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Intro

Coursera: Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology

 with  Philip Currie and Betsy Kruk
Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology is a 12-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of non-avian dinosaurs. Topics covered: anatomy, eating, locomotion, growth, environmental and behavioral adaptations, origins and extinction. Lessons are delivered from museums, fossil-preparation labs and dig sites. Estimated workload: 3-5 hrs/week.

Syllabus

Appearance and Anatomy
This lesson covers the diversity in dinosaur appearances, and will be able to identify major features of the major groups of dinosaurs.

Death and Fossilization
This module describes how fossils form, how we interpret the taphonomy of skeletons and bonebeds, and looks at the possible biases taphonomic events may create in the fossil record.

Eating
This module looks at the variety of food types, feeding habits, and feeding adaptations amongst the major groups of dinosaurs.

Moving Around
This module helps students understand the general modes and styles of locomotion in the major dinosaur groups. It also describes general methods of evaluating hypotheses on locomotion.

Birth, Growth and Reproduction
This module provides a generalized life history of a dinosaur, from birth through adulthood, including reproduction. The student will be able to describe major techniques of evaluating growth stages and rates in dinosaurs.

Attack and Defense
Examines the behaviours and structures that may have served for attack or defence through the lifetime of a dinosaur.

What is a Species?
This module will teach the different ways of defining what a species is. Students will be able to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different species concepts for different situations.

Evolution
This module will describe the basic theories of speciation, and discusses how how these different methods of speciation may have occurred, including both hypothetical and empirical examples.

Stratigraphy and Geologic Time
This method provides basic stratigraphic concepts and the scale of earth history. Students will understand the evolution of dinosaurs through time, including which groups evolved when and where.

Paleogeography and Plate Tectonics
This module presents the basic concepts in plate tectonics and the evolution of the earth’s surface.

Dinosaur Origins
This module will look at the evolution of dinosaurs from non-dinosaurian archosaurs.

Dinosaur Extinction
The module will examine the end-Cretaceous extinction event, and provide examples of vertebrate groups that both persisted and died out during the event.

22 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Upcoming
Subject Biology
Institution University of Alberta
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 3-10 hours a week
Calendar 12 weeks long
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What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

22 reviews for Coursera's Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
Jeffrey Chiou completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
Great course! The lectures are very enjoyable to watch, much like watching nature documentaries. Overall the difficulty is extremely easy and requires minimal committment, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are a busy person. In addition, all the lectures are made available at the beginning of the c Read More
Great course! The lectures are very enjoyable to watch, much like watching nature documentaries. Overall the difficulty is extremely easy and requires minimal committment, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are a busy person. In addition, all the lectures are made available at the beginning of the course, so you can watch multiple week's worth of lectures at once if you want.

To get the most out of the course, I recommend reading the included class notes, which go into greater detail than the lectures and contain some wonderful diagrams and pictures.

The only (very minor) criticism I have is that difficulty of the in-lecture quizzes varies greatly and depends on prior knowledge.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Stephen D Swaney completed this course.
Great intro to dinosaur biology. Engaging lectures and some good discussion in the forums. Plus there are some 3D scans of dino fossils you can play with in your browser. As one of the other reviewers implied, it is not a rigorous course, although they do go into some detail about dino anatomy. I thought it was per Read More
Great intro to dinosaur biology. Engaging lectures and some good discussion in the forums. Plus there are some 3D scans of dino fossils you can play with in your browser.

As one of the other reviewers implied, it is not a rigorous course, although they do go into some detail about dino anatomy. I thought it was perfect for a 100 level course. If UAlberta ever gives a follow-on, I am there!
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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John Smith completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
I personally found this course to be far too basic. It is a very superficial introduction to and overview of dinosaurs that will not be very interesting to anyone with more than a passing interest in them. Having said that, the course was quite well done and would be perfect for someone who is just beginning to learn about dinosaurs.
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
a year ago
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Anonymous completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I was initially nervous about taking this course given that I don't come from a scientific background but I was pleased to discover that I struggled much less than I thought I would. It is a wonderful overview and introduction to paleobiology and inspired me to look for more courses in the same arena.
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
a year ago
Mona Fahmy Lang completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Very interesting course. I did it for myself, because I wanted to know more about dinosaurs and I learned so much also about the Earth. What I also liked was to learn about the latest discoveries in that field. The content was well organised. The teachers were clear and agreable to listen to. I particularly enjoyed the visits on the field.
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Meg Bauer completed this course.
Another terrific MOOC featuring engaging material and presenters. This one gets points for variety – they regularly changed up the format of the video lectures and even took us on-site to excavations in the Alberta Badlands.
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Superb! Excellent presentation, real fossils used, on-location filming, engaging software applications, great supplementary materials, and strong on-line support. This was my first class in over a decade and it has motivated me to look at additional MOOC offerings.
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Very high quality of video presentations. Some nice interactive activities (3d models, timescale, fossil puzzles). Very high budget.

A bit too simple - absolutely not for "hardcore scientists".
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
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Tw Hayden completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I zoomed through the videos, foregoing the week by week. This was a really great course. A thorough introduction to dinosaurs that touches on so much of the relevant scientific information. Embedded questions in the video were great.
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3 months ago
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Peri Ost completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
This course really does give a good, broad base of knowledge. To explore more about these concepts I recommend checking out the other paleo courses from the University of Alberta.
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
great information. really enjoyed this class. It was just too short and my computer skills are lacking. Thanks for a great time. Very enjoyable
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Cécile completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
The videos are very engaging, I watched them twice. I wish there was more, maybe a Dino 102 in the future?
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a year ago
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Julia Sjoberg completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Excellent course -- highly recommended for the armchair paleontologist, especially anyone who has yet to outgrow a youthful passion for dinosaurs.
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Debbie Brown completed this course.
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2 years ago
Anastasia Blita completed this course.
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2 years ago
Alan Salsac completed this course.
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6 months ago
Tess Ericson audited this course.
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9 months ago
Fábio Medeiros completed this course.
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a year ago
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9 months ago
Davyd Mccoll completed this course.
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2 months ago
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Alyson Kelman completed this course.
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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Reg Sharpe completed this course.
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