If someone talks about online learning, this company is one of the first that pop into the mind. It is among the leaders in this industry and thus, our task is to review it within this article.
This company is Coursera, and so let’s move on and review its approach, its courses, pricing, pros & cons, and other aspects.
What is Coursera?
It is a widely known massive open online course provider. Coursera was founded in 2012 by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng who are Stanford University computer science professors. It is a US company with headquarter in Mountain View, CA, while also having offices in New York, London, and Gurgaon.
Today, Coursera has over 70 million students and partners with more than 200 leading universities. Its content is available in almost 40 languages.
How Does Coursera Work?
You sign up, go to the subjects list and then, choose the type of program that you need – a short one just for understanding the topic or a deep one to become an expert in that field.
When you enroll in a course or program, you have a number of video lectures to watch as well as articles to read. After finishing each step, you would need to complete an assessment like a quiz. In the end, you can earn a certificate of completion.
There are 6 types of programs on Coursera. Those are programs listed from the shortest to the longest ones:
- Guided Projects
- Professional Certificates
- MasterTrack™ Certificates
|Guided Project||1-2 hours||From $9.99||1600+ projects|
|Course||4-12 hours||Free||1700+ courses|
|Specialization||1-3 months||$39 /month||1200+ specializations|
|Professional Certificate||1-6 months||$39/month||45 certificates|
|MasterTrack™ Certificate||4-7 months||From $2,000||22 certificates|
|Degree||2-4 years||From $9,000||26 degrees|
From this list, only courses are free, the rest formats are available for a fee.
- Arts and Humanities
- Music and Art
- Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences
- Computer Science
- Data Science
- Information Technology
- Math and Logic
- Personal Development
- Physical Science and Engineering
- Social Sciences
- Language Learning
Under each category, you have a filer where you can filter content by:
- Level (Mixed, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
- Duration (>2 hours, 1-4 weeks, 1-3 months, 3+ Months)
- Type (Guided Projects, Courses, Specializations, Professional Certificates)
- Creator (universities, companies, or individuals)
Coursera Courses Review
Coursera offers over 4 000 courses which last 4-12 weeks on average. Courses are made of 1-2 hours of video lectures per week as well as assessments like quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded and reviewed assignments, an optional Honors assignment, and sometimes a final project or exam to complete the course.
There are lots of free courses on this platform; however, you need to pay to earn a certificate upon the complition. Some are paid, especially more commercially or technology-focused ones.
Best Business Free Courses
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by University of Michigan
- Financial Markets by Yale
- Conflict Transformation by Emory University
- English for Career Development by The University of Pennsylvania
Best Computer Science Free Courses
- Introduction to Logic by Stanford University
- Algorithms, Part I by Princeton University
- Python Programming: A Concise Introduction by Wesleyan University
- Developing Android Apps with App Inventor by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
- Getting started with Augmented Reality by Institut Mines-Télécom
- Software Architecture for the Internet of Things by EIT Digital
Best Information Technology Free Courses
- Information Security: Context and Introduction by The University of London
- International Cyber Conflicts by The State University of New York
- Security & Safety Challenges in a Globalized World by Universiteit Leiden
- Health Care IT: Challenges and Opportunities by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Best Data Science Free Courses
- Machine Learning by Stanford University
- Bayesian Statistics: From Concept to Data Analysis by University of California, Santa Cruz
Best Personal Development Free Courses
- The Science of Well-Being by Yale University
- Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects by McMaster University
- The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know by University of Michigan
- Introduction to Psychology by University of Toronto
- Introduction to Personal Branding by University of Virginia
Coursera Specializations Review
Each specialization is a series of single courses, where a single course works in the same way as regular ones (video lectures, tests, and a certificate upon compilation). This type of program includes a hands-on project to practice skills. It takes on average 3-5 months with 3-7 hours spent per week to finish a specialization.
Here are the most popular specializations by Coursera:
- Data Science
- Deep Learning
- Natural Language Processing (NLP)
- Python for Everybody
- Data Science with Python
- Software Testing Automation
- Business Foundations
- Digital Marketing
- Excel Skills for Business
- Finance for Everyone
- Wharton Business Analytics
- Sales Training
- Career Brand Management
- AI for Medicine
- Infectious Disease Modeling
- Good with Words: Writing & Editing
- The Pronunciation of American English
- Communication Skills for Engineers
Coursera has also two types of programs (Professional Certificates and MasterTrack® Certificates) that are designed to provide a certificate that is useful for getting a job or promotion.
There are over 40 Professional Certificates that usually have no prerequisites and provide the student with the certificate upon completion that is useful for career goals.
Best Professional Certificates
- Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate (8 months at 5 hours/week)
- Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate (6 months at 10 hours/week)
- DeepLearning.AI TensorFlow Developer Professional Certificate (4 months at 5 hours/week)
- IBM Machine Learning Professional Certificate (6 months at 3 hours/week)
- SAS Programmer Professional Certificate (5 months at 4 hours/week)
- Google Project Management: Professional Certificate (6 months at 10 hours/week)
- Google UX Design Professional Certificate (6 months at 10 hours/week)
Each one is available at $39 per month.
MasterTrack® Certificates is a short-term equivalent to an online Master’s degree. Those programs usually do have prerequisites like an undergraduate education or professional experience related to the selected field and a recognized university-issued certificate.
Best MasterTrack® Certificates
- Machine Learning for Analytics by University of Chicago (5 months / $4,000)
- Software Engineering by Arizona State University (6 months / $4,500)
- Big Data by Arizona State University (4-6 months / $4,000)
- Cybersecurity by Arizona State University (4-6 months / $4,500)
- Finance, Analysis and Modeling by Macquarie University (5 months / $4,000)
- UX Design by University of Minnesota (6 months / $3,000)
In a nutshell, both types take about 4-6 months to complete; however, MasterTrack Certificate is much more expensive with the price starting from $2,000 USD, while Professional Certificate is $39USD per month. Also, MasterTrack Certificate is built for people who already have some knowledge and experience in the field
Coursera Online Degrees Review
Coursera has 24 Master’s degrees and 2 Bachelor’s.
Online Master’s Degrees by Coursera
- Master of Business Administration (iMBA) by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- (2 – 3 years)
- Master of Science in Management (iMSM) by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- (1 year)
- Global Master of Business Administration (Global MBA) by Macquarie University (14 – 32 months)
- Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA) by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- (1.5 – 3 years)
- MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship by HEC Paris (18 Months)
- Master of Finance by HSE University (24 months)
- Master of Business Analytics by HSE University (24 months)
- [In Spanish] Maestría en Dirección de Empresas (MBA) by Universidad de Palermo (24 months)
- Master of Computer Science by Arizona State University (18 – 36 months)
- Master of Science in Electrical Engineering by University of Colorado Boulder (2 years)
- Master of Computer and Information Technology by Penn Engineering (16 – 40 months)
- Master of Computer Science by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 – 3 years)
- Master of Computer Vision by HSE University (Up to 2 years)
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science by University of London (3 – 6 years)
- [In Spanish] Maestría en Ingeniería de Software by Universidad de los Andes (26 months)
- Master of Computer Science in Data Science by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 – 3 years)
- Master of Applied Data Science by University of Michigan (1 – 3 years)
- Master of Science in Data Science by University of Colorado Boulder (2 years)
- Master of Data Science by HSE University (Up to 2 years)
- MSc in Machine Learning by Imperial College London( 24 months)
- Master of Data and Network Analysis by HSE University (18 months)
- [In Spanish] Maestría en Inteligencia Analítica de Datos by Universidad de los Andes (24 months)
- Global Master of Public Health by Imperial College London (2 or 3 years)
- Master of Public Health by University of Michigan (22 months)
- Master of Science in Population and Health Sciences by University of Michigan (20 months)
Online Bachelor’s Degrees by Coursera
- Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences by University of North Texas (3 – 6 years)
- BSc Computer Science by University of London (3 – 6 years)
Are Coursera degrees worth it?
All online degrees offered by Coursera are developed by top universities; they are fully accredited and internationally recognized. This means a Coursera’s degree gives the same level of knowledge as a traditional college.
Moreover, Coursera’s degrees are priced fairly, compared to similar offers by other e-learning companies.
When analyzing reviews of Coursera across the Internet, you can find both, positive and negative ones. Many students give kudos of how great this company and its courses is; and this is what the majority of the online reviews say. Meanwhile, there are still negative ones where customers complain about poor assessment system where students can’t move on because of slow peer reviewing. Moreover, there are students dissatisfied with the high price and some instructors which are irresponsible.
Let’s see some sample of Coursera’s reviews:
“I’ve done several courses on Coursera and the experience has been really good. I’m about 75% through a course called “Learning How to Learn” by Barbara Oakley. This is a game-changer, I would highly recommend this course to anyone studying.”
“Coursera is a good MOOC platform with a Professional cert, Diploma and micro masters . Comparable easy to pass every exam here. But there is less technical hand to hand experience here. Coursera is good for the descriptive based course. Some technical content is old.”
“I found coursera.org to be an awesome resource when getting started with python. Especially the courses by the University of Michigan.”
“Course progression is too dependent on peer grading of assignments. I submit all of my assignments early but I’m currently waiting for peer reviews on two of them before I can move on to my next course. I’m taking a four course certificate and I’m ready to move on to the third course but those two assignments are holding me up. Since I pay monthly the faster I complete the course the less I will pay so this will end up costing me an additional month’s fee.”
So, let’s recap the pricing policy by Coursera. There is a limited number of free courses but mostly the content requires a paid subscription. A single course’s price, a specialization, or a professional certificate is $39 /month.
MasterTrack™ Certificate is a more expensive program type priced at $2,000 – 4,500. The most expensive is an online degree, where the fee starts from $9,000.
There are also short guided projects available from $9.99 for a project.
Additionally, Coursera offers e-learning services for a business at $400 per user per year.
This is a subscription that provides unlimited access to over 3000 courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, and Professional Certificates. Coursera Plus costs $399 for a year. If you are planning on taking multiple courses or longer programs on Coursera throughout the year, it can be a cost-effective option.
How to audit a course on Coursera?
As Coursera hosts so many courses and programs, it may be hard to find one that worth your attention. So, here are aspects you should consider when picking one:
- University and instructor
- Reviews (especially, on Quara or Reddit)
Coursera for Business
This is a service of online corporate training. The content is the same as in the regular subscription where employees get access to projects, graded assessments, and quizzes. The main feature is that managers can track the learning progress of employees and provide them with feedback.
The price of Coursera for Business is $400 for one user per year.
Coursera vs Udemy
Both companies are MOOC platforms with a wide range of courses. Coursera has fewer courses than Udemy and fewer subjects to choose from. However, Coursera’s content is usually more quality and created by leading universities. Also, Coursera has more program formats that vary in length and price.
As for the pricing, Udemy is a cheaper provider, with a price of $12-20 for a single course.
Is Coursera worth it?
Yes, Coursera is undoubtedly a good e-learning provider from top universities. Coursera is legit and safe to use, and the content is of high quality. However, the price for some programs is high, so you need to choose them wisely.
- High-quality content from top experts
- Recognized certificates
- Apps for iPhone and Android
- It can be confusing to understand the difference between program types
- Progression is too dependent on peer grading
- High price for some programs