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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life by The University of Edinburgh

2,583 ratings

About the Course

Learn about the origin and evolution of life and the search for life beyond the Earth....

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Excelente curso, te guía desde lo más básico hasta lo más sofisticado en los conceptos de evolución de la vida y como entender estos en otros ambientes distintos al de nuestro planeta tierra.


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i have studied phisycs in syria and i have finish it after this great course i am realy thinking in master in astronomy or astrobiology master thank you very much for this amzing course :D

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1 - 25 of 686 Reviews for Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

By Richard P

Apr 29, 2020

Excellent Course. And not just this course but also the Pandemic series of lectures on Youtube. Glad I discovered Charles Cockell. Will be looking for more of his classes/lectures in the future.

By Yash A

Feb 20, 2016

This course has been extremely helpful, captivating, and thoroughly enjoyable! I learned so much from this course, and it has only intensified my interest and curiosity for this field.


-Oganization and structure of the content

-Balanced in terms of duration, difficulty, etc.

-Delivery of the instructor, who was very engaging and maintained interest throughout the course, and his personal interest and knowledge in this field was clearly evident.

-The assignments were well weighted, relevant, and a good indicator of my understanding of the course content.



So thank you to the instructor, the institute, and everyone else involved in providing this wonderful course. I look forward to more in the future!

By Eric L

Oct 12, 2015

Very interesting and engaging course. There are longer and more in-depth courses if you want them but if you want a concise overview of astrobiology on your own time, then this course is perfect!

By Marcel P

Feb 25, 2018

The course is general and easy approachable. It discuses many aspects in a public outreach manner. The first three lectures contain a lot of information, while the last two are shorter and simplified. The large number of questions during the exams helps fixing the key points (although few questions are silly, or I could not understand them - maybe due to my bad English). For me, it would have been interesting to get more references to the most relevant papers, and more numbers (in particular in the last lecture where Drake equation is discussed - what are the numbers according to last findings in exoplanets?). Some of the points related to exoplanets have to be updated (bu this is understandable - exoplanets are a domain the grows exponentially). Overall, it was a pleasure to follow this course and I fully recommend it!

By Gagandeep s

Mar 5, 2020

The course is well structured but it needs to be updated real time

By Gemma G

May 3, 2020

I greatly enjoyed this course - I learnt a lot of interesting new information about astrobiology, and I feel inspired to learn more about astrobiology. I came into the course with an initial interest, but not knowing much about the field, and it was very clear to comprehend for me as a beginner. Professor Charles Cockell structured the lectures well, making it easy to follow, and I enjoyed the quizzes, which allowed me to consolidate my knowledge. A big thank you to Professor Cockell and the team that went into curating this course! I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is interested in space or science in general, including beginners, as it is very accessible.

By Laureline F

Jun 14, 2019

This course was very educational and fascinating. My knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology is close to 0 but I didn't have any issues following the classes. The scientific concepts are explained clearly and the different modules are well structured so everything is easy to follow. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is interested in the origin and possibility of life on Earth and on other planets.

By Nikitha s

Dec 15, 2018

Some people look at the sky using nothing more than their eyes, I am one among them. I was always been fond of astronomy, looking same sky every day is my hobby. This course is one of the most exciting course that I had completed in coursera which explains us about most interesting questions in astrobiology. At the end of this course I had a better idea about why we're searching for life on other planets

By Adam H

Jan 18, 2016

Great course, Charles does a great job teaching the course! opens up the possibilities of the origins of life and other possible life in our solar system and universe. thanks to Coursera.

By Gaeun K

Feb 8, 2019

Excellent course for learning basic concepts of Astrobiology. It covers various topics including microbiology, history, and social implications of finding extraterrestrial intelligence.

By Kirsten S

Nov 3, 2017

It's a perfectly good course that just wasn't what I was hoping for. This felt very anthropocentric. Lots of liquid water and habitable zones. To me it left out the most interesting parts of astrobiology- the range of potential chemistries and scales that are possible for different life forms. Not much coverage of what counts as life either. It's a good survey of some aspects of astrobiology and a fine introduction if you're just getting interested.

By Safet H

May 27, 2020

I started the course as a fun pastime, to think less of the coronavirus pandemic. Ironically, the course made me reflect on how humans imagine and construct the boundaries around themselves and life more generally. Viruses are a good example. Professor Cockell did a *stellar* job (excuse the obvious pun). As I listened to his lectures, I made numerous connections to my work in social anthropology. The format is perfect. I was allowed to work at my own pace. The quizzes were not difficult, but required effort. One really needs to pay attention to the lectures, and I suggest making copious notes (I have some 60 pages for this course). I would make only two suggestions: a) update some of the material, as it became obvious a couple of times that it was created a while ago; b) include the histories of space thinking/exploration beyond Euro-American contexts (e.g. Abbasid Golden Age, Muslim Spain, Mughals and various Indian subcontinental polities, China). Great job! I enjoyed it very much.

By Azul P

Sep 2, 2020

The course was a really great way to introduce the broad field of astrobiology. The syllabus and expectations are well defined. Each weekly subject touches on a different area of astrobiology so the course is very comprehensive. I also like how at the end of every lecture the instructor lists the major points of each lesson to really ensure that you have understood the basics of each subject. The discussion forums are also great! The only thing I would like to see is mention of more recent studies. I understand that science moves at a fast pace so not everything will be included, but at least the major discoveries since these lectures were made. All in all I think this is a really great course. It's stimulating, the lectures are clear and well laid out. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot!

By Faith V

Jul 21, 2020

Great course! I like the quiz-based format; the quizzes give you unlimited time and plenty of chances to complete them, are not at all difficult as long as you're paying attention to the lectures. Professor Cockell's lectures are enjoyable, and have a very helpful "what have we learned" recap at the end of each one to make sure you absorbed the main ideas of the lecture. It doesn't take too much time--just a few (engaging) hours total out of each week--so even if you're a busy person, you won't have to worry about your schedule getting much more hectic. Would recommend!

By Leyla M

Dec 26, 2020

Thank you very much for this course. I have always been interested in Astronomy. When I was 3, I looked at the moon and asked myself why it was there. At that time, the Super Moon was observed. The moon looked very big. The air was very clear and the stars were bright. From that day on, I became involved in astronomy and began to study as a child. Is there life in the stars, the moon, and other planets? - I would ask myself as a child. This is where my interest in astrobiology came from. I also learned about Carl Sagan's documentaries and books.

I am very happy to have taken this course and to have learned from Professor Charles Cockell, and I consider myself lucky.

P.S. P.S. I know very little English. Sorry if there is a mistake in the text.

Best regards,

Leyla Muradzade

By Molly L

May 5, 2020

It's crazy to me that 5 weeks have gone by and the course is over! This course has taught me so much and has caused me to be more inquisitive, and more optimistic. I've learned about the physics of space, and I've learned about people. I've learned about types of planets, the way the Earth moves geographically, and I've learned about the moons of Saturn. You'd think that this course wouldn't be this widespread, but wow it is! This course opens you up to learn new things, and you can continue to learn in greater detail about the topics discussed based on your interests. You can think about where you fit into the world, the solar system, the galaxy, and beyond. I'm so glad I took this course, and I encourage EVERYONE to take it! You will be changed.

By Riya

Aug 13, 2015

A comprehensive and fascinating introduction to astrobiology. The course is delivered by an excellent team and offers valuable insight into the cutting-edge field.

I would just like to mention to anyone thinking of taking this course that while it is indeed catered to beginners, there are some sections in which it would be helpful to have a basic understanding of cell biology (ultrastructure in particular) as technical terminology is used and could potentially be overwhelming without some prior knowledge.

However this only applies to a small part of the course and the rest is very much accessible. Highly recommended.

By Vesta P

May 10, 2020

For a while I've struggled to unite my love for astronomy and biology in a way that both subjects have a role in my life, so needless to say that discovering the field of Astrobiology has been the perfect gift. This course is excellent for getting that first feeling of the subject, the questions it attempts to answer and the methods used. The information is presented in a concise yet very captivating manner and the summaries at the end of each lecture are a huge help. A big thank you to Prof. Cockell for his enthusiasm and engagement and to the team that made this course possible - would definitely recommend!

By Deborah D

May 8, 2020

This was a fun course and not hard to keep up with. I look forward to using my knowledge to read more about current research looking for extraterrestrial life. One thing that might make the course even better would be an update, since the lectures are from a number of years ago at this point. The update could be simple, like a short reading or short lecture that comes at the end to provide a quick update on what new things have happened since the course was recorded. Alternatively, please make it clear *when* the course was created so that we know how much time has passed since then!

By Karthik S K

Jun 13, 2016

Astrobiology is one of the most interesting field in science having profound implications in our view of our daily life. The course has been framed to provide a basic understanding of concepts involved in the field of Astrobiology. Professor Charles Cockell was just amazing to dramatizes events spanning more than 4 billion years of our Planet. The lectures had the materials and stuff to stimulate a persons curiosity, to wonder about his origin and the place in this cosmos. The lecture makes one ponder and was very connective in a deeper sense. TOTALLY EXTRA-TERRESTIAL!

By Tara A E

Jul 28, 2020

Incredibly interesting course. It covers such a wide array of information, that could be easily completed and absorbed during the week by week time frames. The lectures were very well-done and engaging. I was very interesting to cover topics that I would not have though to have had implications with Astrobiology. As a Palaeobiologist and Evolutionary Biologist, I did not think about possible associations between my research fields and Astrobiology, but I was amazed to discover them. I look forward to learning more about Astrobiology in the future.

By Al F

Jul 27, 2020

An excellent overview of Astrobiology. This course is not in depth; it would need to have many more lectures to cover in detail all the topics it touches upon. It mentions historical achievements in space exploration, considerations of biology, chemistry and a little bit of physics outside of our world and gives an idea of what future advancements may look like. I noted all the topics that really interest me so I can look them up to get more in depth knowledge. The professor's tone and pace are very engaging. Overall a great summary of the field.

By Amina H

May 4, 2020

I had so much fun learning about Astrobiology from this course. Professor Charles Cockell is very cohesive, clear, and engaging. The questions at the forum are quickly answered and they are such a good place to further discuss and learn about a particular topic that you might be interested in. Although the course is a bit old, it is nonetheless resourceful in many ways and you are welcome to update yourself as you go through the course. I highly recommend this course to anyone fascinated by space exploration efforts.

By Kamille M L

Feb 13, 2019

This course summarizes the study of astrobiology in very direct and clear lectures. Every topic relevant to the study is mentioned, including many historic events and discoveries. As someone who has been interested in astrobiology and has been exposed to this new field of study by collaborating in outreach with astrobiologists like Dr. Abel Mendez in Puerto Rico, this course provides a brief compendium and an open invitation to get involved. I look forward to more ways of learning astrobiology online.

By Ilaria E

Apr 3, 2017

Highly interesting and informative course, it gives you a well balanced overview of the subject and act as a springboard to delve further into the study of the Universe and its marvels. Personally I really enjoyed professor Cockell's lessons, I found him amiable and his teaching clear.

If anything, I would say it is advisable to have a second source of information concerning space missions and science discoveries as some of these go back to 2013-2014, when the course was likely prepared.