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Coursera astrobiology.


JB80
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Has anyone else signed up for this course being offered?

https://www.coursera.org/course/astrobio

The other day I received an email from them stating they are on track to start the course by the end of the month.

I just was curious if there are enough others doing it to maybe start a study group or something.

They have updated the page with the Syllabus(below) and added another book for further reading which wasn't listed before.

Week 1: What is life and what are the definitions of life? What do we know about the origin of life and what are the current hypotheses for how it originated on the Earth?

Week 2: What was the environment of early Earth like when life first emerged and what do we know about life on the earliest Earth? How did life evolve to cope with survival in extreme environments? What have been the major evolutionary transitions of life on the Earth?

Week 3: What are the prospects for life on other planetary bodies in our Solar System and how do we go about searching for it? What conditions are required for a planet to be habitable?

Week 4: How do we search for Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars and how would we detect life on them?

Week 5: What are the possibilities for intelligent life elsewhere? How would we deal with contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence and what would be the impact on society? Who would represent Earth?

Sounds really interesting. So let us know if anyone else is in or not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm signed up to the course aswell, not really sure what to expect from it, i have zero knowledge of this as i am a complete amateur when it comes to astronomy and space science. Just thought it looked interesting. I actually bought the first book just after christmas with the intention of reading it before the course started but it got lost in the post!! :mad: so i ordered another from amazon (uk) and after purchasing i realised it was coming from america! so i will not have it by the time the course starts. Not a very good start to it all.

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I'm on the Introductory Astronomy course which is supposed to be around 6 to 8hrs/wk, it is more like an Astro Physics course and resembles the Stars and Nebulae module from my physics degree from 30 years ago.

The video lectures lead you to further research in addition to this to improve understanding, and I do not often grasp all of the concepts 1st time around from the lectures so find I am reviewing these a number of times.

With the homework I reckon I am putting in more like 16 to 20hrs/wk, so not an inconsiderable amount of time.

It is very challenging but enjoyable all the same and I am toying with the Mathematics module as my next course.

Be aware that if the Introductory Astronomy course is typical you will probably end up dedicating double the estimate of 3 to 4hrs/wk published by Coursera.

It's also worth noting that the thread on this board for the Introductory Astronomy course is suddenly very quiet which might be a good indication that a number of participants have dropped out.

These are more for personal challenge as the end certificate is not of any real recognition.

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I too am doing the astro course and am in above my head now! I'm also doing a mechanical engineering home learning course now which I really need to concentrate on, as it's paid for, and and is an actual qualification. I'd love to do the astrobiology course but don't think I will have time!

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I'm on the introductory astronomy course and although it's taking up quite a lot of time I'm really enjoying it. I have needed to watch most of the videos a couple of times but given the lecturers enthusiasm it's

been a pleasure!

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Just had a new email but haven't had the chance to check it out yet.

We very much look forward to starting the Astrobiology course next week. You are in good company with over 35,000 students enrolled in the course.

We have activated the site now and although the lectures do not start until next Monday, you have an opportunity to read the discussion forums, introduce yourselves and set up study groups.

Astrobiology is a very interdisciplinary subject and in the space of five weeks we can't hope to teach you everything! So we recommend setting up study groups, communicating with your fellow students on the course and investigating this fascinating subject beyond our own lectures and information.

Best Wishes and thanks for joining us in the study of life on the Earth and the search for life beyond!

Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life Course Staff

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If there are enough doing it then maybe.

I suppose we could just post in this thread as we go along.

I see they have added a 3rd book to the suggested reading, I wish I saw that earlier in the day when I was ordering stuff.

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Hi folks,

I'm signed up for the Astrobiology course, and I've done the first week's lectures and homework now. I haven't tried the Intro To Astronomy course, but this from what I've heard about it this one is a whole different undertaking. The Astronomy course has a lot of maths, but so far the Astrobiology course is concepts and knowledge rather than maths. I get the impression it'll stay that way, but I can't guarantee it. I'm enjoying it and glad I signed up. I've learned a lot already. Also, although there are recommended books, you don't need them to do the course. You only need the lectures (and maybe a bit of looking things up on the internet).

Good luck to everyone else who's doing it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm really enjoying the course. It's well presented and covers some interesting material. I'm learning a lot, especially as I'm reading one of the recommended books at the same time as doing the course. I highly recommend this course to anyone who's interested and wondering whether to take it - it's non-mathematical, so that's a factor for some, and although I'm spending a little more than the time they say it will take it's not taking over my life. Love it.

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I'm not sure how others are doing it but I watch the vids once but I take a heap of notes at the time, so basically I have a book full of notes that nobody would understand but I find them very useful later on and trying to make the notes make sense by remembering the connections to what I have written.

It seems to be working out alright for me so far.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished. :D

I did pretty well all in all.

Just have to wait now for results although I guess we know how well we did.

Also check this thread for further courses.

There are also rumblings of a follow up course to the astrobiology one.

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