For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
Bekijk de site in het Nederlands

On 28 November, the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (ISS) launched the Big History Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Coursera, YouTube and ChronoZoom platforms. The MOOC, which has been established with the assistance of a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, is freely available in all countries.

Credits: IIS

In this academic MOOC, 20 prominent researchers, from astronomers to historians, will give an integrated overview of the history of everything, from the Big Bang to now.

The MOOC takes approximately 4 weeks on Coursera, but the parts will also be offered separately on YouTube and via the virtual zoomable timeline ChronoZoom. As a result, it is possible to integrate the content oneself into one’s own education. In this way, the MOOC Big History provides context to the various disciplines that are reviewed within this subject.

Watch the trailer

A better understanding of history

Esther Quaedackers, big history lecturer at the UvA and coordinator of the MOOC: 'This Big History MOOC brings together 20 top researchers from various disciplines in one course, serving as a beautiful, accessible introduction to better understanding history from the Big Bang up until life on earth as it is today.'

Lucy Wenting, Director of the IIS: 'With the help of the MOOC, the UvA is aiming, as a pioneer in the field of big history, to meet the fast-growing global demand for big history education. By offering this on different platforms, such as YouTube and ChronoZoom, it offers anyone the opportunity to use the material, and to expand or modernise their education.'

Participating reseachers

Prof. Robbert Dijkgraaf: mathematical physics
Dr Fred Spier: big history
Prof. Ralph Wijers: astrophysics
Prof. Stan Bentvelsen: particle physics
Dr Selma de Mink: astrophysics
Prof. Michiel van der Klis: astronomy
Prof. Carsten Dominik: astronomy
Dr Hans Breeuwer: evolutionary biology
Prof. Jan Smit: stratigraphy
Dr Steve Donovan: paleontology
Dr Lars van den Hoek Ostende: paleontology
Prof. Cyriel Pennartz: cognitive neurobiology
Dr Paul Storm: paleoanthropology
Prof. Karel van der Toorn: theology
Prof. Henry Hooghiemstra: paleoecology
Prof. Geert Janssen: early modern history
Prof. Nico Wilterdink: cultural sociology
Prof. Lucas Reijnders: environmental sciences
Prof. Arnoud Boot: economics
Prof. Max Welling: machine learning


If you would you like to register for this MOOC, please visit and select one of the different platforms on which this MOOC is offered.

ICT in teaching and education

The UvA is developing various initiatives in the field of ICT in education. An increasing amount of lectures can be viewed online – via livestream or afterwards. The development of and experimentation with MOOCs is in keeping with the drive to make knowledge broadly available and to demonstrate the attractiveness of a scientific study.