University of Lincoln, UK

Revolutionary e-learning system for physics

UCLan reports on our innovative teaching:

UCLan is the first UK university to introduce LON-CAPA

UCLan has become the first UK academic institution to invest in a world-leading e-learning system specifically designed to help students studying physics and other numerical sciences.

LON-CAPA is an open source e-learning platform, which differs from traditional e-learning platforms in that its many web servers (in various parts of the world) can communicate with each other.

The introduction of LON-CAPA at UCLan has been pioneered by Andrei Zvelindovsky, Professor of Computational and Theoretical Physics, and Dr Tim Mercer, both from the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, who use it on their first year module: Introduction to Physics.

Commenting on the project Professor Zvelindovsky said: “We are delighted to be the first UK university to incorporate LON-CAPA in our teaching. This unique product works in conjunction with our core text book publishers in physics and we can choose homework material from hundreds of our colleagues all around the world.”

UCLan has a strong tradition of introducing innovative e-learning products and LON-CAPA is an excellent addition specifically to teach Physics and numerical subjects.

“With more flexibility than any other product, LON-CAPA automatically personalises numerical values for each student, offers options for variable questions to answer, gives hints, and accepts approximate numerical answers (within defined limits).”

Professor Zvelindovsky added: “As lecturers we monitor students’ performance on the system in a real time. We see which questions are more difficult and which require more hints.

“It is truly a system of the 21st century providing a superlative education that equips our students with additional skills in a globally interlinked and computerised world. It is also a very reliable and precise system. Although we are the first academic institution in the UK to use this, we are the UK’s second in general – the first establishment being the Royal Air Force at Lakenheath, where ultimately precision in education can be a matter of life or death.”

In January 2012 UCLan will introduce LON-CAPA to its mathematics students on a joint physics-maths module.

LON-CAPA has been adopted by many leading North American Universities and is now to be found in many countries across the world. Currently the product has been translated into a wide range of world languages including Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Turkish and is currently used by over 150,000 learners every year.

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