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Since 2010, after the involvement of Bill Gates, the theme big history has taken a giant leap in popularity. Many universities and also high schools added this theme to their curriculum. Eighteen years ago, the IIS of the UvA was one of the first to introduce this interdisciplinary course in the Netherlands. Nowadays, Big History is one of the most popular open courses at the UvA. To be able to give even more people access to this integrated overview, the IIS developed this massive open online course with the help of the Ministry of Education.

This MOOC does not replace the intensive open course at the UvA, but gives a clear introduction of this theme. Short films will help you start up a part of history, added with lectures of astrophysicists, geologists, biologists, historians, and many other scientists will answer some important academic questions on this subject. At Coursera, multiple choice questionnaires will test your knowledge, finalising in a little big history essay. The MOOC is offered on YouTube and ChronoZoom as well, which gives teachers the opportunity to integrate parts of the MOOC in their own education.

The following top-scientists share their knowledge in this course:

Robbert Dijkgraaf: mathematische fysica
Fred Spier: big history
Ralph Wijers: astrophysics
Stan Bentvelsen: particle physics
Selma de Mink: astrophysics
Michiel van der Klis: astronomy
Carsten Dominik: astronomy
Hans Breeuwer: evolution biology
Jan Smit: stratigraphy
Steve Donovan: paleontology
Lars van den Hoek Ostende: paleontology
Cyriel Pennartz: cognitive neurobiology
Paul Storm: paleoanthropology
Karel van der Toorn: theology
Henry Hooghiemstra: paleo-ecology
Geert Janssen: early modern history
Nico Wilterdink: cultural sociology
Lucas Reijnders: environmental studies
Arnoud Boot: economy
Max Welling: machine learning
Esther Quaedackers

Integrating the MOOC in education

The chapters of the MOOC are available to download on its YouTube channel and ChronoZoom. ChronoZoom gives instructions on how to zoom in and zoom out of the timeline, and use this in your education. You can choose to focus on a specific discipline, and set it in big history, or integrate the MOOC as a whole.

In addition, the MOOC can be followed on Coursera.

Links to channels

For the YouTube channel, click here
For ChronoZoom, click here
For Coursera, click here