LON-CAPA is a full-featured course management, learning content management, and assessment system.
It is open-source (GNU General Public License) freeware, with no licensing costs associated.
Both aspects are important for the success of this project:
the open-source nature of the system allows researchers to modify and adapt the system in order to
address research needs,
and the freeware character allows easier dissemination of results, in particular, adaptation and
implementation at other universities.
The system started in 1992 as a tool to deliver personalized
homework to students, personalized meaning that each student sees a
different version of the same
computer-generated problem: different numbers, choices, graphs, images,
Over the years, LON-CAPA has been expanded with content management and
management features, such as communications, gradebook, etc., similar to
those in commercial
course management systems, such as
WebCTTM , or
standard features, the LON-CAPA delivery and course management layer is
designed around STEM
education, for example:
- support for mathematical typesetting throughout (LATEX inside of XML)
(formulas are rendered on-the-fly, and can be algorithmically modified through the use of
variables inside formulas)
- integrated GNUplot support (graphs can be rendered on-the-fly, and
allowing additional layered labeling of graphs and images)
- support for multi-dimensional symbolic math answers, using sampling or
the integrated Maxima symbolic algebra system
- full support of physical units.
LON-CAPA has developed into a content sharing network of almost 60 institutions of higher
education including community colleges and four-year institutions, as well as about the same number of
middle and high schools, and serves approximately 80,000 students every semester. In addition,
LON-CAPA houses commercial textbook content from seven major publishing companies, and a commercial
service company was established around the product at the end of 2004.
The shared content pool
currently contains approximately 350,000 learning
resources, including more than 140,000 randomizing
homework problems in computer science, family and child ecology, geology,
human food and nutrition, human medicine, mathematics,
medical technology, physics, and psychology.
do not maintain their own LON-CAPA servers can join arrange
for hosting through EduCog.
LON-CAPA home page:
LON-CAPA hosting page (click on EduCog):