As you browse the reviews of dozens of Coursera courses online, you may wonder if this platform is worth the hype. Then again, this is only one of the dozens of learning platforms available today. The question lies here is, "Which one should you choose?"
So, to help you clear your doubts we will tell you everything you need to know in this Coursera review about how to enroll in a certificate program that will help you pursue your professional goals and passions.
Table of Content
- What is Coursera?
- Coursera Features & Functionality
- Types of Courses Offered at Coursera
- Pros of Coursera
- Cons of Coursera
- Coursera Pricing Model
- Coursera Alternatives
What is Coursera?
Coursera is a learning platform that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) in addition to degrees, professional training, Coursera specializations, and MasterTrack courses. It was founded in 2012 by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Computer Science professors at Stanford University. With Coursera, you can learn about thousands of courses to expand your career opportunities and explore your interests.
Coursera Features & Functionality
Coursera is different from other platforms that offer courses taught by instructors without specific qualifications or backgrounds in the subjects they are teaching. Instead, Coursera offers authentic lectures taught in real classrooms, many of which are in conjunction with brick-and-mortar universities. With Coursera, you can take college-level courses from professors at accredited universities.
Coursera has a wide range of universities where students can take classes, such as the University of Michigan, Rice University, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, and Princeton University. Over 4100 courses are available at Coursera, so you can learn something new, hone your critical thinking skills, or gain additional skills.
There is no learning curve to using Coursera. Once you click on a course of interest, you will view information about the program, including a syllabus and an introduction to the instructor. Your course outline will show you the topics covered and the expected time frame for the course.
Your enrollment will lead you to the course homepage, where you can see an overview of the class week by week. For learners, this is incredibly useful. Before enrolling in the class, you will understand what to focus on each week and how much time you should expect to devote.
Types of Courses Offered at Coursera
Learners have a choice of five distinct courses on Coursera. Depending on your education goals, you may pursue individual courses, a specialization, a professional certificate, or a full degree. The length, cost, and difficulty of each will vary. You can enroll in a course that will provide you with the skills you need for your career success, such as Python, graphic design, and business analytics.
If you prefer, you can enroll in longer, more intensive courses, which will prepare you for career opportunities in in-demand fields, such as IT, cloud engineering, and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, Coursera offers on-demand training and development programs suitable for large organizations.
In addition, there are hundreds of different specializations available at Coursera. Specializations are more advanced than individual courses. You can specialize in a field by taking a series of courses that focus on the same topic instead of just taking one course. Those wishing to specialize in a particular skill set may benefit from these specializations.
You can choose from a range of specializations, including:
- AI for Medicine
- Communication Skills for Engineers
- Data Science Fundamentals
- Digital Marketing
- Healthcare IT Support
- Organizational Change and Culture for Adopting Google Cloud
There are also opportunities to earn a professional certificate. As opposed to specializations, professional certificates are career-focused and more in-depth. Typically, they take longer to complete (a few months, in most cases).
In addition to the certificates issued by the institutions that offered the course, you will also receive hands-on projects that will assist you in building your portfolio. Upon hiring, you'll have access to a wide range of industry-recognized certifications and career support resources.
Lastly, there is the MasterTrack Certificate. With this certificate, you will have the opportunity to progress toward a Master's degree by taking classes that will earn you credit later on through this certificate program. In addition to being more expensive, they usually require a prolonged timeframe (around four to eight months, on average) to finish.
Last but not least, Coursera also offers online degrees. Through Coursera, you can earn an online degree in much the same way as a bachelor's or master's degree on campus, with fully accredited credentials that are transferable elsewhere if you wish. Accredited partner institutions such as Macquarie University and Arizona State University grant these degrees. It may be more expensive to take these classes, but you will still pay a fraction of the cost of attending classes on campus.
Students can take courses in several categories such as computer science, business, data science, and public health at Coursera. However, the list is not exhaustive. Whether you want to earn your MBA online or advance in a healthcare-related field, you can take courses through the online school.
Now, let us move on to the pros and cons of Coursera. Let's start with:
Pros of Coursera
- Free Courses: With Coursera, you can take over 2,000 courses for free, but you will not receive a certificate. However, you can choose to upgrade if you want.
- Budget-Friendly Courses & Degrees: The courses on Coursera are budget-friendly. Students can enroll in its programs for a fraction of the price of campus-based courses.
- Learn Offline: You can download Coursera's app for offline use when you're not connected. It will help you learn and study on the go, which is convenient for travel.
- Courses Quality: Students will have the opportunity to learn from top experts from top universities and organizations in their fields. Furthermore, its Beta Testers keep the course content updated and up-to-date.
- Partnered Organizations & Universities: Several top universities and organizations, including Imperial College, Stanford University, Google, IBM, and more, have partnered with Coursera to create its learning programs.
Cons of Coursera
- Application Process: For many students, the most frustrating aspect of Coursera is the fact that you cannot choose a course, pay for it, and enroll immediately. You have to wait.
- Complicated Pricing: It can be confusing and unclear for many users to figure out the cost of the course based on the different price subscriptions available.
- Previously Acquired Knowledge: Depending on the course material, some courses may require prior knowledge. Not all courses are suitable for beginners.
- More Course Options in Certain Niche Areas: Coursera seems to be dominated by certain niches, as with most MOOCs. There are few options in the humanities (like language learning), while technology, business, and personal development reign supreme.
Coursera Pricing Model
Coursera gives you free access to thousands of courses without requiring a credit card. There is a surprising amount of material on Coursera for you to study without you having to pay a penny.
Nevertheless, there will be a fee if you wish to receive a qualification. Despite the confusing Coursera pricing structure, you have several choices to choose from when deciding which path is right for you.
You will find that paying for an individual certificate is your most economical and logical option if you only want to take one course. Each certificate costs between $49 and $99 and is a one-time fee.
Additionally, you can purchase a professional certificate or specialization certificate. The subscription-based services typically cost between $39 and $79 per month.
You can also choose a MasterTrack certificate. Here's where things begin to get expensive. MasterTrack certificates typically cost approximately $2000, while full degrees can cost up to $15,000 or more. While the latter may seem steep, keep in mind that if you are interested in pursuing a degree the traditional way, you will need to pay this at least once per term.
The Coursera Plus membership may be the right option for you if you want to take more than one course through Coursera, but you don't want to earn a certificate or degree. If you want to expand your horizons and take courses in various fields, then this membership is what you need.
It is possible to obtain certifications from all types of universities, companies, and firms. Coursera Plus will allow you to access over 3000 courses for the price of an annual subscription fee - which typically amounts to almost $399.
Is Coursera Legit?
Definitely! It is one of the most widely used and prestigious platforms for online learning. Featuring more than 5,300 courses and multiple specializations, it is a great and legit option for anyone looking to learn something new.
How good are Coursera courses?
Well, that depends on your perspective. In general, most reviewers say that the quality of offerings on this platform has been satisfactory. Courses on Coursera are offered by some of the finest colleges and universities in the world. So, you probably won't face any issues with your course.
Is Coursera Free?
It is free to audit Coursera courses, so you can take classes wherever you like. But, if you want access to graded assignments or a course certificate, you must pay. Occasionally, Coursera also offers courses that can only be accessed by paying a membership fee.
How to Get Free Certificates from Coursera?
For most Coursera courses, you'll need to pay to receive a certificate. Taking a free class or auditing it will not grant you access to all of Coursera's features. However, Coursera sometimes offers promotional deals that allow you to receive free certificates for different courses.
Are Coursera Courses Recognized & Accredited?
Most Coursera courses are accredited and recognized by leading global institutions. On this website, you can find all types of courses offered by some of the top universities worldwide, and since many of them offer certificates of completion, most employers will recognize them, too.
Consider enrolling in a degree or MasterClass on Coursera if you want to earn credentials that can be transferred to other universities. While some of these are more expensive, you can use your credentials at other institutions after you complete them.