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A Course Management System Capable of Handling the Requisite Mathematics and Graphing of Engineering and Technology Problems: LON-CAPA

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

New Directions for ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Gene L. Harding Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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GENE L. HARDING is an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) at Purdue University, where he has taught since 2003. He has three years of industrial experience with Agilent Technologies, 28 years of combined active and reserve service in the United States Air Force, holds an MSEE from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and is a licensed professional engineer. He has coded 1000+ LON-CAPA problems used in over a dozen ECET courses.

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Stuart P. Raeburn Michigan State University

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Dr. Raeburn has been involved with instructional technology at Michigan State University for the past two decades. Currently he is affiliated with the Department of Physics & Astronomy as lead developer and release manager for the LON-CAPA Content Management and Assessment system.

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This is the second in a series of papers to inform engineering and engineering technology (E/ET) educators about a powerful course management system (CMS) called LON-CAPA. LON-CAPA is an acronym for Learning Online Network with Computer Assisted Personalized Approach. Although it has been around for over two decades, it has been used primarily in science and mathematics disciplines, with virtually no penetration into E/ET fields. The purpose of this series of papers is to get the word out to interested educators in the E/ET arena.

LON-CAPA can do the relatively mundane tasks needed to manage a course, but the features that make it so unique and so powerful are the ones that allow content creation with • an extensive library of mathematics functions for calculations, • appropriate rendering of the mathematics notation, • dynamically-generated graphs, • interactive capabilities, and • the ability to manage multi-part problems with linked calculations.

This paper begins with a brief synopsis of topics covered in the first paper, then continues the discussion with a detailed description of how to set up Numerical Response problems, including three different ways to set up the grading tolerances: • within a specified percentage, • with a set number of decimal places, or • with a certain number of significant figures. Next, it discusses two different techniques for setting up dynamically-generated graphs using gnuplot, as well as how to construct multi-part problems with calculations that carry through and correlate directly with the generated plots. Then it shows a pair of examples that mix response types. Finally, the paper concludes with a section describing options for implementing LON-CAPA at a new institution.

Harding, G. L., & Raeburn, S. P. (2019, June), A Course Management System Capable of Handling the Requisite Mathematics and Graphing of Engineering and Technology Problems: LON-CAPA Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--31954

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