CHOICE in Astronomy

Carolyn Hurless Online Instititue for Continuing Education (CHOICE) in Astronomy

AAVSO’s Carolyn Hurless Online Institute for Continuing Education (CHOICE) courses improve participants’ skills in observation, analysis, research, writing, and advocation. Skills developed through each of these informal four-week online courses increase your data collection accuracy, help make your time observing more enjoyable, and enable astronomers and researchers to best utilize AAVSO data.

Whether an AAVSO member or not, you can take as few or as many CHOICE courses as you like. Courses range from introductory to very advanced. The courses cover a variety of topics, including visual observing, digital observing, and variable star science.

2020 Course Schedule and Registration

For course descriptions, please click here.

Usually, AAVSO members pay $35.00 per course, and non-members pay $60.00 per course; however, we want to help everyone out in this hard time, and so have made our remaining 2020 CHOICE courses free of charge. Instructions for registering for each and the course calendar are in the links below. 

Not a member? Go easy on yourself: become a member prior to course registration to receive the member price!

Courses run via the AAVSO web site using private forums and e-mail at a self-directed pace. Participants devote 8–20 hours per week for reading, discussions, quizzes, and exams, to earn a pass/fail assessment at the end of each course. Those who pass a course receive a certificate and a note of completion on their AAVSO user profile page. 


Want to become a leader of a CHOICE course?

Courses are peer taught—graduates of one course have the opportunity to lead the next iteration of that course. Learning occurs best when done collaboratively, and for many, the best way to learn is to teach. Those who lead a course receive any subsequent CHOICE course free of charge, and an instructor status symbol on their AAVSO profile for each course taught.  

Instructors can always get assistance from AAVSO staff, and/or use the course syllabi and any other course-related materials. AAVSO staff take care of the technical issues (registration, course materials, etc.), while the leaders guide the students through the course and perform assessments.

Contact Sara Beck at to discuss this opportunity.


About Carolyn Hurless

Carolyn J. Hurless, the most active and prolific female observer in the history of the AAVSO, recorded a total of 78,876 observations for the AAVSO International Database. For a bio of Carolyn’s life and remarkable career as an AAVSO observer, councilor, officer, mentor, and ambassador, please click here.