Frequently Asked Questions

What is Polaris Project?

Polaris Project is a series of three 1-credit web courses being developed by the Astronomy Program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. We have two goals in this project: One is to make material available to a broader audience, and the other is to explore some of the ways that new technologies may help students master difficult concepts.

Is Polaris Project Free?

The content of Polaris Project is completely free for the benefit of the public. However, you do have the option of taking the courses offered by Polaris Project for college credit through Iowa State University.

How do I register?

On campus students may register for Astro 102 or Astro 103 using AccessPlus to register as for any other on-campus course. Off campus students will need to go through the Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) Continuing Education office,

Please note: The x on the course number means "experimental". As long as each course has an x, it will be graded only Satisfactory/Fail. Once the x is gone the course will be graded with letter grades A, B, C, D, F and it will count towards group requirements for on-campus undergraduate students.

What are the Computer Requirements?

Polaris Project has been designed to allow most types of browser and computer configurations to access the content on this web site. To reduce problems, we do recommend the following:

  • You have a browser newer than about 2000.
  • You need to have the Flash plugin versions 4 or later installed on your computer. Use the following link to install the plugin:

  • When you enroll, you should be issued an ISU email account. you will need this to access the WebCT portion of the for-credit offering.
  • WebCT may have browser requirements that exceed those of the Polaris site.

How Can I Contribute?

If you wish to contribute to Polaris Project's content or you wish to contribute technically or artistically, please let us know by contacting L. A. Willson.

What if I Found a Mistake?

If you identify a problem or mistake in the material, please let us know by contacting L. A. Willson.