-categories for use in categorizing
courses can be defined for a domain.
- The course catalog can display courses cataloged by institutional
code, and also by categories defined for the domain.
- When cloning a course, date parameters can be omitted, preserved of
shifted by a specified number of days.
- Default authentication type, argument and language in a domain are
configurable by a Domain Coordinator via the  "Domain Configuration"
- Domains can permit self-creation of LON-CAPA accounts using a valid
e-mail address as the username.
- The scantronformat.tab file which describe the format(s) of scantron
data used in a domain can be uploaded by a Domain Coordinator using
the "Domain Configuration" interface.

- Help files have been added for Maxima CAS, Formula Editor, and Vector Input.
- Description of new accessor functions added to the functions table.
- More help files translated into German.
- A new help icon is used.

- utf-8 entity conversion to LaTeX has been optimized

- New translations and improvements for German interface
- All languages now use UTF-8 encoding.

To install this update:

1) You will need to be running Fedora Core 6, 7, or 8, RHEL (AS|ES) 4 or 5,
     SUSE 10.1 10.2 or 10.3, SLES 9 or 10, CentOS 5, Scientific Linux 5
       (Fedora Core 5 should continue to work but is deprecated.)
     Support for Fedora 9 is expected to be available soon.

2) Update to the latest LONCAPA-prerequisites (1-12).

(a) Fedora
yum update

(b) RedHat Enterprise 4

up2date -u LONCAPA-prerequisites

Note: LONCAPA-prerequisites for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 includes
a dependency on perl-libxml-enno-1.03.  If you already have perl-libxml-enno
iinstalled on your system it will be version 1.02.  If the update to
LONCAPA-prerequsites 1-12 fails to update perl-libxml-enno to 1.03,
you should update that package directly:

up2date -u perl-libxml-enno

(c) Red Hat 5/Centos 5/Scientific Linux 5

yum update


Use yast-> Installation Source to refresh the LON-CAPA repository
Use yast->Software Management->Search to update LONCAPA-prerequisites (to
version  1-12).

On all distributions, it is recommended that you check that you have the
correct versions of LONCAPA-prequisites installed before proceeding.

rpm -q LONCAPA-prequisites

should report:perl-libxml-enno

(where X is a distro identifier e.g., fc7.lc)

If you are using Red Hat 4, also check that you have
perl-libxml-enno version 1.03

rpm -q perl-libxml-enno

3) Download the new LON-CAPA tarball from
wget http://install.lon-capa.org/versions/loncapa-

and untar it

tar xzvf loncapa-

4) stop the LON-CAPA system services

/etc/rc.d/init.d/loncontrol stop

5) stop the webserver:

Fedora/RHEL/Centos/Scientific Linux
/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd stop

/etc/init.d/apache stop

SUSE 10.1/SLES 10:
/etc/init.d/apache2 stop

6) Run the UPDATE script as root
cd loncapa-

7) restart the LON-CAPA system services
/etc/rc.d/init.d/loncontrol start

8) restart the webserver:

Fedora/RHEL/Centos/Scientific Linux
/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd start

/etc/init.d/apache start

SUSE 10.1,2/SLES 10:
/etc/init.d/apache2 start

1) Many questions are answered at http://help.lon-capa.org
2) Defects reports, and enhancements requests can be entered at
3) Mailing lists can be joined and left at http://mail.lon-capa.org

Stuart Raeburn

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