Ten year old aces ANUx Astrophysics

20 June 2014

A 10-year old boy has passed The Australian National University’s first Astrophysics Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), offered on the edX platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

‘Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe’, taught by ANU astronomers, Associate Professor Paul Francis and Professor Brian Schmidt, was undertaken by more than 7,500 people from 88 countries. But it was a 10-year old boy that stood out.

Course co-presenter Dr Francis said it was incredible to have someone so young complete the unit and he was particularly impressed with the diversity of students.

“We had students from around the world with ages ranging from as young as 10 to as old as 90,” Dr Francis said.

“What was really pleasing was the way they came together as an online community to bounce ideas around and discuss the course content,” he said.

Dr Francis wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the unit. Students used the MOOC’s online forums to praise the quality of the learning experience.

“Never in a month of Sundays had I ever envisaged being able to do something like this. The fact I'm hanging in here shows how well it's put together. Thank you,” one student wrote.

Another was so impressed, they were driven to consider further studies.  “At the end of each subject I’m left with a hunger to learn more about the universe and seriously thinking about undertaking academic study.”

If you want to discover hot Jupiter-like planets skimming the surfaces of their stars, cold and lonely free-floating planets far from any star, planets made of diamond, planets with rain made of glass, and super-Earths, enrol in the second ANUx Astrophysics ‘Exoplanets’ commencing Tuesday 24 June.

Enrolment is free and can be done here.