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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology by University of Alberta

2,856 ratings
983 reviews

About the Course

Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology is a 12-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of non-avian dinosaurs. Topics covered: anatomy, eating, locomotion, growth, environmental and behavioral adaptations, origins and extinction. Lessons are delivered from museums, fossil-preparation labs and dig sites. Estimated workload: 3-5 hrs/week....

Top reviews

Apr 5, 2017

Thank you for this excellent course! I really enjoyed the short videos, the concise notes, and quick quizzes (both at the end of each lesson, as well as the main point quizzes throughout the videos).

Oct 17, 2020

Even as a dinosaur nerd, I still learned a lot. Instructional videos with embedded quizzes were very well constructed. I'm just a bit bummed that I couldn't access the fossil viewer for some reason.

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By Arminty C

May 12, 2021

Good course for a very broad and shallow introduction to the group Dinosauria and the changes of Earth during the time of the dinosaurs.

The lecture handouts really need to be proof-read to eliminate typos, grammatical errors, inconsistent use of American and British English, inconsistent information, and inaccurate information (predentary bone in upper jaw...). There are also instances where something could be better explained/integrated with the course, for example in Lesson 3 when Betsy says: "this is a cross-section of a hadrosaur jaw" but doesn't point out any features on it so it is not at all informative.

The functionality of the course on Chrome is very problematic. For the questions asked during the lecture videos, the answer window pops up at most 1 second after the question diagram is finished being drawn. Sometimes this means you have about 0.5 second to memorize the diagram as the answer choices are simply letters (A, B, etc.). Other times, the answers and their corresponding buttons to click are separated vertically by a lot of space. The fossil viewer does not work at all in Chrome which is a real disappointment.

Assuming the "F15" in the lecture handout filenames indicates that they were created in fall of 2015, and many other students have pointed out the above issues, I find it difficult to believe that previous students have not pointed out the same issues. I am not sure if there is any "upkeep" being done to this course since its creation. I would have given the course five stars if these issues had been corrected.

By Susan D

May 18, 2021

This course was well constructed with the learning objectives supported by the videos. Unfortunately, my computer wouldn't allow me to view the fossil cabinet so I missed out on that aspect of the course. I plan to go back and read some of the supplemental material cited in the Objectives section. I have to date viewed any of that material. Some of the material, for example the tests at the end of the units, were pretty simplistic--not that I object to that. What was difficult to assimilate were the sections where great clumps of information were spit out quickly. It was impossible to follow the segment, for example, on the pseudosuchians and dinosauromorphs as it went so quickly. Another segment that was difficult to follow concerned Larasia and Gondwana and the various dinos existing there. I was lost at marginocephalian, ornithomimid, semilunite carpel, therizinosaur all in the space of a minute. Nevertheless, I can always go back and rewatch segments. Everything was clear, organized, and well presented. Loved the chart of the time periods. Obviously, I have much more to learn.

By Daniel H

Dec 17, 2021

Overall, I thought this was actually quite a nice introductory course to dinosaur paleobiology. Not only did it cover a lot of ground in the core subject (dinosaur diversity, lifestyles, phylogeny, and extinction), but it also went over evolution, finding fossils, and taphonomy and preservation in a succinct manner. It also dispelled some common myths and possible misconceptions about dinosaurs. The most I would do with it is perhaps update it a bit, as I have seen some information that seems to be more outdated. For example, I remember drawings for Spinosaurus are still long-legged (it has since been found to have short legs and a paddle-like tail). Also, I am pretty sure therizinosaurs are largely thought of as herbivorous by modern paleontologists, even though the course portrays their diet to still be ambiguous. Nevertheless, great course.

By Robert C D J

Jun 6, 2018

After completing this course, I still find it very interesting that the presenters and the chief paleontologist believe that the earth and her inhabitants are millions of years old. It's a bunch of nonsense. Especially the fact that evolution is a a theory and not scientific fact. Darwin refuted his own theory while on his death bed. Read is bibliography. Anyways, aside from the false science of evolution presented in this course, it was informative to a degree, a bit humorous, based on the assumption that birds came from dinosaurs (really?), and somewhat fulfilling. As a Christian who believes in biblical science which supports a young earth, I wold like to see both sides of evolution and creationism presented in future courses for this particular topic.

By Minka G

Aug 17, 2020

Well made course, very interesting. Besides giving an insight on what is known about dinosaurs, the way the knowledge is reached is also described. The material is really good overall, the videos as well as the reading. A lot of practical examples are shown, such as fossils.

I followed the entire course using x2 speed on the videos. The fossil viewer did not work for me. Besides, the last few weeks of content seemed less interesting, I think it might be due to a lack of variation throughout the course.

Overall, the course was really nice. I enjoyed learning more about my childhood fascination and recommended the course to two acquaintances.

By Cheryl P

Mar 11, 2021

I really enjoyed this course. The video presentations were great and easy to follow. Being able to read along with the notes while watching and listening to the video was a help for some of the words I couldn't quite catch on the video, seeing them helped a lot. I would have liked to see more actual fossils, some of the digs etc. But maybe that's another class option? Thank you so much for providing these classes free of charge. I have always had an interest in Paleology and this gives me an opportunity to explore that interest from home. I hope to continue with more classes.

By Davina S

Nov 21, 2020

A fun introduction to paleobiology with a great overview of fossils, evolution. geology, periodization, dinosaur anatomy and taxonomy.

I enjoyed the video lectures and visuals. The small questions embedded in the videos were interactive and fun. The quiz at the end of each week was mildly challenging and helped reinforce the information from the lectures.

My only complaint is that the "fossil viewer" never worked. I'm certain it would have been very enriching and it was bitterly disappointing that we could never use it.

By Emily S

Dec 20, 2020

The course info was amazing, and very well-taught. I am a huge dinosaur enthusiast, and while there was definitely information I already knew, there was plenty I didn't! The only reason for the 4-stars instead of 5 is that sometimes, the subtitles weren't correct. There were often misspellings or incorrect/made-up words instead of the correct terms or species names. While I am not deaf/HoH, I do use the subtitles, and if it was distracting for me, it could be detrimental to a student who needs them for accessibility.

By Ishaan K

Jun 9, 2017

Really enjoyed this course. It gave me a deeper insight into theories and characteristics surrounding dinosaurs and their existence, and at the same time, told me a great deal of new things about their classification, characteristics and evolutionary context. I liked the clarity with which facts were presented and the stress that was applied on the idea of hypotheses and their acceptance/rejection. It inspired me to think more scientifically about the world around us.

By Craig D

Nov 20, 2020

I've learned a lot in this course, although it appears to have been recorded in 2013 based on the unique number Dr. Currie wrote on the fossil. So I'd like to know how our knowledge has changed since then. I'm still undecided on whether or not to purchase the certificate, but an updated course would be good and I would then be much more likely to purchase the certificate. I could not access the 3D fossils and the interactive geological time didn't work correctly.

By Jamie F

Sep 22, 2021

I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot about a subject that I was very interested in but didn't know much about the subject. I would have given the course a 5-star rating except some of the reading material had some spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors that could and should easily be corrected. They are the kind of errors that would lose points if they were a graded assignment given to a student in a university course. Other than that I loved it!

By G. R D

Jun 9, 2020

The course material is interesting for amateurs who wants to have a better understanding of dinosaurs and the videos are well done and interesting.

However, at times I found the course notes to be written poorly (with repetitive, over-simplified language and some mistakes here and there) and the forums looks somewhat empty to me.

Thank you for the effort, I hope the course gets updated with new material i time!