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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Age of Sustainable Development by Columbia University

2,493 ratings
878 reviews

About the Course

The Age of Sustainable Development" gives students an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development - that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable....

Top reviews

May 18, 2017

This course was perfect for those wanting to explore the world of development, broad enough to include all interlinked themes, with sufficient reading materials to spark one's specializing interests.

Jun 1, 2020

Very informative and detailed. Prof. Sachs covers all aspects of sustainable development in detail. Though the course was designed in 2013 hence does not cover the latest development to SDGs to date.

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51 - 75 of 856 Reviews for The Age of Sustainable Development

By Som T

Dec 11, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs is a great analytical thinker on the issue of sustainable development - a terrific teacher. If you have an 'activist' mind and are emotional about the issues involved, learn from a UN-level, world-travelled, expert some of the intelligent tools for going into the subject dispassionately. It's a great service that Prof Sachs has prepared and recorded almost 30 hours of 'talk time', free of charge. The recording is from 2015, so the earlier one takes the course, the less dated the course may seem! In fact, a few web links (URLs) had already moved as of Oct-Dec 2016 when I took this course. And did a very few quiz answers seem wrong - maybe because some economic indicators had been revised? Coursera's course delivery infrastructure is also excellent - clickable transcripts that take you to the same spot in the recording as the text, downloadable videos to watch offline, tracking that helps you resume exactly where you last stopped, all of which seemed to work without glitches. Deadlines and reminders are thoughtful - hard, yet offering alternatives

By Angelica M C

Oct 3, 2016

So far, the best course I took. Very timely and relevant. Coming from a very technical/scientific background, this course taught me about the nuances of governance, policy-making, corporate responsibility among many other things. It is good to have a historical and global perspective of economic development, the aggregate of human activities and our impact to the planet. While it seemed bleak to accomplish the goals set forth to obtain sustainable development, Dr. Sachs ended in a hopeful note. We do need more people that will ask and answer the question: "Why not?" I wish to learn more, if not work to help sustainable development a reality. While the SDGs are interconnected, I hope there will be a more detailed online course about each to the extent that people can focus on one or two. For my part, I would like to learn more about the underpinnings of SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy. SDGs 12 and 10 also form my core personal values and causes. Now looking for related-reading materials.

By Nina S

Jul 8, 2020

I absolutely enjoyed the course and have enriched my knowledge about the contemporary world and its challenges, understanding of the environment and where we stand on sustainability.

Unfortunately, the course is significantly outdated. It was designed in 2013, and it does not cover the latest development regarding SDGs. Week 14 – The SDGs is focused on the preparation and proposals for SDGs. There are 17 SDGs adopted and now in place and it would be essential to have a new video. During the course links often take you to updated content and some webpages do not exist anymore, making it hard to answer correctly in the weekly quizzes.

I wasn’t aware before starting that there is an updated course that will get you certification on edX website.

All in all, I very much recommend this course, it will help understand the complex world we are living in, how did we get here and where to go from here. This course is wonderful, and Mr Sachs is an excellent instructor.

By Anna G

Jun 26, 2020

This is so far the best course I have taken on coursera! It adapts perfectly to its medium (the MOOC) by having lectures that integrate a classical reading by the professor and video segments that provide context, illustrate ideas and are also aesthetic and entertaining. Professor Sachs is articulated, sharp, precise, and his voice is soothing (and apart from all that he seems like a genuinely nice guy). I know that sounds like unnecessary detail, but there are so many courses in which professors are either inarticulate or their voices are simply so difficult to listen to, that it makes it difficult to continue week after week (I know that this is not their faults - it is merely a comparison). This course is a challenging one as well in comparison to others I've taken, but all the more rewarding for it. It is for courses like this that I return to Coursera time and time again. Thank you Columbia and thank you Professor Sachs!


Apr 16, 2020

Its a great course and the contents of the course is really amazing and relevant to the present context. The course will equip one with the concept of sustainable development and other associated concepts with it. it also helps to understand the role of various organisations/countries and their contribution towards achieving a world free from poverty, hunger etc and other MDGs/SDGs.

but, with a sincere request i would like to say that the course need to be revised in the present context of 2020 particularly in the period of pandemic COVID-19 and the role of different countries to mitigate it and its impact on life of individuals and economy of various nations affected by it.

one thing is lacking....despite completion of course by giving a substantial time/energy over a period of time, no certificate or award is given. boosts knowledge. Thanking You Mr J. Sach and team for such a beautiful course..........

By Cenk V

Jul 19, 2020

Before this course, I know that sustainability is one of the most important subject for the World. O course I have some idea about the problems to be managed and solved like global warming, imbalance for the usage of water, income inequality , specialy hunger problem at Africa (Sub Sharan Africa )..After this program I noticed that to focus to a problem for solving require to understand the problem with all the aspects. For example for the low income countries it will be good to hear if their GDP/person will catch firstly mid-level income and than hign income countries level. But that requires more investment. More investment require more resources to be used..This is a kind of chain reaction to be settled in a proper way which is the problem to be solved.

I would like to thank to Prof. Sachs for sharing this valuable knowledge, approach, vision...I really appriciate it. Best regards...Cenk V.

By Upasna S

May 23, 2019

Its a good course for someone wanting a nice bird-eyes view of whats happening in the world in terms of economics, growth, health, education, agriculture et al. As well as for understanding the interrelationships between these. As also, the key issues facing the world and what we have been doing so far. So, overall a brilliant overall view!

I have a problem with the questions though - the format and type of questions in the end of unit and final exams were mostly of Data Interpretation type i.e. reading of graphs - which is not really the skill one is looking to grow via this test - the questions could have been more application type - eg. the DALY application calculation questions, Rule of 70 application, specialisation impact calculation illustration, even the in-unit graph readings etc. which make it easier to understand the linkages etc.

But, all in all a great experience!

By Hao X

Jan 3, 2016

This is a greatly comprehensive course about sustainable development. Prof. Sachs addressed many crucial situations and urgent problems that we face with today regarding global economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. He not only analysed their causes, but also provided well-thought, heartfelt solutions based on large amount of interdisciplinary studies. I am positively influenced by the wisdom and compassion presented in the course.

The design of assignments is conducive to learning and encourages me to explore pertinent resources in the field of sustainable development. The assignments themselves are informative and resourceful.

Learning this topic through the course has broadened my perspectives about the world I live in and has shed light on my own path as where to go for the best as a biologist, and first of all, as a human being. THANKS!!

By Vivek B

Dec 23, 2018

While looking for a book in Sustainable Development, I came acorss this coruse (and the book of same name). This is my first online course and I am overwhelmed by the things I have learned throughout this course. Everything was put in such an interesing way that my perespective of online courses has totally changed. Professor Sachs is a wonderful teacher who knows exactly how to explain even the complicated subjects in an interesting and lucid way. The course (and the book) contains tons of useful and interesting data designed in way that it is easy to grasp. Each module is designed perfectly. I am always interested in sustainble living practices and this course has given me the perfect direction. Once again, I thanks Professro Sachs for this wonderful course. I would personally like to recommend everyone to take this course, no matter which field they belongs to.

By Ava

Apr 21, 2017

Excellent course for anyone interested in receiving the best tuition from one of the most respected and renowned professors on the subject in the world. As someone who has suffered with terrible attention spans from a very young age in school (ADD, day-dreamer, still re-training the habit!), I managed to stay engaged through out the lectures and course. The video format is especially useful for someone like myself who needs to frequently pause, make notes, rewind to listen/watch the meaning of content again, and again. I was able to comprehend and digest complicated information, i.e., to actually let it sink in if I was unable to understand the first time around. Prof Sachs manages to draw in your attention and focus through his excellent AAA+ delivery, charm and genuine passion on this subject. Absolutely thrilled with results! Bravo!

By Rajiv R P

Aug 30, 2016

I am into the 9th week of the course and find it very helpful. My educational background is in technology and I graduated 25 years back. By virtue of prior in person classes and associated readings, I have acquired some knowledge in the area of environment laws and human rights. This course has very nicely and gently put things into context - for example colonization and economic development, impact of geography, role of international assistance in development (to name a few). With the basic comfort and confidence, now I can think of reading further in these areas, which in the absence of the context and background has always appeared a daunting task. My sincere thanks for the effort which would have gone into producing this course and making it available to all.

By Katie C

Sep 26, 2020

This course has filled in the gaps and enhanced my national and global knowledge of Climate Change Policies and Governance or lack of action on the part of the politicians which has become evidentially clear during the global pandemic. My work involves the planning and installation of green transport solutions including EV’s, energy efficient chargepoints and Mobility as a Service. I was keen to learn more than transport and this has opened up many gateways and areas of analysis that I wasn’t aware of before. The intrinsic links between our natural world, the human species and climate change are covered in this course in a manageable way if your holding down a full time job. Thank you Dr Sachs, what an epic course. Katie - Oxford, UK

By Jorge S S

Oct 2, 2016

El curso que acabo de culminar me es de gran importancia porque me permite ampliar y reforzar el tema del Desarrollo Sostenible. Soy, peruano, investigador social, columnista y autor de cuatro libros y voy por el quinto que se titulará 'Minería y Desarrollo Sostenible' (Enero 2017) en el cual aludiré a la propuesta del profesor Sachs (Convergencia y Gobernanza) la del Pnuma (Desacoplar y la Economía Verde) y las mías propias, que adelanto que junto con el tema de la Gobernanza se hace imprescindible un quinto soporte para el Desarrollo Sostenible: la decisión y compromiso de la comunidad con el Desarrollo Sostenible. Si no existe esta decisión y compromiso, el Desarrollo Sostenible no será viable. Gracias prof. Sachs y colaboradores.

By Paola J

Mar 22, 2021

This was an amazing course that covered all the basic for a modern understanding on what Sustainable Development means. It didn't shy away from admitting that the topic is indeed a highly complex one, instead, it embraced it and drove right into the why's and what's and how's of that complexity. It included every major aspect of Sustainable Development, mentioned the key ideas around it, and kept it all in very simple and concise terms. This is a great course for anyone who has a basic understanding of sustainability, and who wishes to deepen their knowledge 10-fold in the short span of 13 weeks.

Can't recommend it enough. A truly wonderful course.

By kaimeng h

Apr 2, 2020

I enjoyed this course, Professor Sachs is a great teacher, I like the way he repeats key themes and concepts between the lessons. He made the topics sound simpler. I just wish there are more demos or exercises to practice some of the calculations, and also I had great difficulty finding the right tables/graphs at WHO website, from China, the slow network/firewall made it so hard to get to the right data. I tried both both app and the desktop experience, it both had problems and slowed me down a lot. I believe the words/instructions for some questions should be improved, made more clear. Links should direct more easily to the right table/graph.

By Vijay G

Oct 3, 2020

I was working in IT Enabled Services as operations Manager and resigned my job to purseu career in Renewable Energy and started Solar ENergy System Installation work and completed Solar and Renewable Energy courses. I want to play my role and be part of sustainable development and this course is a highlight. Thanks a lot for arranging this course. In real time we couldn't afford to do this course and that to being a virtual student of Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is amazing and this is real time motivation to know about his works which is increasing my interest to learn more about sustainable development. Thanks a lot.

By Syed M S

Apr 28, 2018

I think this course is the best because it clears most of the doubts that arises in daily life and gives a lot of knowledge to improve our skills. I also have a complaint regarding quizzes, some of the questions asked have websites that are to be opened to answer those questions, but those pages are are not opening, because of which I lost many marks. Otherwise I am sure I would have got more marks. Any way I am really glad to pursue this courses and one of the finest professors of these times Prof. Jeffery Sachs taught me. I request you to please send my Certificate for this course. Thank you coursera.

By Mary U

Dec 16, 2020

I really enjoyed following this course, thank you for providing such a great overview of what sustainable development Is and providing the economic theories about how It all works. Thank you for being Inclusive and allowing anyone with minimal economics backgrounds and knowledge to follow. This course has been very eye-opening and Inspiring. While maybe I don't personally agree 100% with every opinion, I appreciate the reasoning and theories backing up Professor Sach's arguments. Fantastic course and I am sure to be referring to and thinking of the ideas through my daily life.

By vhithyaa S

Dec 22, 2015

I've only recently been going in depth into issues like harming the environment, poverty and solutions to those problems that don't affect us in bad ways and this course has helped deepen my understanding of the way everything works tremendously. The professor is a wonderful speaker and there isn't one boring minute. Each lesson is very well thought out and i would recommend this to anyone and everyone seeking to better understand how the connections in this modern world work and affect each other and effects on the environment if we keep on this destructive path of ours.

By Ricardo V F

Mar 19, 2017

By far, one of the best courses I've taken at Coursera. It opened my eyes to the phenomena around us, and what the co-relation between all the factors in our lives amounts to the changes we've induced to the planet. It has made me rethink my own life, my work, and the urgency I have as volunteer member of a Disaster Risk Reduction to multiply this information to as much persons as I can. Dr. Sachs explains every detail and definition with such simplicity that it makes it possible for anybody to understand the severity of the challenges were faced at this moment in time.

By Lucy J

Aug 10, 2017

One of the few courses I have taken that presents a detailed overview of the "super wicked" problem of balancing growth and development with curbing climate change. So many people focus on the role of governments and business, whilst this gives individuals history and hope. Sachs finishes by quoting JFK and demonstrating how the power of ideas to change the world and throwing down the guantlet for us all to pick up of taking action to save our precious planet and preserve our children's future. We all have to act, taking this course is an excellent start.

By SOW,Amadou

Apr 14, 2018

Simply one of the best courses I have had so far. The approach used is almost playful, it's like going back in time since the invention of the steam engine and until now ... This was also for me, an excellent opportunity in combine this course and literature review related to my Doctorat in Business Administration ... I hope that Prof Sachs, in the coming years will be able to update this course, with the latest developments on SGDs and other major development agendas, like ADB's 5 five, AU agenda agenda 2063 ... Excellent course that I highly recommend!

By C. T S

Jun 13, 2021

T​his was a fantastic course and a great introduction to the complexities of Sustainable Development - the many challenges and potential solutions we hold in our grasp. I came away with immense respect for Jeffrey Sachs and the holistic perspective he brings to the study. Definitely recommend purchasing the book - the videos are almost verbatim but it was helpful for me to read the materials. Fair warning though: Many of the quiz questions rely on outdated links so it requires some digging (and occasional guesswork) to find the data being referenced.

By kartik k

Jul 29, 2020

Brilliant and insightful, this course is an eye-opener to the concept of sustainable development and associated domains. Prof.Sachs masterfully navigates through this course not only imparting knowledge and sharing his wisdom but inspiring and motivating action towards sustainable development. He wades through complicated topics in a way that is simple for novices to understand. I count myself extremely fortunate to have been a student of this course and definitely recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in sustainability

By Valeriya Y

Jun 30, 2020

This course of The Age of Sustainable Development was very interesting. I have found out a lot of new economic worldwide facts, statistics data, and info about a huge work done by the UN for the World development! It was amazing time of learning. Big thanks to Professor Jeffrey Sachs, his interesting way of reading lectures with personal examples based on his own experiences is highly appreciated. Thank you very much for the opportunity to improve the knowledge for free! All the best to all who took part in creation of this course!