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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Classical Sociological Theory by University of Amsterdam

2,656 ratings

About the Course

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will offer the participants an introduction into the most important classical sociological readings between the 18th and 20th century. Highly influential social science scholars, such as Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, will be discussed during 8 sessions. Combined with small tests, based on the video’s and recommended readings, the participants will be encouraged to dive deeply into the complex texts and get familiar with classical sociological concepts that are still very relevant today....

Top reviews


Jan 6, 2019

Simple,neat and interesting way of explaining the content. Didn't get bored. Good refreshment if you already know the stuff and good introduction if you are new to sociology. Professor is really nice.


Oct 28, 2018

This is a course which helps you understand the origin of Sociology. The content of this course includes all the sociologists who played a great role, also the lectures are delivered in a superb way.

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1 - 25 of 730 Reviews for Classical Sociological Theory

By Eva B

Feb 15, 2018

Great course, absolutely loved the teacher and his passion and how he explains difficult notions with so much ease. I would definitely recommend this course, it is a great first look into sociology.

By Santosh R K

Apr 28, 2020

Nice course , the Professor has delivered each lecture very interestingly. It provides basic understanding and relevance of Classical sociological theories to contemporary studies too.

Thank you.

By Michelle G

Oct 31, 2016

Informative and well presented, but honestly you need to make the core readings available online, as it makes it really difficult to possibly get the most out of this course. I live in a remote part of Australia where are no universities or public libraries which would have a copy of the book by Calhoun, and even if I had been able to afford the book it would have taken 6 weeks or more to get to me. So I read the alternative readings but it clearly wasn't enough to get the quiz questions right which were obviously extracted directly from content of the Calhoun book. If it isn't possible to make sections of this book available online then you should at least rewrite some of the quiz questions so that they are accessible to students who can't get hold of a copy of the book.

By Samar S

Jan 7, 2019

Simple,neat and interesting way of explaining the content. Didn't get bored. Good refreshment if you already know the stuff and good introduction if you are new to sociology. Professor is really nice.

By Divyang T

Oct 29, 2018

This is a course which helps you understand the origin of Sociology. The content of this course includes all the sociologists who played a great role, also the lectures are delivered in a superb way.

By Miguel A

Sep 7, 2018


By Andrés T L

Apr 2, 2021

- Excellent content organization.

- Very clear and entertaining teacher.

- Very relevant visual content.

- Very well structured theme.

- It awakens the interest to continue investigating.

By Alex T

Mar 3, 2016

A great lectures, I really like the attitude of this professor. He is really into his subject and I appreciated his resolution, when it comes to reducing the legacy of his favorite sociologists, into just one crucial point.

Not five stars for quizzes, the parts concerning reading of classics could be much more motivating, in the aspect of the actual reading and anderstanding.

Wish the course from University of Amsterdam on modern authors to come sooner.

By Najib B

Jan 15, 2019

This is indeed a great course that is true to the objective it sets to achieve- to be able to hold a discourse with classical sociologists through their own work. I always avoided reading classic work in sociology because it seemed to their ideas and style are beyong my ability to undertsand them. I have preferred introductions: 'to Durkheim, to Weber, to Comple' and lull myself into thinking that books about, rather than by, them present all their ideas with an 'explanation' bonus. Yet I was wrong, and the proof is that prfessor Heerikhuizendidn't introduce it all but he was so successful in giving tis MOOC's students the necessary theoretical and conceptual tools to enable them to engage with classc sociological work on their own if they decide or want to know it all, i.e, to read their work without being intimidated by its breadth or its depth. And i'm already making plans to start reading some of the classic books, begnning with Mandeville :) Thank a million again for the course.

By Shanto G

Sep 30, 2017

Being from a quantitative background this course has given me a great start in the field of sociology . The course has provided me an "unterbau" on which I can develop my "uberbau" of sociological thought. Being from a state of India, which had a communist Government for 30 years, I had always been fascinated by communism, without ever properly understanding it. This course opened me up to various new ideas of some great modern thinkers. It has given me an endeavor to research and analyze the future of India, which like many of the developed Western economies is going through a great transformation, same as the times in which the great classical sociologists were developing their ideas.

Thanks, Dr. Heerikhuizen for the course and the reference materials. Will be waiting for your course on modern sociologists.

By Manoj J

Jan 21, 2016

Amazing teacher. He has the clarity and simplicity. Lectures are sufficient enough to grasp the essence of the content. People may feel that it is easy to pass this course. I must admit that I was pursuing this course not for a grade but for understanding. I got it. Thanks to the course teacher.

I completed other mooc courses in edx and other platforms.I competed a few. I going through two other mooc from coursera. I had a mixed feeling after attending other two courses from university of Amsterdam. But this course is the best mooc I have so far completed. I was so immersed in the teaching. I completed the course in five days. I am eagerly waiting for the MOOC on Modern sociological theories. There is some element of Eurocentric Focus. But we cannot expect everything one Mooc course.

By Marek M

Aug 9, 2020

This is a truly fantastic course. The lectures are so very well prepared and the professor is loveable in addition to his huge abilities to convey loads of information painlessly and interestingly. The readings are very well selected and the list of references that can be found in them is enough to write a PhD on a given topic if one wanted to. Moreover, the weekly tests are well taylored, the items make sense and help to learn. The final test is a very good idea as it helps to organise and refresh one's knowledge. A spotless, perfectly prepared and orchestrated course. A masterpiece of modern didactics! Speaking of the modern, dear Coursera, where is the course on modern sociological theories that Professor promised in the last lecture??? I bet that with the same crew this course would also be a hit.

By Lynda Ş

Jul 24, 2017

Professor Heerikhuizen is extremely knowledgeable and obviously passionate about sociology. He speaks with authenticity and clarity, and his perspective and tone allow the audience to connect with him easily. Technology is well used in this course; images and text appear in the screen while Dr. Heerikhuizen speak, helping the audience understand relationships otherwise hard to capture. Quizzes are well sequenced and were useful for me to check my comprehension. I love Dr. Heerikhuizen's ability to speak deferent languages allowing him to use the original terms for key concepts <3 This MOOC was truly a pelasure for me and now I am Professor Heerikhuizen's fan :) Can't wait to see more MOOCs by hi

By Eddy C

Aug 17, 2021

An amazing start for my first online experience! This MOOC was an eye-opener for a field I had minimal knowledge about. It is a great testimony to the hard work of the organizers and executors of this course. The passion of the lecturer -Dr. Bart Van Heerikhuizen- trickles down to his audience through every single video of this MOOC. The adequately selected suggested readings were extremely coherent and captivating that even a week was barely enough for me to complete them. The books that I have on my to-read-list further to this course are so many, and I wish to get the time to do manage them. If you are hesitant about enrolling in this course, I strongly suggest you give it a shot. Cheers!


Dec 4, 2016

I want to thank dr. Bart Heerikhuizen and all the team that made this course possible. I'm very satisfied with the explanations and examples that dr van Heerikuizen gave in such a short time that lasted each video. I also look forward to go deeper on the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber and Norbert Elias. I have never had the chance to approach this latter author and now that I did I feel very intrigued and interested by his theories.

In my considerations this MOOC achieved its goals. I'm very looking forward for the next MOOC about contemporary sociology. I hope it can happen,

Thanks a lot to everyone. Best regards from Mexico City!!

By Wilson F

Jan 17, 2017

Curso muito bom! O professor é muito claro e simpático e a metodologia é bastante eficiente. Sugeriria apenas que revissem o sistema adotado para formular as questões - muitas vezes fiquei com a sensação de que as alternativas consideradas erradas não eram exatamente erradas, mas apenas divergiam do que o professor disse no curso (aprendi em instituições em que dei aula que o melhor jeito de evitar esse problema é explicitar para si mesmo porque a resposta correta é correta e porque as erradas são erradas). No geral fiquei muito bem impressionado e parabenizo todos envolvidos no desenvolvimento do curso!

By Ella R

May 30, 2020

I am a sociology student in my university and this course has made it so much easier to understand my academic syllabus on classical thinkers. The professor introduces and explains everything you need to understand in a very easy, nice and interesting manner which makes this course really the best! The content is great, his style of teaching is great, the tests are fun too! Really appreciate UoA for making this MOOC, in fact, I am just saddened that there is only one of these kinds of courses by UoA and by this professor. Please make more MOOCs! Cover all of sociology please! Really love this course!

By john l

Mar 8, 2019

I am glad that despite his mandated retirement, Dr Heerikhuizen gave this great course. I enjoyed it as it added new dimension to my private reading of The Wealth of the Nation, Democracy in America, and regular publications in The Economist. Certainly, in learning about Karl Marx's work, I appreciate his acknowledgement of the risk of abuse of power and enduing violence. Yet with the massive killing that communist countries have engendered, there is still a not insignificant following with the inevitable recurrence of massive death, despite what Elias noted about the Civilization process.

By Phoenix W

Jun 29, 2020

This course is absolutely excellent and wholly enlightening. The content is manageable and the structure beneficial for reinforcing the key ideas explored and how each thinker relates to the next. I feel that I have not only learnt so much about the foundation of Sociology but also gained a motivation to read some of the original texts referred to throughout the course. If you are only slightly familiar with each thinker, it will certainly result in paradigm shifts in your understanding of society. I loved every minute of it!

By Rob v d B

Mar 10, 2020

Very interesting course with a good teachers. enjoyed the video's, not too long but a good indepth session on the topic. wondering if the Modern Sociological Theory MooC will be as good as this one

By Rob G

Jul 23, 2020

Excellent course — excellent professor. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm Prof. Bart van Heerikhuizen. Much looking forward to a MOOC on Modern Sociological Theory!

By Philip T

May 24, 2017

The lecturer was easy to listen to and the content very interesting. The quizzes were a bit uninspired though: simply repeating the questions posed during the videos. Overall I enjoyed the course and look forward to the next one by this lecturer.

By Alex S

Mar 10, 2020

Really enjoyed the course subject, but the over-reliance on one textbook that isn't available online was a real problem. Although I read the alternative readings instead, that wasn't sufficient to pass the test questions, which were all very specifically about the readings that were behind paywalls. Seems to go against the whole point of running a MOOC in the first place. Also seems odd to rely on a textbook rather than the source text given the stated course aims.

Also, rehashing each question three times seemed like a cop-out - why bother with a final test when you've already done all the questions earlier?

By Rajesh C

Sep 6, 2018

While Prof. Bart van Heerikhuizen is a passionate admirer of the first parents of Sociology and manages to pass on this critical admiration through his lectures, the course itself demands too little from the students. The end-of-week tests end up re-hashing the same questions asked in between lecture videos. The few questions that require students to engage with external readings expect nothing more than a superficial engagement. This course needs to be intensive and take itself a lot more seriously.

By Pecherskikh A

Jul 27, 2020

Though I have been studying sociology for 2 years at the university with a number of outstanding lecturers & teachers, this course was still insightful. The main advantage for me was its structure: to look at the particular sociologist each week, repetitively repeating their core ideas (in videos, readings, and tests). While finishing every part, I had a feeling that always appears before the exam - you know, when the whole subject finally becomes understood, coherent and thought-provoking, in a way that you already start to dream of continuation.

The video materials deserve to be discussed separately. Bart van Heerikhuizen is the lecturer that you are never tired of: he highlights the most important ideas usually represented with beautiful and organic illustrations and shows how to treat sociology and its precursors with respect. There were a lot of moments when his words were really touching, often at the ends of the week series: for example, the way he spoke about the times he was visiting Norbert Elias's lectures.

Exercises are repeated, which is probably the only weak side of the course. Firstly it is possible to answer some of them during watching the video, then some of them are repeated in the week test, and, finally, the final test (87 questions!) consists of the week test questions.

Nevertheless, it was a great time, thanks!