Antarctica online

We're heading to Antarctica. Keen to know what we find? Take our Antarctica online course - launching in 2015 - and we'll bring you Antarctic science, history, art and more.

We’re heading to Antarctica. Keen to know what we find? Take our Antarctica online course – launching in 2015 – and we’ll bring you Antarctic science, history, art and more.

Rhian and I have been pre-recording lectures for our online courses for three years now. Our online courses are asynchronous, which means that students can watch the lectures when and where it suits them – they just need to complete the assignments that are due at the end of each module. Some of our lectures are filmed in a classroom environment, with the lecturer appearing in one screen, and their slides appearing in another screen. But the thing about pre-recording lectures like this, is that there is no need to use a classroom environment – sometimes the teaching is much more effective if you can show the students something they wouldn’t see in a classroom, sort of like taking them on a virtual fieldtrip.

So far, we’ve recorded lectures in places such as a chemistry laboratory, a rooftop beehive, a botanical garden, and a hillstop wind farm. But we’re about to start recording some of our most exciting field lectures ever.

If you’re putting together an online course about Antarctic science, what better place to film the lectures than Antarctica? Thanks to support from Antarctica New Zealand, the Antarctic Research Centre and the Faculty of Science, that’s what we’re about to do. On Thursday I’m flying to Antarctica with Cliff Atkins, a geologist from the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences who’s already been to Antarctica 10 times. I’m putting together a module on Antarctic science history and he’s putting together a module on Antarctic geology and paleoclimate research. We’ll also be gathering footage for a module about the role of Antarctica, globally and culturally, that will be led by Rhian – who will be busy at conferences in the US and Canada while we’re on the ice – and Leon Gurevitch from the School of Design. Our Antarctica online course will be launched in 2015, and will be available to anyone with an interest in Antarctica – no prerequisites! – to take through the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

We’ll keep you posted as to how it’s going.

Here’s what our classroom lectures look like:

A typical classroom style lecture: this one's from my history of science course, SCIE312. The split screen shows the lecturer in one frame and the slides in another frame.

A typical classroom style lecture: this one’s from my history of science course, SCIE312. The split screen shows the lecturer in one frame and the slides in another frame.

Our new lectures could look something like this:

Cliff Atkins, 2012, Nansen Ice Sheet. In 2012 Cliff was doing some research into dust flux on the Nansen Ice Shelf, along the coast of Victoria Land. In this picture he’s part of a two man team – one driving the skidoo, one steering the sledge, setting up dust traps across the ice shelf.

Cliff Atkins, 2012, Nansen Ice Sheet. In 2012 Cliff was doing some research into dust flux on the Nansen Ice Shelf, along the coast of Victoria Land. In this picture he’s part of a two man team – one driving the skidoo, one steering the sledge, setting up dust traps across the ice shelf.

Or this:

Rebecca Priestley, 2011, Taylor Valley. Rebecca’s first visit to Antarctica was on Antarctica New Zealand’s invited media programme. She wrote a series of blog posts, several articles for The New Zealand Listener, and gathered material for an anthology of Antarctic Science that will published by Awa Press in 2015.

Rebecca Priestley, 2011, Taylor Valley. Rebecca’s first visit to Antarctica was on Antarctica New Zealand’s invited media programme. She wrote a series of blog posts, several articles for The New Zealand Listener, and gathered material for an anthology of Antarctic Science that will published by Awa Press in 2015.

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