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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Extinctions: Past, Present, & Future by Emory University

128 ratings

About the Course

This course introduces you to the five mass extinctions of the pre-human past, their causes and significance to the history of life on earth, and the current mass extinction happening during our time. We’ll also explore the history of paleontology and geological study and review the key players that influenced the science today. Regardless of your familiarity with the topic, you'll get portable handouts, lively demonstrations, and quizzes that bridge and enhance your knowledge....

Top reviews


Sep 28, 2020

Great course for the non-professional student- keeps the subject matter discussions light and contemporary. Especially loved the idea of ecological proxy, which I had never heard before!


May 24, 2022

Bravo! A fascinating course, thank you. Dr. Martin speaks clearly and informatively with humour and insight. So many interesting subjects covered under the umbrella of "extinctions".

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1 - 25 of 55 Reviews for Extinctions: Past, Present, & Future

By Richard E

Nov 27, 2021

I enjoyed the rich course material very much and Professor Martin gave highly interest-holding lectures. The technical references provided avenues for students to take deeper dives into the course material.

Two issues with the course: (a) The course is not monitored, making it difficult for students to ask questions for clarification or get technical help with the assignments and (b) Students must review each other's submitted final assignments even though we are certainly not qualified to do so - this should be done by the professor or a teaching assistant.

In hindsight after several months, I bumped the stars from 4 to 5.

By Tracey W

Jul 12, 2020

An excellent of the best I have taken on Coursera. Dr. Martin presents the information in a well organized, enjoyable manner. Even though the format is lecture style, Dr. Martin includes many images and even takes learners on "field trips." Assigned readings are interesting and fairly current. My only complaint was with the peer-graded assignment- some of us had difficulty navigating that process. That is a Coursera technical issue, I believe, and they are working to improve that aspect of the course.

By Kate T

Jul 29, 2020

I enjoyed this course a lot. The lecturer, Anthony, has a great upbeat delivery style that isn't dry at all, which makes a refreshing change - I wish there were a few more lecturers like him when I went to uni! I also learnt a lot - and understanding the past really put into context what is happening now in regards to extinctions and climate change.

By Ellen B

Aug 4, 2020

Excellent overview of pre-human extinctions and their relationship to the current human-initiated 6th extinction.

By Michael S

Sep 20, 2020

This course has excellent content and is very well presented. The instructor is a talented teacher who adds wit and relevance to each lecture. I have taken other very good online classes in paleontology, earth science and related subjects. 'Extinctions' rates among the best for clarity and focus on the key thematic points. I gained a good working knowledge of the Big Five mass extinctions and how they may inform needed mitigation and adaptation in the future. The innovative integration of lectures and reading material is a feature of this course that makes it especially effective for distance learning. The articles and papers are sequenced with the lectures to provide very relevant insight and detail that supports each lecture. The combination enhanced my understanding and retention. I also appreciated the answering the short, four question, peer-graded, essay at the end of Week 5. It summarized some of the key teaching points and enhanced learning. Overall, this is a high quality and fun online learning experience. Highly recommended!


Aug 7, 2020


By Bob T

Jul 25, 2022

Course is very interesting. I was wondering if yopu had some sort of discount for a certificate for a senior citizen. I am 80 yrs old and am taking this course to try and keep my mind sharp. $49 is a lot for a certificate for someone on a fixed income. (especially nowdays). The certificate would not really do me any good since I am not looking for a job. Is there any way I can take the actual exams, to be graded, without receiving a certificate. I made a 90 on the 1st practice test. Thanks for your consideration.

By Vidya S

Sep 20, 2020

An excellent course... The lecturer, Anthony, has a great upbeat delivery style that isn't dry at all, which makes a refreshing change. Excellent overview of pre-human extinctions and their relationship to the current human-initiated 6th extinction.

By Ramesh S

Sep 29, 2020

Great course for the non-professional student- keeps the subject matter discussions light and contemporary. Especially loved the idea of ecological proxy, which I had never heard before!

By Kim D B

Jul 19, 2020

The professor, plus the course syllabus, and the way in which they were both presented exceeded all my hopes and expectations for learning as a beginning geology student major.

By Deleted A

Oct 6, 2020

An absolutely amazing course with an enthusiastic, engaging professor. I would give more stars if I could! I learned so much and was constantly excited for the next lesson.

By Deiby W M H

Nov 14, 2020

es un curso muy completo, me gustaría que estuviera en varios idiomas para que mas gente pudiera acceder de manera mas fácil

By María F M V

Aug 26, 2020

The course is fantastic! It's very fun, dynamic and interesting. The professor is very good at explaning each topic.

By Guy L

Oct 28, 2020

Dr. Martin made this highly informative class a joy to watch. :0)

By Akshaya M

Sep 11, 2020

very interesting course and i enjoyed learning new topics

By Dev D

Feb 1, 2022

Totally amazing!!

By Abdullah G

Jun 23, 2020

Excellent course


Feb 22, 2021

I love it!!!!

By João P S

Aug 24, 2020


By Sandra R S

Oct 25, 2021

A very complete review of the past extinctions [ including the Big Five ]. Provides a clear world view argument for climate and habitat changes that imperil all of us. The on site visit to Atlanta Botanical Garden and Seed Bank was excellent.

n.b In Lecture notes on North and South American Extinctions, Macrauchenia is misspelled.

By John G

Jan 2, 2021

I would have preferred less camera focus on the lecturer and more use of illustrations, charts, etc. It was a little boring just watching the lecturer talk.

By Ragnar L

Oct 28, 2021

To complete this course I am repeatedly coerced into purchasing the $49 Certificate of Achievement. I don't want or need this certificate. Consequently, even though having completed 91% of this course, I have decided to unenroll from it.

However, I thought the instructor, lectures, and course content were very good. I learned a lot. As such, I would recommend this course to anyone interested, with the caveat that they should beware, If they want to finish the course at 100% they will need to pony up $49 for the certificate even if they don't want or need it.

By Andrew L

Jan 27, 2022

I jumped into this class with high hopes and expectations, watched (and rewatched) the video lectures (which I enjoyed), read all the corresponding articles (that were still available), and for what? Absolutely nothing. Nice job Coursera with the "upgrade to submit your quiz". As a teacher and parent my time is limited. I have now clearly invested my time in something that is ultimately nothing more than a bait and switch.

By William M L

Jan 6, 2022

I really enjoyed this course, more so in fact than a lot of others I've taken. The course content consisted of both short videos and online readings which were manageable from a time standpoint. I liked the fact the videos were not overly long or wearisome. The instructor is nice gentleman with a likeable sense of humor and presented the videos in a concise and friendly manner. But the thing I liked the most about this course is that to me it was very interesting and even more informative. Again, definitely one of the more interesting courses I've done. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject!

By Brenda A T

May 6, 2023

The Professor has gathered fascinating information about past Earth extinctions and the direction in which we are heading as well as the rate at which we are heading toward the next extinction if we are not already enmeshed. His presentations are interesting and focused, much like an intense legal case leaving one with little room for doubt. I find myself telling everyone what we should be doing to slow down the forces that could bring about another extinction. Thank you for your wonderful insight into a very important current problem for mankind.