[LON-CAPA-users] The Power of CAPA

Gerd Kortemeyer lon-capa-users@mail.lon-capa.org
Thu, 1 Sep 2005 07:05:24 -0400

Hi Mark,

On Aug 31, 2005, at 9:42 PM, lucasm@ohiou.edu wrote:
> I know this is not entirely uncommon, and Michigan people probably  
> have these tales to tell by the bundleful, but it's a fun reminder  
> how the system can spread through many different means.

Thanks for sharing this story. Unfortunately, "different means" boils  
down almost only to scenarios like you describe - LON-CAPA spreads by  
word-of-mouth and coincidence.

We do not have an advertising budget. Lacking that:

* we give talks, which, given the number of talks we did (http:// 
www.lon-capa.org/presentations.html), does very little. People are  
always vastly interested at the conference, come up, have all kinds  
of questions, but then there is hardly ever a follow-up (even after I  
have now taken to sending them an email)

* the (very expensive!) booth at the AAPT conference got one new  
hosted user, whom Ray graciously took under his wings

* we write the occasional paper or two (http://www.lon-capa.org/ 
publications.html) - but who reads those? We recently had a The  
Physics Teacher paper about exam retakes accepted, which some people  
might read after it gets printed ...

* our new consortium is painfully making its way through MSU legal  
review, but did clear most of the stages - maybe we have something  
there, not sure. We lack the big names and ivy-league BS-power, but  
maybe if there are enough of us in an organized way, we might get  
something like Chronicle coverage.

It also takes a while to appreciate the value of our system and it  
can seem overwhelming at first.

On the other hand, slow-but-steady does work: we have a more  
supportive user community than many bigger projects, and at least at  
MSU, enjoy better institutional support every year.

- Gerd.