Universiteit Leiden

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Space Awareness launches free online course

On 5 September 2016 Space Awareness launched their first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on teaching with space and astronomy in the classroom.

This MOOC is the first of a new series of courses that have been designed for primary and secondary school teachers and other education professionals. Space Awareness is a European-funded project that uses the excitement of space to engage young people with science and technology. This project is coordinated by Leiden University.

Space education training

This first course teaches educators about using the potential of space sciences for education. Participants learn how to communicate space topics to children and teenagers and interest them in science and technology. Using the context of space, the MOOC will also help teachers understand and practice the Inquiry Based Science Education methodology, learn more about using ICT for education, develop teaching strategies to manage diverse classrooms, and ensure gender equity in the classroom. Participants will also learn about the huge range of career opportunities offered by the space industry.


The MOOCs will introduce various exciting and inspirational topics related to space, including:

  • Our Fragile Planet takes participants through basic notions about our planet Earth, such as its structure and atmosphere. It will also delve into issues concerning climate change.
  • Our Wonderful Universe introduces some of the strange and beautiful objects that inhabit our Universe, starting with our Solar System.
  • Navigation through the Ages presents the rich history of navigation, from ancient times to modern methods like Galileo, Europe‚Äôs new satellite navigation system.
George Miley

George Miley

George Miley, Space Awareness coordinator and professor of astronomy at Leiden University, concludes: 'Space is an exciting and inspirational tool to show children and teenagers the relevance of science and technology to their lives. We hope that the new MOOC series will help teachers introduce space topics in classrooms across Europe and beyond.'

The MOOC was developed by researchers, educators and 56 teachers from around Europe, who share their experiences and expertise in using space topics with their students.

The new MOOCs are free and open to everyone. The first MOOC starts on 5 September for six weeks with an estimate workload of three hours per week. Registration is possible at any time through the EUN Academy website. More than 900 educators have already registered.

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