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Emergence of Life – New University of Illinois Online Course – Starts Monday

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I previously mentioned an upcoming “Emergence of Life” course that folks here might be interested in.  Details here.

The course has now been scheduled and starts this Monday, July 14, 2014, at Coursera.  You can find the course here.

If you decide to take the course, I encourage professionalism and civility in any forum interactions with other students and staff, in what can potentially be a controversial subject.

As I stated before:

Will the course have some holes?  No doubt.  Will it answer some of the key issues that have been raised about the cause of the Cambrian Explosion, the infusion of information necessary for the emergence of different forms, how complex functional structures can arise via natural processes?  Unlikely.  Yet it should provide a good high level sense as to what the evolutionary story is, from abiogenesis to early life to current life forms, to life beyond Earth.

If any commenters at UD end up taking the course and want to post summaries of issues or thoughtful critiques here, I would be happy to help facilitate that.

Please, though, if any of you do sign up for the course, please do so in the spirit of learning, rather than to challenge or create controversy.  Be respectful and recognize this for what it is: the chance to learn from an experienced professor at a major institution.

It is amazing that universities are expanding their online opportunities. I can even say more, online education is getting more and more popular. I won’t be that surprised to learn that people will switch to it eventually. Of course, it is very convenient for those who have a good sense of self-discipline. Also, you can immediately order college personal essays online which is also very good. Many advantages, I must say. CandiceC
Eric, I am also enrolled in the course. I actually learned of your post here based on seeing it mentioned in a post on the course discussion board. Looking forward to what should be a very interesting class and dialogue. scollinspt
I'm enrolled in the intro to Philosophy class coming up in a couple of months. There are a lot of interesting courses on offer there. johnp
Shhhh, don't anyone tell Jerry Coyne lest he descend upon the U of I like a locust swarm and devour the administration. OldArmy94
Incidentally, if anyone else is taking the course, feel free to let me know. We can perhaps use this forum here at UD to delve into some of the issues in more depth than will be possible on the Coursera forums. I think this could be a very valuable exercise and could contribute much to our understanding. I'll no doubt post a couple of items as the course progresses (though my travel schedule the next month will be a bit challenging), and am happy to help post new threads on issues others identify in the course, if you want to mention them in the comments below. Eric Anderson

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