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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Paleontology: Early Vertebrate Evolution by University of Alberta

4.8
545 ratings
152 reviews

About the Course

Paleontology: Early Vertebrate Evolution is a four-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of the origin of vertebrates. Students will explore the diversity of Palaeozoic lineages within a phylogenetic and evolutionary framework. This course examines the evolution of major vertebrate novelties including the origin of fins, jaws, and tetrapod limbs. Students also explore key Canadian fossil localities, including the Burgess Shale (British Columbia), Miguasha (Quebec), and Man On The Hill (Northwest Territories). Watch a preview of the course here: https://uofa.ualberta.ca/courses/paleontology-vertebrate-evolution...

Top reviews

TO

Jun 21, 2016

WOW, I learned a lot form this and it was fairly educational but not overwhelming or difficult. This instructor really gets the points across without being to easy or hard. A very good class.

JC

Mar 03, 2018

Celebrate your inner fish as you swim along with this awesome course charting our earliest ancestors. Very well constructed and delivered once again by the team at the University of Alberta.

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126 - 150 of 150 Reviews for Paleontology: Early Vertebrate Evolution

By Andrés V X

Aug 21, 2019

The course was concise because you learn the major charecteristics of the groups of fishes and how they evolved into another group.

By Andre O

Sep 11, 2019

Excellent course and good depth for beginners with some general biology background. Hope they continue it for entire evolution of vertebrates. Fantastic. A

By Arash R B

Nov 15, 2018

A great course with useful and complete information. The only negative point is that there were not enough assignments for practicing and remembering.

By Richard K

May 17, 2017

Well organized and excellent presenter.

By Alexis P

Apr 11, 2016

Very interesting and compelling course, and I liked the questions every few minutes during the lectures as that helps me to retain information.

My only complaint is that the lecturer's manner of speaking is very rhythmic and repetitive and that makes it kind of hard to lose track of his words.

By Francine

May 27, 2016

Very interesting and entertaining!

By Alexander P V M

Aug 31, 2016

Although not as strong as the other palaeontology courses by the University of Alberta, the current courses takes much the same approach and uses the same teaching techniques as these other courses. As such, it easily and effectively gets the millions of years of early vertebrate evolution across clearly and concisely. The video lectures are both interactive and fun, and the course notes are both informative and well adjusted to the video lectures. If there is anything to be remarked upon, then it's the slight lack of depth as pertains to the material covered. This, however, is hardly surprising considering the highly complex material (drawing from fields as osteology, paleoecology, evolutionary and developmental biology, palaeontology and more), the speed at which it is discussed, and the level of accessibility that is provided. Overall, a very good course, and one I very much enjoyed following!

By Peter G

Feb 06, 2017

The presenter is world class, and I really enjoyed the interactive maps. The quizzes should be a bit more challenging though - perhaps learn how to identify a few fossils,

By Robert C D J

Mar 31, 2018

While I don't believe in evolution, I'm very surprised that the university would subscribe to the notion that all land vertebrates came from some creature in the ocean. Overall, the presentation of the information given could have been a bit more cleaner and steam-lined, rather than attempting to give an abundance of information that pushed the notion that every living thing on this earth came from some aquatic form. The presenter could have been a bit older, possibly someone who had a bit more experience in the field, rather than a twerp who looked like he just came out of puberty. And he talked with this hands too much. Overall, however, just to get some online classes under my belt, in a subject that I'm very interested in, i'd recommend this class as part of an introduction to paleontology itself.

By Maria M

Jul 30, 2017

I found the material and the lessons very useful and clear,. I have deduced one star, because I found it a bit difficult to assimilate so much information in such short time.

By Karthy S

Jun 27, 2016

I have learned so much from this course, thanks to Coursera and University of Alberta. This course is highly recommended for students with a passion for Evolution and Phylogeny. The handouts are also very useful.

By John P

Mar 03, 2018

Definitely an appetiser for the subject although the names and terminology are a challenge.

By サフイア ワ

Sep 20, 2017

très bien expliqué

By Henry F G

Oct 15, 2017

I believe the course should have been six weeks long instead of four. I enjoyed the course, however should have contained more detail and the quizzes should have had more questions, at least ten.

By Zoltán V

Oct 10, 2016

The professor could have been a bit more serious, he acted as if he was a kindergarden teacher. Seriously: do you really need to imitate with your hand how a fish swims? I don't think so.

Also, the pronounciation of the latin words was horrible - then again, all native English speakers have problems with it, so don't take this remark personally.

By Charles R B

Jun 19, 2017

Very fast short course, which does not go into much detail. Once again, the quiz questions are far too few to make a comprehensive test of knowledge. Save your $ for an actual full-on rated University credit course, with 30 hrs of lecture and 60 hours of homework/study/lab work.

By Adam M

May 03, 2016

i like this. this is good. good can be fun. fun has rewards...yay, i win

By Kate K

Feb 09, 2017

Difficult subject to get your head around but ultimately worth the effort. The teaching, as always with the University of Alberta's MOOCs, is second to none.

By Nicholas S

Jul 01, 2019

Amazing information, but the instructor is a little distracting.

By Richard K

Jul 21, 2019

Pretty in tense but the quizzes are pretty straightforward and the course goes pretty quickly. The diagrams helped. My first stab at real paleontology and it was a good intro.

By DC

Jun 15, 2018

The information presented was very good, though the heavy use of scientific names for various grades, clades, physical features, and assorted trait classifications was kind of overwhelming for such a short and introductory course. Perhaps the lectures could be broken up into shorter videos to have a narrower field of coverage for each one, so only a few new terms are presented at a time. The phylogenetic tree viewer still had many "locked" cards the last time I was sent to it, and no new organisms listed since module 1 or 2 even though many had already been discussed. The closed captioning and the sound seemed to be off in many places, though perhaps this was due to a poor wifi connection on my part.The biggest problem I had was with the presenter himself. Not only is he dressed like Indiana Jones for some odd reason; but his jerky, bouncy movements, exaggerated facial expressions, flailing hands and theatrical voice inflection made him VERY hard to watch and concentrate on the material presented. I actually had to pause quite a few times just to give myself a break from watching him twitching all over the place.

By Sachin R

Jul 22, 2017

This is a very informative course, but the information is extremely complicated. I had to go over the notes several times.

By Kent R C

Apr 24, 2018

Interesting, but assessments are too easy.

By Richard H

Aug 13, 2017

Three stars seems too much, two stars too few.

First and foremost, I couldn't stand the lecturer. The course description says "Taught by: Alison Murray, Ph.D, Associate Professor" but she never so much as appears on camera. Instead the material is delivered by some graduate student dressed up in what I would have assumed was a cartoonist's stereotype of paleontological field gear, and he has the most annoying, grating presentation style I've ever seen. I ended up covering his half of the screen with another window just to not have to watch him. Still had to listen to him though, delivering a script which I infer was written by Murray and other faculty. (I signed up for Ancient Marine Reptiles allegedly taught by Michael Caldwell and Halle P. Street — and in reality it was the same grad student. Same outfit. I said "oh no" and didn't continue. Couldn't take four more weeks of that guy.) Come on, how about courses taught by actual faculty members? Like The Science of the Solar System, taught by the engaging and accomplished Prof. Mike Brown, discoverer of Eris?

The material is largely "here's a Latin name of a family, here's a Latin name of a member of that family, here are some of its physiological characteristics (more unfamiliar vocabulary) — lather, rinse, repeat." Forget about passing the quizzes if you can't remember which Latin species name goes with which characteristics. I felt there was too much emphasis on individual species and not enough on overall concepts. I didn't feel I came away with a real understanding of what happened and why it happened in early vertebrate evolution... some of that was there, but it wasn't clear enough, obscured as it was by emphasis on vocabulary and rote description.

By Alma D

Apr 02, 2016

A jurassic park image, with material you can read by yourself?