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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life by Yale University

394 ratings
108 reviews

About the Course

Journey of the Universe weaves together the discoveries of the evolutionary sciences together with humanities such as history, philosophy, art, and religion. The course draws on the Emmy-award winning film, Journey of the Universe, and the book from Yale University Press. Journey explores cosmic evolution as a creative process based on connection, interdependence, and emergence. It examines a range of dynamic interactions in the unfolding of galaxies, Earth, life, and human communities. It investigates ways in which we understand evolutionary processes and the implications for humans and our ecological future. The Journey course, thus, is based on a new integration that is emerging from the dialogue of the sciences and humanities. Journey tells the story of evolution as an epic narrative, rather than as a series of facts separated by scientific disciplines. This changes our perception so that we begin to see ourselves as an integral part of this narrative. By situating ourselves within this story we can better appreciate the complexity and beauty of processes such as self-organizing dynamics, natural selection, emergence, symbiosis, and co-evolution. As we discover these intricate processes of evolution, we awaken to the beauty and complexity of our natural environment at this critical juncture in our planetary history....

Top reviews

May 4, 2020

Very, very insightful. Best course that I participated in. I simply loved it. And if you (the reader of this review) have any sort of curiosity regarding reasons of existence, this course is for you.

Oct 20, 2018

I love everything about this. Plan to go back sometime later and explore more of the websites and links that are referenced. I especially enjoy material from the American Museum of Natural History.

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1 - 25 of 105 Reviews for Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life

By Walter M

Nov 28, 2017

Highly recommended. It is evident that the instructors have invested considerable energy and passion into the creation and proliferation of this course. Tip: pay attention, not so much to the factual information conveyed (this is not to say the the quality of the research is not way above par), but to how it is being conveyed. And always ask, "why are the instructors choosing to share it?"

By Dot H

Oct 21, 2018

I love everything about this. Plan to go back sometime later and explore more of the websites and links that are referenced. I especially enjoy material from the American Museum of Natural History.

By Debarghya S

May 5, 2020

Very, very insightful. Best course that I participated in. I simply loved it. And if you (the reader of this review) have any sort of curiosity regarding reasons of existence, this course is for you.

By T.J. E

Jun 16, 2020

This course is at times thrilling and mind-expanding, at other times repetitive and dull. The topic, most of the readings, and about half the videos, are captivating and exciting and world-view changing. But the material (internal readings followed by video lectures followed by video interviews followed by video excerpts from a documentary followed by external readings, etc.) do not, in my opinion, compliment or add to each other so much as simply keep repeating the same thing in multiple medias. So, in this way, the course somehow achieved to be both thrilling and dull at the same time. However, the course is well worth it if you are interested in big ideas like deep history, human capacity for story-making, meaning-making, and mythology, and the human spirit. Despite the title, these are the big themes, while actual cosmology or astronomy are secondary (though important). I give a big thanks to the creators of the course for exposing me to Wendell Berry and this big idea of Cosmological storytelling.

By Kenneth R

Jun 11, 2017

I appreciate the great amount of thought and effort that the instructors put into this course, but to me, it fell flat. I did not learn a great deal that was new, and certainly nothing in any great depth. If you have been keeping up with popular accounts of science in newspapers, magazines, or on the web, you probably are familiar with all the scientific concepts that the course presents. And the framing of those concepts in the course simply bothered me. The instructors can't help mixing notions of purpose and intent into science, as if that is necessary to experience what they value so highly: wonder. In fact, you can understand, wonder at, and value life without bringing in teleology. Sometimes looking for purpose distracts you from beauty. I would advise potential students that their time would be better spent taking a more traditional natural science course. Have patience. Study deeply. You will find beauty there. As Darwin wrote, about the study of evolution, "There is grandeur in this view of life ...."

By Issam C C

Dec 1, 2020

I just was at the wrong place. I was looking for a more "crude" scientific subject. I'm sure the info in this module are valuable, but from the first week it sounded like the "fine tuned universe" theory... Just passed all the quizzes without even looking into the videos/readings.

By Curt H

Apr 12, 2017

The content is really great....However, you can buy the book for $15 and get almost all of the same information — in sum, the class is essentially chapters from the book, the movie and a bunch of links to websites with relevant content.

By Yuhua Y

Aug 13, 2017

It is not so academic as I thought. Thomas Berry is an extraordinary scholar undoubtedly, but the lectures put too much personal affection onto Thomas Berry, which makes me uncomfortable.

By Amber S

Jun 23, 2020

I found this course excellent! It was fascinating, well thought out and well delivered. I really enjoyed all the topics and ideas that were presented. As someone with a biology background, I really enjoyed the evolution of humans and animal behavior topics, but also equally loved the physics/cosmology/religion/art areas too. Good for someone with even no knowledge of science - it's all well explained! This course didn't just teach information, there was a lot of passion about the origin of the universe and it was extremely awe-inspiring and encourages you to think about how you feel and think

By racheal h

Sep 12, 2019

Everyone one should watch this movie and read the book. The course has given me a good perspective and great insight on the world around me. I like the idea that the stars are my ancestors and that I belong here on this Earth. This course has helped me in my daily life as I look around I know we are all one with this universe. It has opened my soul, my heart to others here as well and to the real nature of a power greater than self.

By Emily C

Nov 2, 2018

The title of the course was what initially attracted me. "Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life" was such a spectacular course. It's a dimensional way to familiarize oneself with topics that are rarely offered in more rudimental educational environments. As a high school student, it was both an academically and existentially enriching course! Thanks for offering this, Coursera.

By Linda K

Oct 24, 2016

Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life offered a wonderful sense of connection with our universe, Earth and all her life forms as well as a beautiful understanding of deep time. It told it's story from a science and a humanities perspective. Absolutely offered aw and wonder. A great learning experience. Thank you to everyone involved!

By Ujjawal S

Jan 31, 2019

I loved the course and the entire film. The authors of the book offer us a lot of insights which is beautifully presented to us by the means of the film. The narrator, Brian Swimme sounds really passionate while he is describing the many views and perspectives offered by the book.

Great Content, Great Course, kudos to the entire team.

By Andy D

Feb 13, 2018

The passion of the instructors is evident from the moment the course begins. It has helped reshape the negative light in which I previously viewed religious traditions. Journey of the Universe instilled an awe of the universe around me and further spurred my desire for understanding of the world around me.

By sandra a c s v

Sep 6, 2019

This course guided me trough questions and knowledge that I was looking for so deeply. The material, the way of teaching, the theachers, everything as a sinfony, flowing trough my soul and finding place in my believes. I´m so gratefull to this opportunity of learning. My life was expecting for it.

By Roslyn V P

Sep 2, 2019

I now have a dynamic way of envisioning our universe and beyond. This course is entertaining, compelling, and educational. I've gained unexpected personal discoveries which include finding connective concepts in the evolution of the world, humanity, language and the development of AI.

By Prof. D N A B K

Feb 2, 2021

I was really a Journey of the Universe before 14 billion years beginning from the Great Flaring Forth, taking us to the formation of Galaxies, Stars and Planets, and then the formation of life on Earth before 4 billion years. It was a Great Great Story to tell.

By Wesley J B

May 18, 2020

This was a wonderful course. I appreciate how it blends science with the humanities. I feel like I could study the topics in this course for the rest of my life. I enjoyed the Journey of the Universe Film, as it presented the material in an entertaining way.

By Gerald B

Feb 15, 2021

Creative combination of video and reading material. Videos were well selected and related to their specific topics. I was familiar with the overall theme from prior reading, but this course provided a good visual (and by topic, greater depth) supplement.

By Harry J

Jun 28, 2018

Standing from a big picture to see the Universe whole picture. It's a totally different new experiece to me to have a overview on the Journey of the universe. Wonder guides us to continuously move forward! And it's really wonderful of the learni

By Haley B

Oct 5, 2016

I like how this coarse has some videos and some readings. I also like this coarse because it is not all videos and it is not all text.

:) :) :) :) :)

By Juliet B

Apr 17, 2017

A great course for everyone. Provides inspiring insights into the workings of the universe, evoking a big picture understanding of how we fit into a beautiful story of our universe, a story that each of our lives play an important part.

By Jafed E G

Jul 6, 2019

I enjoy the lectures. The professor has a good speaking and teaching style which keeps me interested. Lots of concrete math examples which make it easier to understand. Very good slides which are well formulated and easy to understand

By Daniel L N

Sep 24, 2016

Great! A bit overwhelming at times with all the images and video footage of AWE and absolute infusion of the life of the Globe and the Universe, so I recommend watching it casually and perhaps slowly, but up to you!


Oct 6, 2020

This course helped me gained an appreciation of how to think of the universe and its wonders. It also opened my eyes to more concrete perspectives on the universe and how it will influence the planet and us humans.