The University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) already has almost 800 students enrolled for its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
The MOOC, Marine and Antarctic Science, goes live today.
The free course is run through the Open2Study program of Open Universities Australia.
The month-long MOOC consists of 37 short videos. There are four modules (roughly 10 topics each), with a new module released every week for four weeks. Subject material covers the full spectrum of activity undertaken by IMAS.
Professor Craig Johnson (IMAS) and Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas (Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC) present the course.
"The MOOC material is aimed at an introductory level, meaning anyone with an interest in marine science can participate.
"We encourage people of all ages and all levels of education to consider signing up for Marine and Antarctic Science," Prof Johnson said.
"If students complete the MOOC and then want to pursue study in this area, they can consider a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate university courses, including the Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science."
Dr Melbourne-Thomas, pictured, said topics covered in the MOOC included how life has evolved in the sea, what oceanographers do and some of the technologies they use, and the role of the ocean in shaping and regulating our climate.
"We will also be exploring how plate tectonics shape the ocean basins and influence current patterns, how fishing and other human pressures affect ocean systems and how seafood is likely to be an important food source in the future," she said.
IMAS Executive Director Professor Mike Coffin said the Institute was delighted to have been approached to create the MOOC.
"IMAS focuses on undertaking world-class research complemented by providing quality education, and we are enthused by the high level of interest the course has attracted.
"The advantages of the MOOC are clear; our scientists are able to share their considerable expertise with students worldwide who are able to benefit from our knowledge for free.
"With the recent opening of the new iconic premises for IMAS on the Hobart waterfront and the advent of our inaugural MOOC, IMAS continues to pursue its ultimate objective of providing Australia with the world's foremost marine and Antarctic research and education institute."
To sign-up for the MOOC and for more information, please visit: https://www.open2study.com/courses/marine-and-antarctic-science