I absolutely LOVED Big History! It's so interesting and insightful!! I highly recommend everyone to take this course, you will learn a lot about the world! Thank you Professor Christian and Baker!! :)
Finally! A creation myth based on evidence and multiple scientific disciplines for all humans is here! The time for stories based on speculation and superstition for the chosen group is finally over.
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This is a good course. I liked the idea of the 9 thresholds of increasing complexity, with the energy required, the Goldilocks conditions, and emergence. I want to think about this a bit more, and see how I can apply it to other, smaller, thresholds.
I like the idea of restoring the idea of a story to history. It's time to think about whether we should be moving into the driver's seat, and whether we have any idea of where we want to go.
What would it take to make this a great course? The Discussion Forums don't seem to sparkle the way they do with some other courses I have done. I have completed other Coursera offerings, such as Origins (University of Copenhagen Natural History Museum), Our Earth (Climate, History, and Processes - University of Manchester), and Introduction to Genetics & Evolution (Duke University), and there was a lot of discussion among students. I felt that I learned a lot from the discussions, and not just the formal lectures. I also noticed the lecturers participating in the discussions. I cannot understand why this hasn't happened on this course, but it is part of my feeling that this course has a way to go yet.
By Thomas S P•
Very interesting course. I have a bit of as background in physics and anthropology. I used to love hearing Terence Mckenna talk about the world from a psychedelic point of view. However this course has underpinned all that knowledge with a multi disciplined approach and was really interesting. There are a number of different tutors which teach on the different sections. There was only one of them I didn't like; he was clearly just reading from a script and had no expression on his face at all. But the rest of them, including the main course leader, were brilliant and seemed really invested in whatever they were teaching you. I feel there could have been more interactive activities offered. There were only quizzes at the end of the modules which were really easy and didn't take much effort or though usually. The content and the way that they structured the content of the course was brilliant though. It mapped a really nice story of the universe and its something I wouldn't mind running through again to learn more. I feel like it would be like a film where you pick up more the 2nd time round. The resources were useful too.
By Richard H•
I loved the course, I agree upon the age history of the Universe and physical Earth, but do not buy human evolution from other primates for a minute. I have studied this problem for too long and the linkage is weak. Bypassing recorded written human history, calling fossil history more important is a very big error for any Historian. The historical Evidence really shows that some Being or Beings intervened in mankind within the last 10,000 years, with the introduction of Language, probably with the introduction of mankind himself by these beings we refer to as God. This history is left out of the Big History course, not even mentioned as a possibility. For that decisively selective direction of this history teaching I must give the course only 4 and not 5 stars. A Historian must cover ALL the possibilities and let the student of history examine the Evidences seen and written. That is what I do.
By R J•
The topics covered by Big History make for an excellent introductory college course and general education requirement. It connects together research from a great many academic departments found at a university and encourages students to ask themselves how they know what they know. But in the absence of alternative examples from cosmic, biological and non-western existence as well as established quantitative methods to measure complexity, Big History ultimately fails its own test of critical thinking and becomes a “just so” story which must be accepted on authority alone.
By Jay L•
A logical expansion of the way history should be taught, Big History starts with the Big Bang and moves on from there. The historical information is not new but the perspective it encourages provides a way to tie history closer to science and the major events that have changed the universe, our world and human life. To often in history we get caught up in the details. Big History makes sure that the big picture, and how we fit into it, is always visible.
By Nina F•
I really enjoyed this course. It was interesting learning about the history of the universe as well as many other things. There was so much I didn't know before taking this course. It's interesting to see just how far the world and its people has come since the beginning. My only recommendation for this course would be to update some of the links. I found that some of the links didn't work or didn't exist anymore.
By Shaun L T G•
This is a good course for anyone interested in the History of the world from billions of years ago till now. As a Humanities student, I found some scientific explanations on the formations of stars/ Solar System/ Chemistry to be a tad tough but overall, the interactive and engaging way in which facts were presented and the claim testers really got me to think critically and see knowledge in an inter-connected way!
By John S S I•
Good course to show that the sum total of what the Earth is today and what she is capable of is truly the sum of everything that has had an effect on the Earth since the Big Bang. Had the environment been off slightly in heat, H2O, O2, etc., the right elements had not been present, there had been not liquid water, no lightning, etc., there may not have formed life on the planet and Earth might be more like Mars.
By D S•
Love the course and the concepts ... some points conveyed as facts, glossed over quickly as "givens" which might have been more accurately portrayed as best present knowledge and/or theory. There is also a political slant in here, maybe an activist angle ... OK, I am aligned, it just steps over the line of learning into advocacy (leave that for the TED talk).
By Vernon G•
Initial reaction: Superb……Lectures are succinct and understandable. Support material seems well selected and informative. Forums are lively and peopled by very interested students……
Towards the end of the course however I began to wonder about the efficacy of some of the claims and I had a growing doubt about much of the material used…...