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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Sustainability by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2,563 ratings

About the Course

This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history. This subject is of vital importance, seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of the planet. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, this foundation requires intellectual breadth: as I describe it in the class text, understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management)....

Top reviews


Dec 18, 2016

It is a well prepared course. Contents are carefully organized and plenty of concepts and examples are included and analyzed. Overall, it is a excellent course to get an overview of sustainability.


Sep 23, 2020

This course helps me to learn many things about sustainability. By this course, I am more interested in sustainable developments. I expect to learn more about this provided by Dr Johnathan Tomkin.

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1 - 25 of 795 Reviews for Introduction to Sustainability

By Maxine P M

Aug 3, 2020

As an introductory course, there is some value in taking this course, specifically if you have an interest in using the information for personal enlightenment or furthering career/academic pursuits. The information is interesting but the course overall lacks stamina. The course needs to be revamped as the majority of the information and data provided are outdated, i.e., 2010, 2012. This is 2020, the instructor should introduce more up to date statistics and relevant visuals into the videos as well as change drastically the logistics of the quizzes and homework assignments by doing the following: (1) change the structure on the sentences, some sentences were convoluted; (2) although on Module Quizzes and the Final Exam you are provided two chances to retake – if one received a passing grade of 80% or higher, he/she should not have to wait 24 hours to retake the assessment; (3) in the same vein, structuring a True and False question with False as the first option is utterly ridiculous AND asking questions with 5 or 6 options as a possible answer, simply unnecessary! There were often times that audio issues occurred. Also, it would have been nice if powerpoint slides were available rather than just video transcripts. I was shocked that Wikipedia was widely used as an academic source of reference, which I thought was demeaning at his level (PhD) – as Wikipedia can be altered by anyone. Overall, the course was very lengthy and time-consuming. I can not say that this was the best course that I've ever taken through Coursera; however, it was worthwhile. Although I finished the course with a 97.50% overall grade, I couldn’t wait for the course to come to an end! So, I gave the course a 3 star as an average/middle-of-the road rating. God luck to future participants!

By Avril P

May 31, 2020

Pretty interesting and loved how holistic the course is. The professor weaves together demographics, water use, climate change, energy, policy, and ethics. But I should say that the video lectures and all the materials are from 2010-2012 so if you're hoping for a crash course on some of the more recent developments and figures, you'll need to go elsewhere.

By Stepansky I

Sep 12, 2016

I honestly took this course by mistake while searching for Business Sustainability. But it got me so engaged and interested that I finished it in 4 days.

A Great thank you, Mr. Jonathan Tomkin

By Rawya Z A

Jan 14, 2019

One of the courses that benefited me and expanded my perceptions and knowledge

By Peggy S (

May 18, 2020

I didn't finish it. The data is outdated but still enjoyable to learn. However, I do not have time to study this one anymore and now looking for new course that have more updated data and materials.

By Jes W

Nov 29, 2015

This was my first Coursera course, and I wasn't sure what to expect; but was very pleased with the organization, timescale things were run on, and overall neutrality of the course. Very well done!

By Marycon C D R

May 27, 2020

This course is very comprehensive but really gives a better understanding of the history of and factors leading to the current status of the world and how we can move towards sustainability.

By Genna-Marie K

May 21, 2020

An amazing course that provides a trustworthy and critical view to a very heated and polarized topic. Its very refreshing to be provided with multiple viewpoints and to go through their logical arguments to see that usually the truth is somewhere in the middle. This course will hopefully be helpful in my future career and will definitely be helpful in discussing the future of our planet calmly and in an informed manner.

By Vi T

Sep 29, 2019

As a beginner to sustainability field, i have learned a lot through the course. This course surprisingly providing me the basic and overall knowledge about nature and how it relating to human life. Hopefully, I could go deeper into it and apply to my sustainable business plan.

Thank you so much to Dr Tomkin and Illinois University for such a great course!

By rahul r s

May 3, 2020

This course really helped me in understanding the issues of sustainability and how they affect mankind. I would definitely recommend this course to everyone who is working under the areas of sustainable design.

By Katherine F

Dec 19, 2016

It is a well prepared course. Contents are carefully organized and plenty of concepts and examples are included and analyzed. Overall, it is a excellent course to get an overview of sustainability.

By Igor K

May 16, 2020

There is value in exposing yourself to this material, as it is interesting and quite important for humanity overall. However, the course design could use a lot of work to introduce more pertinent visuals into the videos and audit the graded aspects of the course - quizzes are very tricky, use poor grammar and convoluted sentence structure. The biggest thing, however, is that the lecturer persisted to use Wikipedia as an academic source of information!

By Omid Z

Jul 22, 2018

It was a good introductory course, but needs more detailed information and mathematical formulas.

By Jonathan G

Jan 31, 2018

I found this course boring and redundant. It was covering stuff that could easily be learned enough high school level course. It bored me to tears! They were stretching out something that can easily be learned in one shot.

By Gilberto O S

Apr 18, 2017

I really liked this course because it analyzes with balance the data, concepts and instruments of the great problems and challenges of global sustainability. The modular structure with videos, texts, readings, tests, collective tasks is clear, enjoyable and helps to study and re-study the contents. I have worked for several years as a consultant in corporate social responsibility and I manage a multimedia producer expert in the pedagogical design of courses and materials in environmental management. Through the course he learned a more precise reflection on sustainability issues and will soon start a postgraduate university course in Chile on Sustainability Management. This course helped me to make this decision.

A final suggestion for the applications of this course is to update the information in the topics for appreciate better the trends . Thank you very much.

By Ricardo F

Jun 18, 2017

Completamente satisfecho con el curso! Al terminarlo siento que me ha ayudado bastante a ampliar la visión de sostenibilidad, cómo encaminarnos a conseguir un desarrollo sostenible, cómo analizar y qué factores tomar en cuenta. Al mismo tiempo, con los ánimos de poder profundizar más en los temas abordados y aplicar el enfoque a las labores y grupos de trabajo que desarrollo.

By Jonathan L

May 19, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed this course.

It provided a very interesting introduction to various diverse components of sustainability, and was taught - via the lectures by Dr Jonathan Tomkin - in a highly approachable and enjoyable way.

I thought that the various visuals, graphs and images used along the way were very helpful and appropriate also.

Thank you!

By Yalda S

Apr 21, 2020

It was amazingly full of new information for me, presented in an easy to learn way. All new and useful! I think the course was much more than an "introduction". For me as an architect, it was much more than an introduction and gave me an extended view towards the meaning of sustainability and the current and future of the world.

By Leslie T V

Feb 22, 2019

incredible way to teach, complete material and exactly instructive lessons. great interaction student and teacher. perfect way to share knowledge with the rest of the world. I live in Brazil, and having access to this type of content is very cool.

By Minh K T N

Aug 23, 2020

This is a nice course for anyone who wants to have a start on this journey. It is easy to understand, covers a lot of topics that relates to everything and give you a profound insight of the world

By Linda B

Sep 29, 2015

This was a well presented course that covered some very interesting areas of planet earth becoming sustainable. It was detailed and demanding, but fair and we learned a lot.

By Denique L G

Jan 9, 2019

Absolutely loved the course. Learnt so much and its helped me understand what i as an individual can do as well to live a more sustainable life as well as ease my worry about us as humanity being doomed.I found the way the questions were asked got me confused at times and that is where i struggled my only critic.I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn this course and being allowed to extend my course deadlines a bit further due to work commitments and still be able to pass I am really happy.Thank you.I will most certainly be looking for more courses to start soon and continue to follow my passion.The videos were great and so informative. Thank you Mr. Tomkin

By Adhimas W A W

May 31, 2020

I was expect nothing at first. This course by far very comprehensive. I think now I have basic understanding of sustainability and its environmental policy. In that sense, I believe I can contribute when I need to deal with this issue in my work in the future or have cross-cutting discussion about sustainability in the future, I will be more confident compared to before I took this course. Thank you for Jonathan Tomkin and all the team who prepares this course

By Christiane J

Aug 13, 2017

Very informative, course covers many different aspects of sustainability and delivers them in a clear and enjoyable manner and certainly was an eye opener on many levels. I wish course materials and videos were a little more recent than they are though, especially considering the new developments under the Trump administration.

By Sarah B

Jun 2, 2020

Great course, I really learned a lot! Dr. Jonathan Tomkin has a great way to explain complex circumstances in an accessible and understandable manner. I'd love to see a second series of lectures, comparing this course to the status of 2020.