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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 shorter sections are covered in two weeks.
The scientific content of the first two sections will be reasonably familiar to a number of the students. In this period students will also be "meeting" the others on the course by mail and Instant Messenger, 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.
This is obviously not a hard-and-fast classification, simply an indicator, as certain topics overlap more than one area.