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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Mountains 101 by University of Alberta

2,409 ratings

About the Course

Mountains 101­­ is a broad and integrated overview of the mountain world. This 12-lesson course covers an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on the physical, biological, and human dimensions of mountain places in Alberta, Canada, and around the world. Specifically, we'll study the geological origins of mountains, how they’re built-up and worn-down over time; we’ll learn about their importance for biodiversity and water cycles, globally and locally; we’ll explore their cultural significance to societies around the globe, and how that relationship has evolved over time; and we’ll learn how mountains are used, how they’re protected, and how today they’re experiencing rapid change in a warming climate. At the end of each lesson, Mountains 101 will also provide learners with some smart tricks -- Tech Tips -- to safely enjoy time in the high alpine environment: from how to pick the best footwear for hiking to making smart decisions in avalanche terrain. We’ll be delivering your online lessons from valley bottoms to mountaintops, from museums and labs, to alpine huts and other spectacular alpine sites, and we’ll do so with the help of a whole host of experts. We invite you to join us for this online adventure! The mountains are calling......

Top reviews


Nov 2, 2021

Great course, full of useful knowledge, interesting facts, magnificent landscapes and surprises like mountains environment itself. It was just amazing! Thank you so much, I really enjoyed this course.


Oct 22, 2022

It was a wonderful lerning experience for me. The content was great, the videos and lessessons were very enjoyable and enlightening. Bravo to the teams who created this couse, well done and thank you.

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1 - 25 of 899 Reviews for Mountains 101

By mp

May 10, 2020

I had to return and submit a clearer review, as now I have more experience with Coursera and have come across some suspicious reviews xD

1. I still believe this is, so far, one of the best courses because Zac and David have such a good engagement with the audience, it does feel like they're having a conversation directly with *you*. Each word is really clear, while the flow and ease of how they're speaking demonstrate their definite knowledge on the topic; while their personal inflections demonstrate their passion (and not like a robotic talking at you).

2. Production of the whole course is really high-quality with many intermissions; there is a British voice reading quotes, the practical tips with on-site demonstrations, on-site with relevant national bodies, interviews/snippets with other experts; not to mention all the vista shots with its location (and sometimes additional info). This makes it all feel like an in-person course, or as if you're travelling the global mountain landscape with Zac as your guide.

3. Fundamentally, the quizzes are completely relevant to the lecture info. The modules are clear and thoughtfully indicated of their relevance. The entire course reviews facets that may not be obvious to all (historical, ecological, social, cultural, technical).

4. At the end of it all, if not only as an expression of their passion and knowledge, but this is a really good reflection on UofA! Such excitement and engaged professors are so valuable to the learning outcome. If this was available way back when, perhaps I would've changed faculties xD


My only complaint is that there isn't a Mountains 102. Yet...? =D

By Benjamin A

Feb 24, 2018

Great diversity of topics. Awesome collaboration between professionals in the scientific community. Fully appreciate the knowledge and inspiration acquired throughout the course. Thank you!

By Sofia K

Dec 23, 2017

So interesting! So well made, every lesson is thought out the interactive mountain map was a joy to complete each time! Incredibly thoughtful and sensitive to every aspect that touches the mountains.

By James J

Aug 1, 2020

Incredibly well-produced set of videos that are highly educational, well-rounded, beautiful, and interesting. I hope it leaves you wanting to both visit and protect these places, as it did for me.

By Deleted A

Feb 12, 2021

Great fun, I really enjoyed this course. Sometimes the dialogue was somewhat repetitive but overall you can see a lot of effort went into finding experts and giving quality, accompanying video clips.

By Gladiston C

Nov 26, 2018

Excellent Course!

By Annie C

Nov 11, 2018

I've always liked the outdoors, and Mountains 101 provided me a lens with which to view and appreciate mountains. The course delves deep into everything to do with mountains globally, focusing on the Canadian Rockies as a home base. Topics cover the history of mountains in literature and society, biology and conservation, geology and the climate impact of mountains, and even tips on how to explore mountains safely and comfortably. The visuals are stunning and I appreciated the well-rounded approach of this course. Zak and David are articulate, engaging, and easy to understand, and the many on-location interviews with experts only added more to the course. I'm already planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies!

By Kyle C

Apr 27, 2019

Absolutely loved every second of it! Reignited my love for geography and the outdoors with sleek, informative- documentary styled lectures. I found the course holistically enriching and fun!

By Alan B

Jun 22, 2017

This is a very comprehensive and interesting presentation of the place mountain occupy in our social, economical, and spiritual life. I definitely would enjoy visiting the Canadian Rockies.

By Sara S

Dec 2, 2018

Thoroughly enjoyed this course. I recommend it to anyone that has any interest in learning more about mountains. Every lesson is jam-packed with great information. Thank you!

By Wasima E

Dec 13, 2018

amazing lectures with spectacular video classes which provide adequate knowledge with exact visualization !

By Louis B

May 18, 2020

Mountains 101 is an excellent introductory course.

By Cheryl L

Jan 30, 2021

This is the best online course I have taken. Interesting, well presented, great structure.

The videos are done extremely well with great narration, and the well-researched material is presented in a way that someone without previous knowledge could understand. The structure of the course was well thought out with 12 varying topics (excellently curated) from early geology to glaciers to animals to preservation laid out in a way that complemented each other. Each topic had videos that were summarized in thorough course notes, snippets from domain experts, an interactive map to mark places from the lesson, and tech tips for going into the mountains, which added to the cohesive and comprehensive nature of the whole course.

I am someone who loves going into the mountains but isn't in the fields of geology, ecology, environmental science, biology, or anything related. As someone without previous knowledge in the domain, I thought I would just watch a few tech tips and skip over the hard-core domain expert material. Instead, I found it so interesting and accessible that I watched every single video and completed the whole course.

By Diana T

Jul 1, 2018

This is a really well done and amazing course, with a wealth of knowledge gained about mountains, their ecosystems and people living in and using mountains. Thank you for the organizers and participants in making this wonderful course. I thought the information about biodiversity, geology, climate, people, etc., all related to mountains, were well intertwined and well organized. Excellent instructors, with a great connection to the mountains they work in. An excellent addition to the course were the guests that brought new perspective to the topic in question. I highly recommend this course. It is really fun, interesting and overall exceptional.

By Aleksandr S

Oct 24, 2020

Many thanks to all the organisers of the course! It was an amaizing adventure, absolutely full of relevant information, quotes of famous explorers, spectular views, music! The approach of the authors covers all the necessary topics, related to mountains. It is truly spectacular, breathtaking, grasping and motivating!

By Ron G

Feb 4, 2021

Well organized and excellent presentations. It provided me with an excellent perspective on the reality of mountains and the importance of them to the world. Highly recommended for all Canadians.

By Yves S

Aug 4, 2017

Good intro course, I just hoped that the focus would have been more on the geological part and a bit less on the cultural part. But still, those parts enhanced the variety and completed the view one has on mountains, so I can live with it :-)

All in all quite a complete intro on mountains - recommended!

By Jeff F

Nov 15, 2020

I really liked the course content, but I would have wished the course was more challenging in terms of difficulty. Also, I would have also like to have learned more about ways to utilized plants and resources from the mountains instead of solely being told the preserve mountain ecosystems. I love going into the mountains for days at a time while being self-sufficient, surely not an easy task so any information to become a better mountain man is surely Welcome!

By Victor C

Aug 24, 2020

Some of it was interesting, but it was mostly really boring, not sure why I decided to do this one

By Dennis G

Aug 29, 2020

This 12-week course rekindled my fascination for mountains. With the mounting anxiety brought by pandemic, I revisited my previous interests on the things and activities I dearly enjoyed. During my childhood, I developed fears for mountains or any huge and towering land masses. As I grow, I found myself collecting memorable moments of climbing Philippine mountains wherein I vigorously nourished the serene feeling upon reaching the summit. It heightened my awareness on how mountains have extraordinary cultural significance to different countries across the world. But for me, mountains will remain a sanctuary, place of consolation and divine connection to the Creator and its creations.

Special mention is the eruption of our very own Mt. Pinatubo which I am completely surprised because it caused significant of how it lowered the Earth’s temperature due to expulsion of Sulfur Dioxide in stratosphere. I was also astounded by how leading countries put priority in protecting and preserving their mountain ecosystems and natural resources. I am hopeful that it could also be done to our country.

My heartfelt gratitude to Coursera, professors David and Zac, and to entire team of University of Alberta for pulling off this course and delivering it in the most enjoyable and effective way. The practical and smart tricks from Tech tips portions are equally useful to safely enjoy future hikes.

By C P

Feb 26, 2017

Thank you, kindly, for an outstanding interdisciplinary introduction to mountain environments. I am a senior citizen so, obviously, participated out of interest versus a grade or credit. My husband's curiosity got the best of him as he was looking over my shoulder for every lesson! The course content was excellent and well balanced with outstanding presentation by both Zac and David. Appreciated the presenters' objectives of focusing on key concepts rather than every miniscule detail for this introductory course. Of particular interest were the numerous on location interviews with field experts relating to the many aspects of mountain geology, landscape, biodiversity, climate, populations etc. I very much enjoyed the scenic backdrops from all over the world and highly recommend this course in order for each new learner to, in some small way, contribute as a steward of the fabulous world in which we are privileged to live. We have a road trip planned for the Canadian Rockies for summer 2017, making this a very timely course presentation for us. The end of lesson tech tips will come in handy for our adventure this summer...and a real plus given that Parcs Canada's Discovery Pass offers free admission to Canada's Sign up and enjoy the course!

By Deborah M

Aug 27, 2017

I really enjoyed this course. I have learned a lot from this course. I am starting Intro to Physical geography at Wilfrid Laurier in Sept 2017 and surface of the Earth - geology course in Jan 2018, though a program called Access to University, with the faculty of Arts and The working Centre for non traditional students to pay for 5 courses and books. I will be 53 this year and most courses I took were medical courses, biology, anatomy... some engineering and electronics. I took this course to prepare myself as I go into an area completely unfamiliar to me. Who knows perhaps I will develop a new passion and continue on in Geography and possibly do the geomatics option. I think this course is a wonderful course to help prepare a student, everyone was very knowledgeable and all looked excited to share their knowledge. I think the only complaint I would have is that after 12 weeks I was getting tired of the opening music and wished for something different; therefore if that is the only complaint I have you know that you will enjoy this course. I have never been out west and now I more then ever want to travel there.

By Adrián G G

Nov 26, 2017

It is an interesting course full of the best proffesional about each aim or them. I apreciate a lot the tips section because all the people who want to explore the mountains by themselves must to know everything which was explain in that section.

I would like to tell you one advice (from my point of view): I only want to highlight some questions about the final lesson quizs because I think you have chosen good questions but they could be even better. I want to mean questions more focus on mountains science and not in what was the date of some event or something like that.

Congratulation to all the groups what have been working so hard to do such a good job and refresh-teach society how important are those colosals and georgeous parts of the Earth Mother The final comment is that I could understand so well the English even being Spanish talker.


By Ginnie V

Oct 23, 2022

It was a wonderful lerning experience for me. The content was great, the videos and lessessons were very enjoyable and enlightening. Bravo to the teams who created this couse, well done and thank you.

By Andy W

Dec 20, 2021

This was a real eye opener to the outside world and how wildlife, people, and plants manage to continue to live in the mountains. It was a truly imformative course that i will recommend to others.