CAPA Instructions

The Computer-Assisted Personalized Assignment system (CAPA), developed at Michigan State University, is used in many of the introductory courses in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. It is being used to generate individualized assignments for the students. The system allows you to enter your answers directly via networked terminals and the World-Wide WEB and gives you immediate feedback (correct/incorrect). You are allowed to reenter solutions to the problems before the due date.

It is strongly recommended that you answer the questions before you login to the capa computer. Team studying and problem solving is a good way to learn and understand, and is strongly encouraged.

Instructions: Connecting to CAPA via TELNET.


Each assignment sheet has your NAME and also a specific Personal Identification Number (PIN). Each set has a different PIN. The PIN number is printed on the top of your assignments (which are available on the GOPHER server and can be printed out in Taylor Hall).Your are now ready to start using CAPA.







          Computer-Assisted Personalized Assignments (CAPA) system 
                 -- phy121f6 Physics 121: Mechanics -- 
         Enter STUDENT NUMBER and PIN, hit ENTER/RETURN after each 

            Office Hours: Wolfs: T 11.00 am - 12.30 pm (B&L203D) 

              STUDENT NUMBER: 

                     CAPA ID: 

                    To exit system, just hit ENTER/RETURN 
         Student's Name                                     Section: ??? 

                                MAIN MENU 

                              T=Try set 
                              V=View previous set 
                              X=eXit system 


     Enter a command from the list above and press ENTER/RETURN 
Two lengths a and b are measured with a meter stick, each with a possible 
error of 0.3 cm. The values obtained are a = 21.4 cm and b = 27.8 cm. What 
is the maximum fractional error in the quantity (a + b) ? 

Command/Answer                                                 *Unanswered 

Commands :M = Main Menu :7 = go to Problem 7        RETURN = Enter/Execute 
         :X = eXit                                   RETURN = Next Problem 
                                     TERM SUMMARY 

                          1         2         3         4         5 
   1: 1/ 41( 2%) YN---------------------- 

   1 sets, total= 1/ 41 (2%) 

 Enter a command from the list below and press ENTER/RETURN 
 M = Go to main menu         N = Next Page         P =Prev Page 



Instructions: Connecting to CAPA via the WEB.


You can also use a WEB browser to enter your solutions to the homework assignments. The use of the WEB browser has the advantage that in most cases you will see the graphics on the screen, in exactly the same way as they appear on the printed versions of the assignments. In this section we will discuss the procedure to be used to enter your solutions via the WEB.



For many problems, you will be required to enter the units as part of the answers. The tables below list the units that are recognized by CAPA. Note that you can combine units in this table in order to create the units appropriate for the problem you are working on. For example, if you are required to calculate the density of a solution, you can use as units kg/m^3 which is a combincation of two base units (kg and m). However, CAPA would also have accepted a solution in tehrms of g/cm^3 etc. etc.


Base Units

name (CAPA) symbol comment
meter m length
kilogram kg mass
second s time
ampere A electric current
kelvin K thermodynamic temperature
mole mol amount of substance
candela cd luminous intensity



Prefix (CAPA) symbol factor
yotta Y 10^{24}
zetta Z 10^{21}
exa E 10^{18}
peta P 10^{15}
tera T 10^{12}
giga G 10^9
mega M 10^6
kilo k 10^3
hecto h 10^2
deci d 10^-1
centi c 10^-2
milli m 10^-3
micro u 10^-6
nano n 10^-9
pico p 10^{-12}
femto f 10^{-15}
atto a 10^{-18}
zepto z 10^{-21}
yocto y 10^{-24}


Derived Units

name (CAPA) symbol unit comment
gram g 0.001 kg mass
hour hr 3600. s time
minute min 60 s time
pound lb 0.45359237 kg mass
ounce oz 1.77185E-3 kg mass
inch in 2.54 cm length
foot ft 12 in length
mile mi 5280 ft length
yard yd 0.9144 m length
nautical_mile n_mi 6080 ft length, nautical mile (UK)
astroUnit AU 1.49598E11 m length, mean earth to sun distance
acre acre 4840 yd^2 area, acre
hertz Hz 1/s frequency
litre L 10^3/cm^3 volume
newton N m*kg/s^2 force
pound_force lbf 4.44822 N force
dyne dyn 1E-5 N force
pascal Pa N/m^2 pressure, stress
bar bar 1E5 Pa pressure
mmHg mmHg 1.33322E2 Pa pressure, millimeter of mercury
torr torr 1 mmHg pressure
atm atm 760 torr pressure, standard atmosphere
joule J N*m energy, work, heat
electronvolt eV 1.6021892E-19 J energy
calorie cal 4.1868 J energy
Btu Btu 1.05506E3 J energy
watt W J/s power, radiant flux
coulomb C A*s electric charge
volt V J/C electric potential, electromotive force
ohm ohm V/A electric resistance, use this in /ANS
ohm ohms V/A electric resistance
ohm Ohm V/A electric resistance
ohm Ohms V/A electric resistance
siemens S A/V electric conductance
farad F C/V electric capacitance
tesla T V s/m^2 magnetic flux density
weber Wb V*s magnetic flux
henry H V*s/A inductance
radian rad m /m plane angle
degree deg 1.745329E-2 rad plane angle (Pi rad=180 deg)
steradian sr m^2 /m^2 solid angle
lumen lm cd*sr luminous flux
lux lx cd*sr/m^2 illuminance
becquerel Bq 1/s activity (radioactive)
gray Gy J/kg absorbed dose (of radiation)
sievert Sv J/kg dose equivalent (dose equivalent index)

Send comments, questions and/or suggestions via email to and/or visit the home page of Frank Wolfs.