Monthly Archives: April 2014

Chapter 2 starts today!

Dear Students!

Welcome to Chapter 2 of our Crystal MOOC, which is entitled “Morphology of Crystals, Fractional Coordinates, and Crystal Systems”!


We will start with a virtual flight through the Mineralogical Museum of the University of Hamburg, will discuss the outer shapes of crystals, Miller indices, the Bravais lattices, and fractional coordinates. Furthermore, we introduce VESTA, an incredible piece of software (freeware), which allows you to analyze crystal structures, to build your own crystals structures and crystal shapes!

Peer-to-Peer Homework and Due Dates
Please note, with the beginning of this chapter Homeworks have to be done, namely P2P assignments. You will find an explanation how this works on the frontpage of the Homework unit (‘How Does Evaluation Work’).

The due dates for all P2P homeworks of the course are as follows:
Chapter 2 | Submission Deadline: 09.05.2014 | Evaluation Deadline: 16.05.2014
Chapter 3 | Submission Deadline: 23.05.2014 | Evaluation Deadline: 30.05.2014
Chapter 4 | Submission Deadline: 30.05.2014 | Evaluation Deadline: 06.06.2014
Chapter 7 | Submission Deadline: 17.06.2014 | Evaluation Deadline: 24.06.2014

Optional assignment and Discussion forum
In addition to the homework there is a further optional task (in Unit 2.4). The solution will be made available next Tuesday (6th of May).

In general, we would like to encourage you to use the forum: discuss topics with your peers, ask questions, look for interesting links posted by other users or perhaps even arrange a local meetup with others! Don’t be shy! 🙂

Furthermore, we think it is preferable to use only the “Answer the question” or “New Answer” option in the forum and not the “Add comment” function for two reasons: Comments can be easily overlooked (as they are hidden by default) and they appear not chronologically ordered together with the answers!

Crystal MOOC’s flickr page
We have created a flickr account for the Crystal MOOC community! The idea is, that we build together a beautiful collection of photos, dedicated to specific crystallographic topics, which will then be categorized in albums. In Unit 2.7b you are asked to upload photos/screenshots of crystal shapes you created with VESTA.

The flickr page can be found at:

You can upload a photo to this page by sending an eMail with the picture attached to:

The subject of the mail serves automatically as the title and the body as the description of the picture.

Have a nice week!
kind regards

Anna, Frank, Michael, and Timo


We declare the Crystal MOOC open!

a warm welcome to all of you!

Today we are starting our course with over 11,000 of you, who signed up for this Crystal MOOC already. We are excited to be your instructors for this class and look forward to our discussions. Please take a look at the course description below, share it with your friends, and tell them to sign up for free here:

The first chapter consists of the following units:

Unit 1.0 – Welcome
Unit 1.1 – Crystal and Structures – Powers of Ten
Unit 1.2a – Crystallographic Poetry
Unit 1.2b – Crystallographic Poetry – Systematization
Unit 1.3 – Definition of Crystals and Anisotropy
Unit 1.4 – The Correspondence Principle (I)
Unit 1.5 – The Correspondence Principle (II)
Unit 1.6 – The Formation of Snowflakes
Unit 1.7 – The Concept of the Unit Cell
Unit 1.8 – The 7 Crystal Systems
Unit 1.9 – Crystal = Lattice + Motif

If you have any questions concerning technical issues of the platform, please send an email to iversity:

Questions concerning the content of our course can be discussed in the forum.

Furthermore, you can find a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at:

You may also join our Crystal MOOC facebook page at:

Best wishes!
Michael and Frank

4 Days to Go

Dear participants of the Crystal MOOC,

we are very happy, that so many of you have signed up for our course. We are about to start soon. Please be patient for a few more days. Easter is around the corner and the forthcoming days are official holidays in Germany. We will use the long weekend to prepare some more lessons, write subtitles and maybe to take a deep breath before we will join you in lively discussions about crystals and their structures.

To be able to answer all of your questions that might come up in a reasonable timeframe, in particular during the starting phase, our colleagues Anna Vijn and Timo Stein joined our team and will support us as Instructor Assistents.

If you haven’t done it already, join us on:

See you on Tuesday, the 22nd!

Anna, Frank, Michael and Timo