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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Emergence of Life by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

100 ratings

About the Course

How did life emerge on Earth? How have life and Earth co-evolved through geological time? Is life elsewhere in the universe? Take a look through the 4-billion-year history of life on Earth through the lens of the modern Tree of Life! This course will evaluate the entire history of life on Earth within the context of our cutting-edge understanding of the Tree of Life. This includes the pioneering work of Professor Carl Woese on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus which revolutionized our understanding with a new "Tree of Life." Other themes include: -Reconnaissance of ancient primordial life before the first cell evolved -The entire ~4-billion-year development of single- and multi-celled life through the lens of the Tree of Life -The influence of Earth system processes (meteor impacts, volcanoes, ice sheets) on shaping and structuring the Tree of Life This synthesis emphasizes the universality of the emergence of life as a prelude for the search for extraterrestrial life....

Top reviews


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Excellent lectures. Personal transformation observed while watching.


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Enjoyed every minute of the course and learned so much at the same time!

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1 - 25 of 34 Reviews for Emergence of Life

By Channa G

Mar 16, 2019

Enjoyed every minute of the course and learned so much at the same time!

By Sofia S

Feb 23, 2021

This is like a ghost course. Nobody rated my work on time and I ultimately missed the opportunity to earn a certificate. I invested money on this and I lost my money. If you are interested in joinning this course, please don't as it will be a waste of money.

By Michael S

Jan 14, 2019

Course is top-notch. It is nothing less than an excellent survey of the 4.6 billion year history of life on Earth and beyond. The lessons are well researched and presented with intelligence and wit by Dr. Bruce Fouke and Ms. Carley Miller. Content and delivery are ideal for distance learning. The material draws from among the fields of geology, paleontology, biology, and the ground-breaking work of Carl Woese. There is sufficient challenge in the quizzes and discussion topics to really engage with the material and learn. Highly recommended!

By Jerold L D

May 16, 2020

This was a terrific course. Some of the instructions for submission and grading (and grading of other course takers) may have been confusing. I completed all assignments. The only ones I couldn't were those requesting I grade another student - and there were no submissions by other students to grade. I have gotten what I wanted from this course and intend to do more thru Un Illinois. Some dino courses thru Alberta. Thank you for your service. Jerry Dodson

By Frances G

Feb 12, 2021

Learned a lot as an auditor; the teachers were excellent : professional and charismatic .

By shenyan z

Apr 11, 2017

Excellent lectures. Personal transformation observed while watching.

By Sourav C

Aug 7, 2017

The course materials especially the multiple choice questions are intentionally designed to fail students. The assignments are not good and why it should be checked by peers and why we should be subjected to write two different essays on same week and check others for no reasons. There is an over emphasis on Carl Woese and his works and less emphasis on other important course materials, the lectures are not that engaging and not good explaination is provided and students are flooded with lectures on Carl Woese and his greatness which I find pretty baffling and time consuming.

I expected more from this course but compared to other courses this one is more challenging and intentionally designed to over emphasize Carl Woese and fail students by repeatedly bombarding us by needless written assignments.

By Jakob G

Jul 8, 2019

This couse is addressing an interesting subject in an easily accessible way for a newbie, but suffers from a lack of fact checking here and there. Being no expert myself, I couldn't validate the majority of the course content, but when I knew something of the subject the errors were obvious.

Placing a middle-aged male before the camera, telling the story as he knows it, without proper fact checking is not a smart thing to do when your students sits all over the world with Goodle on their second screen.

The other/secondary speakers were good though!

By David M T

Jul 17, 2019

Extremely disappointed.

I don't consider the content is at a level most people looking for enrolling this course would expect. It gets the feeling of science communication videos rather than a professional lectures. The absence of full lectures with specialists on the topic build an unsettling feeling for conceptual mistakes by the instructor, not to mention that it is quite boring. (with the greatest respect)

The mechanics the course pretend for you to follow are quite hard to overcome. First of all, the discussion assignments are build on search in other sources (which is a good thing), but the "lectures" come to little to no use. Finally, the quiz content is very confusing. Even if the overall course content is quite basic, it seems that the intention of the quiz is for you to fail.

I've taken other courses on the origin and evolution of life and by far, this has so much work to be done to be at a good level.

By Josef P

Sep 28, 2016

This course offer a lot of interesting topics, but the way of their presentation is not very amazing, so the student loses easily the concentration.


Jul 28, 2020

Definitely one of the best online courses I have ever taken. I have always been interested in the concepts of evolution and how it relates with other fields in biology. I had just searched for 'evolution' on coursera and found this course. After starting it, I realized that this is exactly what I wanted.

Prof. Bruce Fouke and Carly Miller are amazing instructors, who are passionate about the subject and about teaching, which makes this course very enjoyable to take.

The unique style of assessments also provided for a detailed understanding of the material and allowed us to research more about the subjects than was covered in the course itself.

By Wendy M

Aug 9, 2019

Excellent, informative, great video lessons and I enjoyed the unit quizzes to test your knowledge. Also the unit essays on such a wide range of topics were great. The forums are a good idea - it was just a shame that not so many learners doing this concurrently. But overall it is still a really great course.

By D.

Apr 6, 2017

An excellent course! Drs Bruce and Carlie really made the course enjoyable, and their combination was crucial to my enjoyment and knowledge gained. Thanks so much for the course and the huge amount of work you must have put into it.

By Victoria C L

Jan 7, 2018

A first-rate experience - some new ideas, some review, all excellent. Good quality speakers. Next time, use cats instead of ferrets, more well-behaved. Ideas are built on each other in a good ed-psych way. Bravo/brava.

By Nikhat A M

Sep 6, 2017

Superb instructor!

And very precise and detailed information.

Thank you so much for putting together such a beautiful course.

By Sikandar H

Dec 3, 2022

Excellent course with challenging assignments. I wish the peer-review would be more systematic and timely.

By Alex B

May 20, 2020

Really fascinating videos and engaging lecturers. I learned a lot!

By Muhammed S K M

Jul 12, 2020

Fantastic course. Its worth of spending your time on this course..

By Anthony M

Apr 9, 2018

Very Interesting subject matter.

By Ramkumar.D

Feb 7, 2018

very useful

By Mona A A

Jul 31, 2020


By Claudette D

Nov 30, 2019


By Richard K

Mar 23, 2019

very well done. i would like to have the quizzes graded without having to pay.

By Francine

Nov 5, 2016

Very interesting course, with old jazz music at the beginnings of the videos!

By k b

Nov 7, 2022

course was good, but I did not do the quizes.