The material has been divided into 7 sections in Term 1, and 8 in Term 2, each section approximately corresponding to one week. However, the course is intended to be flexible in that students may wish to spend different amounts of time on the course from week to week; the total weekly study time is expected to be roughly 6 hours on average. Of course, students have different backgrounds and levels of experience, particularly with the technology involved in the course, so the amount of time needed to tackle the early sections may vary somewhat. Some of the larger sections will cover two weeks.
It is initially anticipated that 3 weeks will be sufficient to cover the first two sections, the scientific content of which will be reasonably familiar to a number of the students. In this period students will be "meeting" the others in their groups by mail and MOO, and so the more technically able will be able to offer advice to their virtual classmates. Some sections are short so that slower students can catch up.
If we find that we are initially trying to cover too much information too soon, we can always slow things down a bit, while any advanced students can be directed to more detailed material. We'll see how things progress.
This is obviously not a hard-and-fast classification, simply an indicator, as certain topics overlap more than one area.