Jul 24, 2023

10 for 10 Million: Duke’s Earliest Coursera Courses

Blythe Tyrone

Celebrating 10 million enrollments in our Coursera courses and specializations!

It’s official: Duke’s Coursera courses have exceeded 10 million enrollments! In celebration of this milestone, we’re exploring some of the courses that have been a part of our Coursera journey. First up, we are highlighting 10 of the earliest courses and specializations that Duke published on Coursera. They are all still available, and as you will see from recent testimonials, have stood the test of time and remain relevant today.


#1. Introductory Human Physiology

Dive into the intricate world of human physiology with this comprehensive course that covers the body’s major organ systems, their roles, and how they contribute to overall health. Ideal for students, healthcare professionals, or anyone with a basic understanding of human anatomy, this course offers an immersive VR experience, providing an innovative approach to understanding complex concepts by virtually journeying within the human body.

“I am a 4th year BS Biology Student, and an aspiring med student. I took this course as a preparatory measure on our specialization course “Human Anatomy and Physiology,” and also to prepare myself for med school by collating more knowledge and notes for active recall. Surprisingly, it did help me more than I imagined. The way [the instructors] explained the concepts on how the body works made a significant role in my understanding and appreciation. It is way easy for me to say that this would be my favorite course both here on coursera and even in college. Thanks!” – Giear, 2022


#2. Dog Emotion and Cognition

Join instructor Brian Hare for a fascinating introduction to dog psychology, exploring cognitive theory, experimental methodology and comparisons with other species. Perfect for dog enthusiasts and individuals interested in animal behavior, human evolution, or dog training, this course empowers learners to see their dogs from a new perspective and prepares them for more advanced studies in the evolutionary or cognitive sciences.

“Thank you for the course and The Genius of Dogs. It was helpful in evolving the way I relate to my dogs which originally was in the dominant style popular decades ago (I’m 65, and training theories have certainly improved during my lifetime). Thanks to your book and course I am having the best relationship with my dog and training is a joy for both of us.” – Dave, 2023


#3. Copyright for Educators and Librarians

Librarians and educators: Empower yourself with a practical framework for analyzing copyright issues this course designed with professionals in mind. By using real-life examples for in-depth understanding, this course serves as a bridge between educational practice and legal permissible activities, providing a comprehensive exploration of copyright beyond traditional presentations or workshops and paving the way for further learning in copyright in multimedia.

“I am a library director at a private visual effects college. Many faculty members come to me to assess and evaluate material use in their courses. I was always nervous when presented with an issue or question. After taking this course, I feel more confident in my ability to address copyright issues at my institution. The lectures were engaging and the content informative. The quizzes were especially helpful in presenting scenarios that reinforced the concepts discussed in the lectures. I have bookmarked all readings for future reference. Thank you!” – Lucy, 2023

#4. Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business Specialization

Master the art of formulating data questions, exploring and visualizing large datasets, and making informed strategic decisions with this Specialization. Utilizing powerful tools like Excel, Tableau, and MySQL, you’ll create forecasts, design visualizations, and communicate insights, culminating in a real-world Capstone Project sponsored by Airbnb, where you’ll optimize revenues from residential property, with top completers getting a chance to present their work to Airbnb’s senior data scientists.

“Coming from a mechanical engineering background, I wanted to learn more about  data analysis and statistical decision making. This course was the perfect gateway into the world of data analysis. I felt that Professor. Daniel Egger’s way of explaining concepts was really simple and easy to grasp. The resources made available were an added benefit as I could practice the concepts I had just learnt. I am an incoming student at Duke University for the Master of Engineering Management program for Fall 2022. This course reassures me about the quality of education and professors present at Duke, and I look forward to my time there.” – Anonymous Learner in Mastering Data Analysis in Excel, 2022

#5. Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization

Embark on your journey towards a software development career with this beginner-friendly Specialization in Java, one of the most sought-after programming languages and the foundation of the Android operating system. Through core programming concepts and solving complex problems, you’ll acquire essential software engineering skills, create a portfolio of practical projects – including a recommender engine like those used by Netflix or Amazon, and an interactive webpage for image filtering – setting you on the path to mastery in Java programming.

“I would like to thank the instructors for their effort to share their knowledge and skills in a dedicated, easy and knowledgeable manner. I am currently working as a data engineer/data visualization developer; this course will help me in developing data pipeline APIs and analyzing CSV files in my data analytics task. I like the course for it starts with small concepts before going to coding challenges and the instructors’ way of demonstrating each step.” – Anonymous Learner in Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software, 2023

#6. Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

Delve into the fundamental areas of biology with the college-level ‘Introduction to Genetics and Evolution’ course, which is simultaneously offered to new students at Duke University. This course provides a basic understanding of principles such as genome sequences, DNA-derived ancestry, evolution debates, animal behavior, and genetic evidence for natural selection, aiming to clear misconceptions and equip students for future advanced coursework in biology, particularly evolutionary genetics.

“It was very well-structured and complete, allowing it to be valuable for students with a natural science background, as well as people, such as myself, coming from different disciplines. I took it because I couldn’t shake off my passion for biology, even if I chose to get an undergraduate degree in social science. It kindled my desire to pursue an interdisciplinary graduate degree, focusing on the biological sciences and I thank you kindly for giving me the basic knowledge to dive further into biological research and strengthen my possibilities to get into a good graduate program once I finish my undergraduate degree.” – Pamela, 2021

#7. Oil and Gas Industry Operations and Markets

Discover the significant impact of the oil and gas industry on daily life with this two-week course focusing on the industry’s operations and markets. Starting with an overview of oil and gas production from exploration to transport, it progresses to understanding the market dynamics such as well costs, seasonal price impacts, and the role of reserves, reinforcing learning through quizzes, crowd-sourced global market discussions, and a final project.

“I’m currently pursuing my Master’s in Applied Geophysics. Being a student of geophysics, we are taught about different surveys in exploring hydrocarbons and I was curious to know about how the oil and gas industry operates and how the markets work. This course has helped me to learn a lot about the different processes that take place in the oil and gas industries. The course was easily understandable, flexible and brief. Your lectures were very interesting and I want to thank you for the knowledge you have shared.” – Himangshu, 2023

#8. Sports and Society

Venture into the societal implications of sports with this course that uses anthropology, sociology, history and other disciplines to explore the often overlooked questions of money, politics, race, sex, culture and commercialization that underpin sports globally. With a focus on both popular and lesser-known sports, this course promises to reshape the way you view and think about sports.

“As a student who will study sports management this year, thank you for your classes introducing me to a basic image of the sport in the world! I worked in the Beijing 2022 Olympic World Games and its test events. It’s a chance that I had never thought about; before that, I had zero knowledge about sports and these events. But finally, I made it; this experience inspired me to get involved in this area, and your exciting class is the first step for my postgraduate learning!” – Anonymous Learner, 2022

#9. Music as Biology: What We Like to Hear and Why

Examine the intriguing interplay between music and biology in this course, which examines the tonal combinations deemed consonant or dissonant by humans, our choice of scales, and the emotions music incites. Drawing on analyses of speech and musical databases, the course explores how aspects of music such as the chromatic scale, worldwide scale preferences, and cultural emotional responses to music, mirror voiced speech characteristics and evolve as a strategy to interpret inherently ambiguous sensory stimuli.

“I’m a Conceptual Producer from Ukraine, and in my work I stand for the idea that music tells stories. I took this course to deepen my knowledge in understanding human’s perception. After passing, it is clear for me now why I like certain music – from a scientific point of view. This course is great because it gives explanations on issues like how music is perceived, how tonal systems evolved, why minor and major scales are so common, and so on.” – Anonymous Learner, 2020

#10. Data Analysis with R Specialization

Set out on a comprehensive data analysis journey with this Specialization, where you will learn to analyze, visualize and wrangle data using R. Gain mastery in statistical inference and modeling and build a portfolio of data analysis projects that showcase your expertise and make you well-suited for statistical analysis or data scientist roles.

“I’m an adult learner currently taking coursework online through another institution, working on a master’s degree in marine biology.  We have an upcoming required statistics course (including R) and I hadn’t taken statistics in about 25 years so needed a refresher. I was intimidated by computer programming at first (having never done it) but this course is excellent. I appreciate the clear instruction and I learned a lot! Thank you so much!” – Anonymous Learner, 2023

These 10 courses and specializations represent just a few of what Duke has to offer on Coursera. Check out the full catalog and find your next learning opportunity!

The testimonials in this post were lightly edited for anonymity and grammatical errors.

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