HabWorlds General Tips

How is HabWorlds organized and graded?

Habitable Worlds (HabWorlds) is organized around an overarching Project that you need to complete: Find a potentially habitable world in a field of 500 stars. You will have the information you need to begin work on the Project once you complete the second unit, R* 

In addition to the Project, you will need to complete units that include Training Exercises and, for three of the units, Assessment Exercises, that are designed to teach you the concepts necessary to master the Project. 

Your best strategy for success is to complete the Training Exercise associated with each Assessment Exercise before attempting the assessment. Your grade is based on earning points as you complete the exercises and Project. About 1/3 of the points come from the Training Exercises, 1/3 from the Assessment Exercises, and 1/3 from the Project. 

Training Exercises

You will earn points as you progress through each Training Exercise, with more points awarded towards the end of the exercise than near the beginning. Training Exercises are only graded based on how much you complete. They are not graded for how quickly or accurately you complete them!

However, in many cases you will be held on a particular page within an exercise until you figure out the correct answer. You won’t lose points for making multiple attempts until you figure out the answer, but we do want to make sure that you’ve learned how to get the correct answer! There are no skip buttons on these pages. You can abandon the exercise for the next one, but then you will have missed out on points and course content.

Training Exercises can be revisited and retried as often as you want. However, because these exercises teach you what you need to know to complete the assessment exercises, we strongly recommend that you complete them before attempting the assessments.

Assessment Exercises

Three of the modules have Assessment Exercises. In these exercises, points are awarded based on how well you complete each assessment task. You will be graded  based on your best attempt.  So, for example, if you get a 0 on your first try and 100% on your second try, you will earn 100% for that assessment. Want to boost your score? Try to complete the assignment again.

You can think of the Assessment Exercises sort of like quizzes that you can retake as often as you need to earn the score that you want. None of them are worth a tremendous number of points - they are mostly “low stakes” quizzes, so if you can’t figure one or two of them out it’s not a disaster.

The Project

The skills you build through the Training Exercises and Assessment Exercises will enable you to complete the overarching Project. Points for the Project are awarded based on how well you complete the tasks required. You will learn the first pieces of information to start the Project during the R* unit, which is the second unit of the course. As you move through each unit, you will gain additional information to complete different portions of the Project. 

The Project can take 10 or more hours so it is much easier to start early and work on it a bit at a time throughout the course instead of trying to do it all at once! Within the Project, you can revise your answers to improve your score until you submit it. The Project can be reopened after you submit it, via the "restart" option. If you reopen the Project, you will be brought back to the beginning of the activity, but all of the data you had is still there. Reopening the Project does not give you a clean slate to completely start over with new data.

How long will each lesson take to complete?

We always recommend starting early. Don’t wait until a short time before the deadline to start, as many lessons in HabWorlds will take an hour or more to complete. The earlier you start, the more help you’ll be able to get if you get stuck. Conversely, the longer you wait, the less likely it is that you’ll have time to get help before the deadline. With that said, this course is expected to require at least 180 hours of student work.

What kind of math is in HabWorlds?

The course is geared towards freshmen level, but it does assume basic mastery of pre-college math. It’s nothing super complicated; it’s things like order of operations, fractions, and exponents. To assist with the math, the use of spreadsheets is strongly encouraged and step-by-step instructions are embedded in the lessons to help you set up a spreadsheet that you will use throughout the course, as well as to complete the Project.

Which browsers can I use for HabWorlds?

HabWorlds works best on Chrome or Firefox. Do not use Safari, Internet Explorer, or Edge.

How do I re-do an assessment?

To re-do an assessment, click the History button at the bottom of the screen. Then select the “Restart Lesson” option. You can re-do an assessment as many times as you’d like. Your final score will be based on your best attempt. 

How do I do unit conversions?

Here’s a site (http://www.unitconverters.net/) that will help you convert just about anything!

Is the deadline set for my time zone?

Your instructor sets the deadline based on the course’s time zone. BUT your course will automatically adjust what deadline time is shown to you based on your computer’s time zone settings.

How do I use a spreadsheet?

The tutorial video is linked below. Pay special attention to how parentheses are used to group parts of the formula. The lack of, or improper use of, parentheses is the most frequent challenge to students using spreadsheets.

Spreadsheet Tutorial

I forgot my password! What should I do?

If your course is integrated with your school’s Learning Management System (LMS) (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas, Universal Learner Course, etc.): Navigate to your course in your institution’s LMS and follow the link found there. Your LMS will handle the automatic log in.


When you are prompted to login, click Forgot password? and follow steps to reset it.

Why is it telling me I’m not enrolled in the course?

Ensure you are clicking the correct HabWorlds URL from your school’s LMS (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas, Universal Learner Course etc.). If you are still unable to access the course, reach out to your professor and ask for help.