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Virtual field trip: Victoria University goes to Antarctica

Victoria University is giving students the opportunity to explore Antarctica – for free.

The tertiary education provider is offering its first massive open online course (MOOC) that will allow anyone, anywhere, to explore the ice continent.

Enrolments are now open for Antarctica: From Geology to Human History on the global edX platform, a nonprofit, open-source technology platform founded by United States universities Harvard and MIT, and governed by universities for universities.

With support from Antarctica New Zealand, Dr Cliff Atkins and Dr Rebecca Priestley filmed lectures on location on Ross Island and in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

Together, they explore more than 500 million years of geological history and 250 years of geographical discovery and scientific endeavour on the ‘coldest, driest, windiest continent on Earth’.

“It’s not easy to take students to Antarctica, but by filming the lectures on the ice, we can introduce students around the world to this incredible continent,” says Priestley.

Priestley, a science historian and writer who has written extensively about Antarctica, visits Captain Scott’s huts on Ross Island and interviews conservators from the Antarctic Heritage Trust and scientists and logistics staff working at Scott Base and McMurdo Station.

Atkins is an Antarctic veteran, having spent 12 seasons on the ice. He introduces students to some of the planet’s most remarkable landscapes - the Dry Valleys, the Transantarctic Mountains and the world’s southernmost volcanic island.

Antarctica: From Geology to Human History starts on Saturday 15 April. People can enroll now, for free, online here. 

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