Chevron Left
Back to Big History - From the Big Bang until Today

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Big History - From the Big Bang until Today by University of Amsterdam

4.6
stars
174 ratings
60 reviews

About the Course

Welcome to this Big History course! In this course, renowned scientists and scholars from the University of Amsterdam and beyond will take you on a journey from the Big Bang until today while addressing key questions in their fields. After completing this journey you will have developed a better understanding of how you and everything around you became the way they are today. You will also have gained an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that have helped shape the history of everything and how they wil help shape the future. Last but not least, you will have developed the skill to use this knowledge to put smaller subjects into a bigger perspective with the aid of the little big history approach, which can help you develop some new ideas on these smaller subjects....

Top reviews

RR

Jun 23, 2018

Everyone should do this course! The ongoing assignment is challenging but well worth the effort - it will open your eyes to connections that you may never have thought about.

RR

Jun 01, 2020

I got to know a lot about this course and I am happy that I invested my time in learning this course....\n\nThanks to Coursera and their excellent teaching faculties....!!

Filter by:

1 - 25 of 59 Reviews for Big History - From the Big Bang until Today

By Sophie Z

Feb 10, 2019

Extremely interesting with engaging and knowledgeable professors. I had to watch some videos a few times and pause in places to absorb the somewhat-dense content, and if you don't have an introductory knowledge of physics and biology (maybe first-year university level?) it may be more difficult due to the increased density of the information. However, concepts are explained clearly and succinctly, making even the most difficult concepts palatable.

By Diego L

Aug 29, 2020

Until today, the best course I have taken on Coursera. Its teachers are experts in different disciplines: astronomers, physicists, biologist, chemists, historian, anthropologists... ¡Thanks Mrs. Quaedackers!

SUBTÍTULOS EN ESPAÑOL: Si vas a estudiar este curso en español, tienes que saber que los subtítulos de los viedos tienen un error. Se traduce la palabra en inglés "billion" (mil millones de años) como "billón" en español (un millón de millones de años).

By Antony J D H

Oct 09, 2017

Antony Harper <ajdharper@gmail.com>

9:50 AM (5 minutes ago)

to E.Ouaedackers

Dear Dr. Quaedackers,

I have just finished the Coursera course, Big History: From the Big Bang until Today, and found it a very worthwhile experience. If you can bear with me, I have a few (hopefully) helpful comments; if not please metaphorically shred this email and place in the bottom of your canary cage. The canary is optional.

The course was well organized both per presentation and per weekly topic, and the tempo of the course was appropriate. Having a transcribed text to accompany each presentation was quite helpful, although at times, due to the text being voice-prompted, the accents of the various speakers produced unique spellings, initially difficult to recognize as English. [Please note that were the arrangement reversed and, say, my American English accent were to be voice-morphed into Dutch spelling, who knows what would be produced! So, this last is not a criticism but rather an observation.] In particular, I found the combination of both a narrative approach to Big History and a conceptual one, the concepts being embedded within the overall narrative, a very effective mode of presentation, especially with the ultimate expectation of students producing a Little Big History on some personally valued topic.

With regard to the presenters themselves, all come off as experts who are genuinely motivated by the nature of their fields of study and by their responsibility to present in your course. While I did not complete a head-count of the total number of presenters, it was certainly in double digits and possibly in the twenties; what a nightmare to schedule and organize! My hat is off to you and your staff on this last point. While time per presentation is of the essence and the focus of the course was well established, it would have been interesting to have each presenter, either as a portion of their presentation or as a text addendum to the presentation, comment on the perspective that Big History gives to their specific research. Moving on…….

My formal training is in biology and at the graduate level, zoology with emphasis in ecology and evolution. This last is mentioned so you can take what follows with a grain of salt, i.e. my comments are biased by my background and are unnecessarily ladened with expectation. It would have been nice if the portion of the course dealing with the history of life spent a bit more time on mechanisms, specifically with respect to recovery from mass extinctions, and it would have been equally nice if comparisons of evolved complexity of succeeding ecologies were made between mass extinctions. Penultimately, after the Permo-Triassic extinction Lystrosaurus is the only large terrestrial vertebrate to appear in the fossil record. This poses some interesting ecological problems with respect to food source, predators, pathogens, and biomass, perhaps worth some consideration in a future version of the course. [Note here that Wignall (2015) suggests a slough of extinctions occurring over 80 million years beginning just prior to the P-T boundary and extending to the end of the Triassic and into the early Jurassic. Also note that Wignall suggests that biomass recovers quite quickly while biodiversity requires significantly more time to recover. If correct, this is an interesting phenomenon associated with recovery from collapse of complex systems in general!] Finally, convergent evolution should be considered more thoroughly both in temporal sequence, e.g. Phytosaurs to Crocodilians and with respect to the convergence of adaptive radiations themselves, e.g. Marsupials v. Placentals.

In closing, your course is excellent, and I would recommend it without qualification to anyone wishing a broader perspective of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. In conjuction with your course, I purchased Prof. Spier’s Big History and the Future of Humanity and found it a very worthwhile companion. The assigned writings were excellent and the capstone project very effective. Well done here! I do however have some concerns regarding the use of multiple choice questions, particularly when the payoff for being “correct” is so heavily skewed toward making errors; reward for learning should not be so constrained. Also, the position of Big History within formal academics, something that is currently only now being established, might be a valuable discussion topic to consider in the future. Further, asking students to submit their own unanswered Big History questions at the end of the course might be enlightening to both the student population and the presenters. Beyond these few admittedly narrow concerns and as mentioned previously, this course is excellent.

Many, many thanks for a first rate educational experience,

Tony Harper

Wignall, Paul B. 2015. The Worst of Times: How Life on Earth Survived Eighty Million

Years of Extinctions. Princeton. Princeton University Press.

By David H

Oct 12, 2018

A truly fascinating course. I have only a limited knowledge of science, but I have a growing fascination with astronomy and origins of the universe, life and the possibility of other life one day being discovered beyond Earth.

This course has allowed my to explore this fascination, even if it has stretched my understanding of scientific formulas and calculations. And I maybe still just as clueless about particle physics and Higgs bosom.

By Florencia H

Jul 13, 2020

This course is fantastic! It approaches Cosmic & Human History, Evolution and other topics with clear explanations, great teachers and applicable examples. The Little Big History approach allowed me to comprehend these topics and apply them to my own knowledge - my academic background is far from natural sciences (history & law) and I had no problem understanding the classes. The short duration (4 weeks) is also very approachable.

By John R

Aug 15, 2017

Another very innovative presentation of the history of the universe. This course shows the interrelationship of the various disciplines of academic study. No single discipline can be used to explain all the history of the universe. The selection of various subject areas, and stated in the beginning not all inclusive, allowed me to see how multiple ideas can interact. Thank you for a very interesting course.

By Raúl P M

Mar 23, 2018

He tenido un enorme gusto de encontrarme con este tema en Coursera.

Tiene muchos años que estoy interesado en la Big History, y este curso ha sido una excelente propuesta (los "pequeños grandes relatos") para aprender del tema.

Ojalá que la Universidad de Ámsterdam ofrezca otros cursos sobre BH.

By Jan M B

Mar 26, 2017

I followed the lessons of the course with great interest. I like to make a compliment to the professors and to the editors of the course material. The resulting insight into Big History has already helped me to better understand environmental problems and reports of newly discovered planets.

By Eric F V S

Sep 14, 2017

I give my deepest thanks to all the teachers who shared their knowledge in this excellent course and especially to Professor Esther Quaedackers and her principal instructor. I found the learning acquired through all the modules of the course to be very valu

By Yvonne F

May 22, 2017

Enganging and empowering! The little big history assignments seemed rather intimidating at first, but it greatly helped to engage with big history more deeply. Don’t hesitate to switch sessions and take more time to think and write the assignments.

By Swami M

May 09, 2020

New perspective on history, a history that is local and evolving and personal. And everyone can be a historian and this course gives them a tool to go about systematically to create little histories that are close to their heart.

By Richard R

Jun 23, 2018

Everyone should do this course! The ongoing assignment is challenging but well worth the effort - it will open your eyes to connections that you may never have thought about.

By Ritika R

Jun 01, 2020

I got to know a lot about this course and I am happy that I invested my time in learning this course....

Thanks to Coursera and their excellent teaching faculties....!!

By Pablo E G S

Apr 27, 2018

Its a excellent course, teachers explain many interesting things about the space, the history of the universe, our planet and the future of the space explorations.

By Gala C

Sep 02, 2020

It was different from what I expected, but I really enjoyed ir. Very interesting course, it gives you a better understanding of the world and the universe.

By Neel P

Jul 03, 2020

I enjoyed the course alot. The professors explained the lectures very well. Learned alot of things. Thanks Coursera and University of Amsterdam.

By Rubén G G

Sep 07, 2020

Excelente curso, me fascino, gracias a los maestros de la Universidad de Ámsterdam que nos han transmitido sus valiosos conocimientos.

By Stephen C

May 21, 2017

Fantastic diversity of top teachers from so many disciplines all tied together to show the Big Picture! Thank you all!

By Sergio I G T

Nov 09, 2017

Curso Excelente que ofrece una visión general de la historia a través de un emocionante formato, muy recomendado

By JOHN Q

Nov 28, 2017

Great course with a bunch of wonderful and exciting concepts. I totally enjoyed the course! Thanks so much.

By Rachel A

Mar 02, 2017

Thoroughly enjoyed this course. The assignment was also very appropriate, I enjoyed the challenge of complet

By Gleb S

Mar 24, 2020

I was extremely impressed by how smartly the course tutors squeezed the big history into 4 weeks.

By Angelina W

Jul 15, 2020

A very good survey of the universe's history without getting too technical about it.

By Maria J M A

Apr 23, 2020

I understood that only by knowing the past can we face the challenges of the future

By John O O

Jun 25, 2020

An amazing course to understand better our history and how the universe evolution!