Astronomy 101 began as a face to face programme to begin in late May 2020. This was one of our REAP Plus programmes that are user pays that we offer to our whole community.

Our coordinator Jude McNeur quickly saw that this may be an opportunity to explore as a Zoom based option under lockdown.

Our astronomy expert, Becky Bateman met Jude by Zoom and quickly realised that indeed, this could be adapted. We decided to offer it as a free programme, but invited the participants to pay what they liked as a donation to a good local cause, and suggested www.soscafe.nz and foodbanks as possibilities. So on 14 April, the 6 session series began with 18 screens of learners. Some were people on their own, some were couples, and one was a whole family who had Zoom on their TV in the lounge! The hosting and control were done by a REAP staff member.

Becky presented each session for 45 minutes and answered questions, generally at the end. We found that using Chat in Zoom was a good way for her to receive the questions.

We built a web page specifically for the course, where her presentations were available and also the extra videos she recorded specifically for each session.

We are awaiting a suitable time when we can all venture out into the field for a face to face (or eye to telescope) evening where we can learn even more.

Feedback from learners has been extremely positive, with lots of lovely comments. This one came from Tania;

“A quick message to say THANK YOU to you both for bringing us this amazing series of lessons.”