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Interdisciplinary education

Big History MOOC

an integrated overview from the beginning of the universer until life on earth now, and beyond

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 of the UvA. To be able to give a wider audience 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, your knowledge will be tested by multiple choice questionnaires finalizing in a little big history essay. The MOOC will be 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:

Prof.dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf: mathematische fysica
Dr. Fred Spier: big history
Prof. dr. Ralph Wijers: astrofysica
Prof. dr. Stan Bentvelsen: deeltjesfysica
Dr. Selma de Mink: astrofysica
Prof. dr. Michiel van der Klis: astronomie
Prof. dr. Carsten Dominik: astronomie
Dr. Hans Breeuwer: evolutiebiologie
Prof. dr. Jan Smit: stratigrafie
Dr. Steve Donovan: paleontologie
Dr. Lars van den Hoek Ostende: paleontologie
Prof. dr. Cyriel Pennartz: cognitieve neurobiologie
Dr. Paul Storm: paleoantropologie
Prof. dr. Karel van der Toorn: theologie
Prof. dr. Henry Hooghiemstra: paleo-ecologie
Prof. dr. Geert Janssen: vroegmoderne geschiedenis
Prof. dr. Nico Wilterdink: culturele sociologie
Prof. dr. Lucas Reijnders: mileukunde
Prof. dr. Arnoud Boot: economie
Prof. dr. Max Welling: machine learning
M.Sc. ir. Esther Quaedackers

Integrating the MOOC in education

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

From 28 November on, the MOOC can be followed on Coursera, and the chapters will be made available for free downloading on YouTube and ChronoZoo

Links to channels

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