Victoria University of Wellington

02/20/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/19/2017 15:18

Chancellor to explore Antarctica again

Victoria University of Wellington's Chancellor, Sir Neville Jordan, has enrolled in the University's first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to be offered on the respected online global platform edX.

Antarctica: From Geology to Human History allows students to take a virtual field trip to the icy region with Victoria academics Dr Cliff Atkins and Dr Rebecca Priestley, who look at the geology and delve into the history of the coldest, driest, windiest continent on Earth.

Sir Neville has been to the Antarctic on a Russian ex-intelligence ship and has been scuba diving in the Ross and Weddell seas. He also served five years on the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust.

As President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, he also visited Scott Base, McMurdo Sound and the huts of Scott and Shackleton at Hut Point. 'We camped at Hut Point and I helped there with the restoration of Scott's second hut.

'During this trip, I also did some air sampling at both huts, looking for bacterial or fungal spores that attack leather or wood. We were trying to find out more about the spores so we could find out how to combat them and protect the artefacts. I co-authored a paper on this which was published in a scientific journal.'

During the visit to Scott's Hut, Sir Neville spent time under the floor chipping out ice, where he found a hauling harness that is believed to have been in the ice for 100 years.

As Chancellor, Sir Neville has been a strong advocate for online learning. 'When I saw the Antarctica: From Geology to Human History course, and the calibre of the two Victoria academics teaching the course-it immediately resonated. Victoria is a real leader in this field.

'It's so positive that Victoria has partnered with such a prestigious platform like edX.'

Sir Neville has opted to receive a verified certificate when he completes the five week course. 'Receiving a certificate at the end of a course is very rewarding-it just gives that feeling, and evidence, of completion.'

Sir Neville is a Wellington investor and adviser in science and technology and executive chairman of Endeavour Capital Ltd. He was appointed a member of the Victoria University Council in 2013, and elected by the Council as Chancellor in December 2014.