Get started with custom lists to organize and share courses.

Sign up

Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Big History: Connecting Knowledge

Macquarie University via Coursera

11 Reviews 5932 students interested
Found in History
  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Start Date
  • Duration 6 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

We currently face unprecedented challenges on a global scale. These problems do not neatly fall into disciplines. They are complicated, complex, and connected. Join us on this epic journey of 13.8 billion years starting at the Big Bang and travelling through time all the way to the future. Discover the connections in our world, the power of collective learning, how our universe and our world has evolved from incredible simplicity to ever-increasing complexity. Experience our modern scientific origin story through Big History and discover the important links between past, current, and future events. You will find two different types of lectures. ‘Zooming In’ lectures from multiple specialists enable you to understand key concepts through the lens of different disciplines, whilst David Christian's ‘Big History Framework’ lectures provide the connective overview for a journey through eight thresholds of Big History.

Syllabus

Big History, Critical Thinking, & Transdisciplinarity
-Welcome to Big History! This is where we use the power of a transdisciplinary perspective to explore broad trends in the grand narrative of 13.8 billion years. In this module you'll learn how Big History works, explore critical-thinking, how we know what we know, and learn about the first "3 Thresholds of Increasing Complexity", milestones around which Big History is organized, starting at the beginning of the Universe, space, time, and everything in existence.

The Universe, Stars, and Planets
-Our journey across space and time has begun. In this module, in a timeline that covers billions of years, we'll explore the origins of the universe, new stars & elements, and the solar system. You'll have the opportunity to examine cosmology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and geology.

The Evolutionary Epic
-Travel through the evolutionary epic from the origin of life c.3.8 billion years ago, the evolution of complex forms after c.550 million years ago, to the evolution of some very odd primates - humans. Zoom in and explore evolutionary biology, geology, palaeontology, and anthropology.

Human History
-After billions of years of cosmic evolution, our own rather peculiar species has emerged to cultivate even greater heights of increasing complexity. In this module, we will explore the long trend of human development from the origin of our species c.200,000 years ago to the eve of the Industrial Revolution. You will explore archaeology, paleography, and ancient, medieval, and early modern history.

Modernity
-We have now arrived at one of the most dynamically changing periods ever seen in human history - our own times. This module will explore how the agrarian era that had lasted for 10,000 years transitioned to the modern era with its explosion of production and complexity. We will explore modern history, political science, and economics.

The Future
-We've looked far into the deep past, now is the time to take what we've learned and look ahead. In this module we will explore the near and distant future, what challenges we face this century, how we study the future on the scale of billions of years, and where complexity may go from here. The section incorporates climatology, cosmology, physics, and foresight.

Taught by

David Baker

Help Center

Most commonly asked questions about Coursera Coursera

Reviews for Coursera's Big History: Connecting Knowledge
4.6 Based on 11 reviews

  • 5 stars 64%
  • 4 stars 36%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
Magnus M
5.0 4 years ago
Magnus is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Very thought provoking. Since it deals with our origins to now.

The videos are very short, which I like. With more information in Glossary and follow-ups. That´s how I like it, because of this can you also choose difficulty level and time commitment.
6 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Rebecca J
5.0 3 years ago
by Rebecca completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Superb course. It's given me a much better perspective on the universe and our own history. It also asks some questions about what's in store for the universe, and us, which got me thinking about the future.

The videos generally don't feel too long. The course doesn't have much compulsory material, but it does have a lot of optional material to accompany the videos; I found this worked well for me, because I could more easily mould the course around my weekly life as I got busier or less busy.

Oh, and I found the short video on tips for reading hieroglyphs to be a ple…
3 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Nicholas J
5.0 4 years ago
by Nicholas completed this course.
0 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Philipp S
5.0 3 years ago
Philipp completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Pamylle G
4.0 3 years ago
by Pamylle completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Martin D
4.0 3 years ago
by Martin completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Virgilio V
4.0 3 years ago
by Virgilio completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Michael Y
5.0 3 years ago
Michael completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Georgakopoulou V
5.0 3 years ago
Georgakopoulou completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Annamaria M
5.0 3 years ago
by Annamaria completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Joanna D
4.0 4 years ago
Joanna completed this course.
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free

Never stop learning Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.