About this Course
4.4
90 ratings
28 reviews
In this course you will learn how evolution works. You will develop an understanding of evolutionary processes and their formative power. You will see how evolution has shaped biodiversity, and continuously influences our daily life. Evolution impacts human endeavors as varied as medicine, agriculture, psychology, economy, and culture. It is the major unifying principle for biology and a fundamental natural law. In five weeks we will make evolution accessible for you and help you to recognize evolutionary processes around you, in nature as well as in society. We make use of the unique collection of Naturalis, the natural history museum in Leiden, but also take you to the field. Using classical and up-to-date examples, we will show you how scientists address evolutionary questions. In the last module, we will have a look at the future. How will humans evolve? And how do we influence our own evolution and that of other organisms? This course is aimed at anybody with a drive to obtain a deeper, broader, and pragmatic understanding of evolution, including high-school students, BSc (undergraduate) biology students, MSc (graduate) students from other disciplines, medical professionals, conservation officers and educators in museums, libraries, national parks, and schools....
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

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Suggested: 5 hours/week

Approx. 13 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 5 hours/week

Approx. 13 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Welcome to the course Evolution Today

Great that you are joining us! In this course you will learn about Evolution. Before you start with this course we invite you to first take a look around and meet your fellow learners. We would like to know what brings you here and what you would like to get out of the course. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Helpdesk. Good luck & we hope you will enjoy studying in this course! ...
Reading
6 readings
Reading6 readings
Meet the instructors & the team2m
Welcome to Leiden University!3m
Complete our short survey10m
Study tips for studying online5m
Being successful in an international virtual learning community5m
Behaving in an academic way5m

2

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Do we change?

In this module, you are going to learn that a very powerful mechanism, natural selection, leads to evolutionary change. We are going to have a detailed look at what is required for this natural selection. And, knowing these conditions, we can judge whether traits in humans are evolving at the moment. This is a surprisingly simple module. I am looking forward to discuss human evolution with you at the end!...
Reading
5 videos (Total 20 min), 5 readings, 5 quizzes
Video5 videos
Natural Selection4m
Natural Selection in the Field4m
Dialogue6m
Sexual selection4m
Reading5 readings
Evolution is Everywhere5m
Observe it with your own eyes!10m
Online lab simulated evolution10m
Eyes, HIV and Human Body Height10m
Science evolves5m
Quiz5 practice exercises
Natural Selection2m
Natural Selection in the Field3m
Human Evolution2m
Sexual Selection4m
Test your knowledge10m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

How do we change?

This is a real puzzle-module. We are going to decipher the language of DNA, and see that mutations in this DNA lead to new variation. As we saw, variation is the raw material for natural selection. Thus, take your pen and pencil and unravel with me the code of your own DNA!...
Reading
5 videos (Total 20 min), 2 readings, 4 quizzes
Video5 videos
DNA4m
Mutation4m
Dialogue2m
Evo-devo8m
Reading2 readings
Imperfect weasels10m
Gene Switches10m
Quiz4 practice exercises
E-tivity: translating a short human gene15m
E-tivity: mutations in human genes15m
E-tivity: playing with Hox-genes5m
Test your knowledge15m

4

Section
Clock
5 hours to complete

Who is this "we" anyway?

In the first two modules, we have asked ourselves whether we experience evolutionary change, and if so, how this change comes about. In this module, we will explore who this "we" is anyway: is it us, the individual? Is it our species? Our genes? Who is in charge here?...
Reading
6 videos (Total 35 min), 5 readings, 6 quizzes
Video6 videos
Levels of Organization4m
Selfish Units8m
Supressing Selfishness6m
Promoting Collaboration7m
Discussion7m
Reading5 readings
The false allure of group selection by Steven Pinker30m
Distinguishing between Selfish DNA and The Selfish Gene10m
Selfish cells30m
Video lecture on behavioral evolution by Robert Sapolsky30m
Green beards and eusociality in the Red Imported Fire Ant20m
Quiz6 practice exercises
Units of Selection5m
The Good of the Species5m
Single Round Prisoner's Dilemma5m
Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma10m
Hamilton's rule5m
Test your knowledge30m
4.4

Top Reviews

By YYSep 7th 2017

Excellent course! REALLY informative and the exercise questions are helpful in understanding the concepts!

By VVMay 29th 2017

Interesting, good examples and case study, whole content of the course is good.

Instructors

Menno Schilthuizen

Prof. Dr.
Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Leiden University

Maurijn van der Zee

Dr.
Leiden University

Rutger Vos

Dr.
Naturalis Biodiversity Center

About Universiteit Leiden

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish. Our motto is: Praesidium Libertatis — Bastion of Liberty....

About Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Naturalis is the natural history museum of the Netherlands and the national research institute in biodiversity. We collect, conserve and study animals, plants and rocks. Our collection now contains 37 million objects and that makes it one of the largest in the world. And it is still growing each day thanks to the worldwide fieldwork of our researchers and many amateur scientists....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.