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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice by Universiteit Leiden

2,813 ratings
678 reviews

About the Course

Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private business and ordinary citizens. And in many parts of the world, it has been one of the most important threats to peace, security and stability. But what does this exactly mean? What is the nature of this threat? Who or what is threatened, how, by whom and why? What can be done about it or how can we at least limit the impact of terrorism and make sure that terrorists do not make headlines and manage to scare us? These are just a handful of questions that will be addressed in this course that consists of three parts. First it focuses on the essence of terrorism as an instrument to achieve certain goals, in addition to an exploration of this phenomenon and the difficulties in defining it. The second part provides an overview of the state of the art in (counter) terrorism studies. Since ‘9/11’ terrorism studies have grown exponentially, reflecting the rise in perceived threats. But what has academia come up with? What theories, assumptions and conventional wisdom has it produced that could be of help in understanding terrorism and dealing with it? The most interesting results are examined and compared with empirical evidence with the aim to either stress their importance or to debunk them as myths. The final part looks into the implications and possibilities for policy making. The course ends with a module specifically designed to address one of today's most topical issue: the foreign fighter phenomenon....

Top reviews

Aug 28, 2021

Not all the reading materials are opening. The course content is old . There is a need for new and latest issues to be included in the course. There is also a need for advance level of another course.

Feb 24, 2021

Among the most informative courses i have taken, the material and videos provided are so detailed and specific to this field. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest matters terrorism.

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Mar 17, 2019


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Nov 2, 2016


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Jul 25, 2016


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Sep 24, 2016


By Alessandro S

Oct 18, 2015


By George E

Feb 15, 2016

Good fist MOOC experience. Pity the google hangout wasn't up but never mind. Would prefer more questions in the videos to check I'm listening attentively.

Would also like to see a list of all the reading material in one place rather than per lectiure. Then I can go to each web page and save as epub usiing the crhome dotepub extension and copy to my ereader.

Anyway you can streamline that kind of admin task would be appreciated. You ought to spruke ways to read the web pages, because reading it on a laptop or even tablet is a bit tedious. Also with the PDFs, some info on saving them as resizable PDFs would be appreciated.

Course content was good and I like the coursera front end.

Need someway to manage tthe growing library of reading material that accumalates not just with this one course but if you do multiple MOOCs over time,


By Mathieu B

Jan 19, 2017

Interesting course, supported by a good lecturer's team and interesting delivery method.

For those who know nothing about Terrism and Counter-terrorism, it is a fast and efficient way to know more about different field of studies, and interesting to understand what are current biases surrounding the notion of Terrorism in our contemporary world.

However, the course remains perhaps too generic, and would require more details, especially on crucial topics such as policies (Having examples or working on how to approach policy design may be of great value for the student to understand these challenges, but also for the Leiden University in order to capture inivative approaches.

But again, generally speaking, this is an excellent course, with good pace, added value and interactivity.

By Dyer B

Feb 29, 2016

This is a great overview of terrorism and counter-terrorism, and identifies the many flaws due to lack of knowledge policymakers still make in dealing with this phenomena. The rigor of the course is challenging but not impossible. I like that a section on Foreign Fighters has now been added to further enhance the course. I will use this knowledge to apply to another topic I am researching - gang dynamics and gang violence, which I believe shares many similarities. My only criticism is of the final, which I found to ask several questions about some obscure facts and did not truly test for the body of knowledge in my opinion, hence the 4 not 5 stars.

By Sally B

Aug 24, 2015

I found this course scholarly and informative. The presentation was clear and the arguments carefully researched and well balanced. It changed the way I think about terrorism - responding to anger with anger is counter-productive and doesn't really address the root causes. Thank you Prof. Bakkar for sharing your expertise and insights with a wide audience.

Some quotes from or interviews with former 'terrorists', or from members of marginalised groups within Western societies would have given us a perspective from the other side of the debate. Student colleagues may have been able to add this sort of thing.

By Matthew G

Oct 16, 2016

A pretty good course. The last week about foreign fighters didn't seem to flow as well as the other weeks (possibly because it was added later due to recent world developments).

The course referenced many scholarly articles and sources, sometimes including those of the professor of the course. There is no shortage of scholarly reading material.

However, some of the reading material came from websites that demanded registration after viewing the document the first time. This wasn't often, but there were a few (under 5 throughout the course) quiz questions that referenced these articles.

By qwerty a

Apr 2, 2017

In my opinion, this course is so simple but yet an effective learning tool for those individuals who are a beginners in the field of terrorism and counterterrorism studies. Even though, if it is not your field of study, this course gives you a beginners look on how things actually role in this field and gives you a sense of satisfaction along with deep and clear understanding of this body of knowledge than what the mainstream media shows. This course have given me and think it will for others, an incentive to do something about these issues mentioned in the course.

By Alexandro G

Apr 27, 2016

Excellent course for understanding studies and policies about terrorism, its origins and the ways for understanding it.

Terrorism is not about killing people; it's about fearing people too.

Maybe, the course which based on the writes of Mr. Bakker and one of his books could think us a commercial or promotional purposses, but It's a great, really great, course and way for understanding actually world we're living, and an excellent way for naming many things which happen all of us.

Information is another fact power will release us from fear.


By Lauriane B

Oct 10, 2016

This was a great course! It's like a big summary of this discipline, because it would take a lot longer to study it in depth. The videos are interesting with some graphics to help us out. There is a transcript for every week and I used it every time. The only negative point would be the style of those transcripts; the way they are presented. The paragraphs are not in line and there's no real sections in the text. It makes it harder to read. Overall, I'm really glad with this couse and I must say the online community was definitely an asset.

By Benedict H

May 11, 2020

This was a really useful and interesting course, introducing not only the theoretical side of Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies but also policy approaches and real-world experiences of countries around the world. I would have liked to have had more up-to-date content, given the dynamic and fast-changing nature of the phenomenon, but overall I would recommend this course to anyone interested in terrorism throughout history and in the world today.

By Yohana J

Nov 22, 2015

It was a good course, however, it seems that the recording was from the earlier course. Which I don't mind, however, some of the comment wasn't relevant, so it was a bit weird.

In terms of content and how the course run, it was beyond my expectation. The list of literature provided were quite extesive and strategicaly chosen.

I wish there's a whole syllabus that we can access in the beginning of the course to prepare for the assignment.

By C M

Feb 2, 2016

I would like to give 4.5 but it is not an option. Mainly because the course is good but sometimes Professor Bakker fails to hold my attention, due to lack of fire in his lecturing style. Whilst I know lectures cannot always be exciting , no matter how keen one is on the subject, I feel that some of the more tedious course material would be absorbed better if presented in a less monotone manner.

By Peter S

May 14, 2016

Excellent content and nicely delivered. Would have liked some more variation in the delivery - show us videos, problems to solve, more details for example on Munich massacre - detailed deconstruction of the act of terror. Found it difficult with the tests that involved "check all that apply".

Recommended course.

By Bonnie G

Jan 12, 2016

I have just begun this course (completed week 1) and I have to say, I am impressed with the course and how well it is put together. I am a grad student in the states and have been through many classes that were not nearly this informative, up to date and intriguing right out of the gate. Impressive!

By Robert B

Jul 15, 2016

Great course, very interesting material. I found that the course material did not match the quiz material, though I was not seriously bothered by it. I learnt a lot and will continue to follow the theory of terrorism and the practice of counterterrorism.