Big History: Connecting Knowledge

Experience our modern scientific origin story through Big History and discover the importance of connecting knowledge and links between past, current, and future events.

About this Course

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 traveling through time all the way to the future.

Discover the connections in our world, the power of Connecting Knowledge, how our universe and our world have evolved from incredible simplicity to ever-increasing complexity. You will find two different types of lectures.

‘Zooming In’ lectures from multiple specialists enable you to understand key concepts of Connecting Knowledge 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.


4 hours to complete

Connecting Knowledge: 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.

5 videos (Total 45 min), 13 readings, 2 quizzes

6 hours to complete

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.

9 videos (Total 82 min), 22 readings, 2 quizzes

6 hours to complete

The Evolutionary Epic: Connecting Knowledge
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.

8 videos (Total 72 min), 21 readings, 2 quizzes

5 hours to complete

Connecting Knowledge: 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.

7 videos (Total 61 min), 15 readings, 2 quizzes

5 hours to complete

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.

6 videos (Total 57 min), 16 readings, 2 quizzes

4 hours to complete

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.

4 videos (Total 32 min), 9 readings, 3 quizzes

Free Course on Big History: Connecting Knowledge

Originally posted 2022-01-29 20:34:53.


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