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

1,797 ratings
594 reviews

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 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.


Sep 24, 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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26 - 50 of 590 Reviews for Introduction to Sustainability

By Eleonora G E

Sep 18, 2018

Excellent course. The material is a little bit old but still relevant.

By Anant S

Jun 25, 2020

Course is really worth the time and a must have course. Lectures are interesting. I would recommend you all those who are reading the reviews.

By Raphaël H E S

Jan 15, 2019

Un poco repetitivo en el formato pero muy completo, te ayuda a tener una visión más clara sobre la sustentabilidad

By Kira B

Oct 05, 2015

Very informative for an introductory course. I learned a lot in a short amount of time.

By Tan J F

Oct 05, 2018

Really tough course, but it was worthwhile!

By Talles G G

Jan 15, 2019

Excelente curso!

By Clare S

Dec 27, 2017

This has been a great class - good information and stuff everyone should know. Thank you so much! It's also surprising how thoughtful the tests are and how they can really test knowledge. I love the peer review - it's great to read other classmates' thoughts. Areas for improvement:

a) course content really needs an update every 5 or so years. From what I can tell, the course was written up in 2005. A LOT has changed. To keep this class vibrant, content needs updating!

b) there are some really arcane test questions and despite posting Q about them, requesting an explanation, I did not receive any response from the many TAs who are assigned to the course

c) peer reviews can be made more meaningful - the 5 or so checkboxes that you fill out as a reviewer really don't go into much depth - for example, a word count? Seems like the app could check that.

By Daniel G

Dec 31, 2017

The course is great... Lots of insights... I personally am more of neo-malthusian, which results from my experience from working in African countries, so I believe the "don't worry population growth will come down" and "humans will consume less materials in the future" to be too optimistics. Anyway, I'm looking forward to be proven wrong.

Thanks for a great course!

By Maxine P M

Aug 03, 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 Ellie H

Sep 11, 2017


By Mohammad I

Apr 26, 2020

Content is quite good but the assessment style is quite difficult as in very hard to complete. I think there is need to rethink about the assessment strategy where passing with 90% isn't made mandatory. Got stuck in the midst of the course, still intersted to complete but unable to move on due to hard style quiz. The quiz has further links which is unaccessible in poor networks. I hope the team will understand this issue from a view of providing knowledge with minimum harrassment.

By Gabriel M

Nov 19, 2015

I am sorry but the Prof. doesn't know how to attract students to be more curious.

By Abhinav S

Jun 13, 2020

Worst Course!

By Mridul M

Sep 28, 2020

What an eye opener it’s been!

I thoroughly enjoyed this course – an informative and well-planned introduction into the wonderful and essential subject of sustainability. Dr. Tomkin’s succinct videos followed by the recommended readings were an ideal blend of lecture and theory, and made the subject matter easy to break down and understand. The takeaways from the course are definitely going to shape my future work.

Thank you, Dr. Tomkin for the great course!

I do suggest that that the pdf be reworked in terms of layout, typeface and leading and contrast as this version can be difficult to read off a screen.

By Aravind S

Apr 17, 2017

This is my first time doing an online certificate course from Coursera and I have to say it had been a wonderful and informative experience for me. The lectures were easy to understand and really helped me to change so many of my misconceptions on sustainability and energy. I would like to thank Prof. Jonathan for give such brilliant lectures and sharing his views. I would also like to thank my classmates for their support and also would like to congratulate them on their achievement as well along with best wishes for their future.

Thank You Coursera for such an initiative to spread knowledge

By Pauline G

Jun 02, 2020

I found this training very enriching for those new to sustainable development. I took this course in order to have a global idea of the subject. I found what I was looking for. The course is quite complete, it gives a global vision of sustainability and deals with many aspects related to the subject. Both the basic concepts and concrete examples are explained. Moreover, I appreciated the moderate vision of our Professor on the subject, which is neither in denial nor in catastrophism. Finally, the tests are not stupidly a reproduction of the course and questions of reflection are asked.

By Christoph S

Oct 25, 2020

This Course Is Great!

The topic covered is tackled in just the right level of detail to make one understand where to dig deeper for the own professional path. I found the videos well done and with "many" interactions in between. This helps to stay focused and to avoid side-activities like checking your phone :-) The sub topics where well structured.

The setup of the quizzes was supporting, as there were test quizzes before the exams. Their difficulty was fair. I enjoyed the course and take a lot from it home for my personal and professional life.

Clear recommedation!

By Sankar V

Jun 07, 2020

For a beginner there are chances of an Information overload. But considering the times which we live in the anthropocene , these information overload is a necessity. We all are individuals who have cause some harm to the environment through some or the other way and nobody can deny that. It is in this point of a realization that I urge my fellow comrades to do this course and be aware of where we all are headed. Cheers and thanks to Jonathan Tomkin and other supporters.

By Laird B

Nov 20, 2015

A concise and engaging course which really makes you think! Many people are interested in sustainability and concerned about the issues which affect it, but taking this course has definitely helped me better understand these issues and put many things in perspective. Having a greater understanding of these topics makes me less pessimistic about the future as Inow understand how we can best focus our efforts for the greatest return. Everyone should take this course!

By Manuel E P L

Oct 18, 2015

My congratulations for this course. Was a great experience to learn about this topic and the important for our future.

Additionally, i would like to make some suggestions especially related with approach on developed countries, developing countries and the data stat.

Inside these aspects should be included examples related with Latin America, Asia and another regions that not been included between the classics examples of developed countries.

Thanks for this course.

By Karen M

Sep 10, 2017

This was an amazing course. I learned so much about sustainability and feel that I now have the tools to be critical about media news pieces about the environment. Prof. Tomkin explains his topics clearly and concisely. I found his lectures easy to follow without being "dumbed down". I highly recommend taking this course if you want to learn more about the issues affecting the environment and sustainable development.

By Fatimaalowais

May 24, 2018

Great course. I learned so much and the course was the right place to start to learn about environmental policy and sustainability. It explains population, consumption, energy, water, touching on many inaccurate assumptions about the environment and sustainability. most of all, I enjoyed the sections that focused on policy options, which is the main reason I have been looking for that kind of courses.

By Monica

Oct 26, 2015

I've been a supporter of environmental sustainability efforts for a long time, however, I lacked training/knowledge (as my undergraduate studies are in Business). Passion is great, but in the real world, you need skills to back up that passion. I am proud to say that can now engage in active conversations with people who are working in sustainability related fields! This is a very empowering course!

By Shruti B

Oct 13, 2020

I loved how the course progresses while explaining the most important issues in sustainability.

The course curriculum is really insightful and helps in building a strong foundation in the field of sustainable development.

I will highly recommend the course to people looking forward to build their knowledge base in the field of sustainability and environmental sciences.

I loved every bit of the course!

By Muhammad H

May 06, 2020

This course is a very beginning of an important concept of sustainability. The videos are just more than excellent at communicating useful knowledge to the seeker. The quizzes are designed to take full advantage of one's abilities. The most interesting work in this course is Peer graded assignments. I have learned and enjoyed this course. Hope everyone else who opt it will likewise too. Thumbs up!