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Coursera Review

Online Course Provider Reviews

  • Multiple course types

  • Free classes

  • Course quality

  • Course overlap

  • Low teacher support

  • Patchy course coverage

Coursera History

 

Coursera was founded by was founded in 2012 by two Computer Science professors from Stanford. 

 

Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng decided to put their courses online so they could reach more people than they ever could from behind their lecterns.

 

Since then they have gathered courses from their learned friends at Stanford and then branched out to other top universities.

 

They have also allowed top companies to create courses so you can now learn directly from Google, IBM & Microsoft.​

Today it has over 38 million students. If it were a country it would be in the top 40 for population size. 

In recent years they have expanded way beyond just offering university lectures. 

What is Coursera like

Coursera offers over 2700 courses. the courses cost between $29 - $99 and last around 4-6 weeks. 

 

These courses come from top universities around the world and cover all the normal higher education subjects. Example areas include physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science and Personal Development.  

 

Unlike the top universities, Coursera is open to anyone. They claim you can learn a new skill in the 4-6 weeks required to take a class. 

 

Coursera is a for-profit company but it offers its courses for free. If you want a certificate for Linkedin or to show potential employers then you will have to pay. Coursera has also recently started to offer longer format courses that are similar in style, and cost, to an offline course.

How much does a Coursera course cost

It is worth noting that you can get all Coursera courses for free. This option is called 'Auditing' a course. It allows you to watch the videos and access the class community forum.

If you want full access to a course and a certificate then you can pay for a course. Courses range from $10-$200. You can read about whether or not a certificate is worth it on our Online Course Certificate page.

There is a lot of variance in price for the longer course programmes and Degree's available on Coursera. 

For a longer programme expect to pay around $250. A full degree can cost up to $20,000.

What types of classes are available on Coursera

Below is the official breakdown of course types from Coursera​.

Courses

Every course on Coursera is taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions. Courses include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums. When you complete a course, you’ll receive a sharable electronic Course Certificate.

  • Online and open to everyone

  • Learn a new skill in 4-6 weeks

  • Priced at about $29-$99

  • Earn a Course Certificate

Specialisations

If you want to master a specific career skill, consider joining a Specialization. You’ll complete a series of rigorous courses, tackle hands-on projects based on real business challenges, and earn a Specialization Certificate to share with your professional network and potential employers.

  • Online and open to everyone

  • Learn a new skill in 4-6 months

  • Priced at $39-$79 per month

  • Earn a Specialization Certificate

Professional Certificates

Professional Certificates are training programs from top universities and companies that help you be job-ready. Some Professional Certificate programs prepare you to pass an industry certification exam, while others help you get the experience needed to launch a career in a specific field such as IT support.

 

  • Online and open to everyone

  • Learn a new skill in 4-6 months

  • Priced at $39-$79 per month

  • Earn a Specialization Certificate

Master Track Certificates

With MasterTrack™ Certificates, we’ve split Master’s programs into online modules so you can earn a career credential for a breakthrough price. Benefit from real-world projects and live expert instruction. If you are accepted to the full Master's program, your MasterTrack™ Certificate counts towards your degree.

Degrees

Real career transformation sometimes requires a university-recognized degree. Coursera believes that transformation should be accessible to everyone, so we’ve worked with our university partners to offer flexible, affordable online degree programs in business, computer science, and data science.

 

  • All online - admission required

  • 1-3 years of study

  • Currently priced at $15-$25,000

  • Earn an accredited master’s degree

Coursera offers classes from over 150 universities and covers many of the most popular areas of higher education. Although this is constantly being updated so you have to check it out for yourself.​

Coursera course categories

A picture is worth a thousand words so here is a snapshot of the courses categories. The "Computer Science" category has been expanded for anyone who wants to learn to data science.

As you can see there are 11 Categories in total. Due to the background of the founders, there is a slight majority in favour of technology and programming related courses.

 

What are Coursera courses like

Coursera courses come in such a wide variety that it is difficult to provide a comprehensive overview here. 

Whatever type of course you are going for Coursera will provide you with great support and you can expect very helpful peer forums from others on the same elearning path through class forums.  

 

Course overview pages

The Course Overview pages are clear, user-friendly and provide as the information you could want to know when trying to decide if you want to put your hand in your pocket. 

The courses are free but they will require a lot of time and energy as they may require a fair amount of upfront time watching the videos and reading the documentation followed by homework each week. 

One final note is that for popular courses like Maths or Physics then multiple Universities will offer courses so be sure to check the course ratings & reviews as well as the syllabus to see which one is right for you.

 Below is an example of a Course Overview page for those who are looking to start learning about the Economics of Money and Banking.

Coursera Course Economics of Money and Banking

How to join a Coursera course

Joining a Coursera course is very easy.

 

First, you need to Register. You can open a free account with just an email address.

Once you have done that simply find the course you want to join and click "Start for Free".

Over 1 million people have joined the Learning How to Learn course below.

You can join them with a simple click of a button.

With almost 50k positive ratings it is worth checking out.

Learning How to Learn Cousera

All the course home pages follow the same structure. It is a clear, non-cluttered page design. 

As you can see from the screenshot below you can access the course videos, materials, forums and exams from this page.

Design Thinking for Innovation Coursera

Watching videos is similar to Youtube. You can take notes in any section which are saved on the right-hand side. You can select a specific part of a video to form the basis of a discussion in a forum of your choice.

 

Only the left you can see the videos and exams that you have left in that particular week/ section or skip to a different section.

Don't be afraid to skip ahead a few sections if you feel the course is covering ground you already know.

Equally, do not be ashamed to repeat a lecture or exam. 

Online Courses are designed for the masses, it is okay to have a different level of knowledge or learning rhythm.

Coursera logged in course page

The Coursera course forums are very active and you can learn a lot from reading them and asking questions. 

With so many students one will inevitably know the answer or where you need to look to find it. 

We end this review with some wise words from Coursera themselves.

You are most likely to succeed if you start right learning while you are still motivated. 

Head to over to Coursera, sign up and start learning!

Coursera start strong

Thanks for reading!

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