Answers to Student Questions

Answers to Student Questions

What are the prerequisites?

Interest, imagination, and a willingness to play are needed for this course. Some computer skills, in word processing, graphics, and/or web page making will be helpful. You will need to have access to the the World Wide Web and to email, both of which you will be using extensively throughout the course. Any background that you may have in any of the sciences will be useful. Artists, gardeners, and animal lovers are needed too. You will be working in groups, so will be able to combine your talents. Come as you are -- there is work for all!

How will I know what to do?

Examples and models will be provided to help you to get started. There will be templates for your assignments, and examples for how to lay out your work and do the small amount of math necessary. These examples will be the foundation of what you will do. You may enlarge on them and embellish them to your heart's content!

Can I create my planet by myself?

Making a planet is a lot of work.  Two people have made planets individually: their worlds are Qui and Germarc.  If you want to do a planet by yourself, consider that you may need to take an incomplete on the course. 

Is this course hard?

This course is an intense learning experience.  It is a lot of fun, and you will learn a lot!  However, it will take time.  All the information that you need is available on the web site in easy-to-understand form. 

What about working with partners?

You will be working closely with your partners, and so should be prepared to talk on the phone, use email, meet in the chat rooms, and meet in person to organize and share your material.  The groups have tended to work out very well.  This course attracts imaginative, playful people, and is fun.

How much does this course cost?

If you take this course through the open university, the cost is $625 for five units of credit.

What about Incompletes?

I don't have any problems with giving incompletes, but students who are working in Master's programs need to think about scheduling.  I will work with you to minimize and prevent problems.

What if I have no artistic talent?

This is not a problem.  Sketch out your animals and plants as best you can.  No one else has ever been to your planet, so who can argue with the accuracy of your sketches?  Enjoy the talents that you have, and don't worry.  When you visit other planets on our site you will see many ways of drawing plants and animals.  I have enjoyed all the pictures, and i think that you will. too!

Please send your additional questions to Elizabeth Viau via e-mail.

© 1996. 2002, 2004.  Elizabeth Anne Viau. This material may be used freely for instructional purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction. Please e-mail me at if you use this material. I'd be interested to know how it works for you.