Coursera Review 2020 [is it worth it and are there better alternatives?]

It is evident that in the last few years online training platforms have become very popular, so much so that colleges and universities alike have noticed this big educational shift and decided to get on board.

When it comes to credibility, Coursera is up there as one of the best, and with the demand for online learning, many of the best universities and colleges from around the world are willing to partner and pass on their knowledge.

They also stand out as an accredited business, where some courses that are taken come with recognized certificates that are accepted in the real world.

With so many of these online training platforms available, it can be a little daunting when it comes to searching out exactly what you are looking for.

You need to do your research properly when it comes to deciding which course you are going to get involved with, and that’s where I come in here.

Hopefully, this Coursera Review can help you to make that all-important decision to whether online education platforms are worth it for you, so without further ado, let’s take a look at what Coursera is all about.


Product: Coursera

Founders: Andrew Ng, Daphne Koller

Founded: 2012

Website:  www.coursera.org

Product description: Online education/training platform

Price: Free to signup with courses starting from as little as £29 or $40

Recommended: Yes

Synopsis: If you are looking for recognized certificates then look no further, with thousands of courses available plus a number of free courses available.

Coursera works closely with universities and colleges across the board with involvement with corporations and governments.

They offer online courses and specialize in popular mainstream subjects such as engineering, IT, business, data science just to name a few.

With professional certificates, diplomas and degrees available, Coursera is recognized and accepted as an accredited organisation.


Internal Summary and Navigation

  1. What is Coursera?
  2. Who is Coursera for?
  3. The Core Elements of Coursera
  4. Let’s take a look inside Coursera
  5. How to select the Best Coursera Courses
  6. Why not become an Affiliate
  7. What I like about Coursera
  8. What I don’t like about Coursera
  9. Is Coursera Worth It?
  10. Coursera Review – Feedback, Follow and Subscribe

What is Coursera?

Coursera is an online educational training platform which has been around since 2012 and the responsibility of two Stanford professors.

They work closely with some of the top universities and organisation in the world including Yale, Stanford, Princeton and the University of Michigan to name a few as well as working closely with corporate and government organisations.

They offer a wide variety of online subjects familiar in the business world, with specializations, degrees and course certifications which are recognized in the real world.

There are currently around 20 masters and bachelor degrees available in Business, Engineering and Computer Science subjects.

The number of courses available is well over 4,000, with a few hundred free courses which are also available.

As of January 2020, the total number of partners is over 200 in 30 countries throughout the world.

Currently with around 50 million users, from all walks of life and covering many countries and languages.


Who is Coursera for?

For anyone wanting to advance their careers in the comfort of their home without the pressure of attending schools and colleges, and at a pace that best suits you.

Many don’t have the freedom to take full-time courses on campus due to work commitments and raising families whilst learning platforms like Coursera allow this through the course structure and flexibility.

Maybe you are a person who feels the need to learn new subjects and expand on your current knowledge because learning is your thing. Nothing wrong with keeping the mind active is there?

It could be that you didn’t have the required academic qualifications from school to qualify for the course of your choice at university or college.

With a large catalogue of business-orientated subjects at your disposal, you are sure to find a subject that interests you.

Why not listen to what past and present students have to say about Coursera?


The Core Elements of Coursera

At Coursera, there are currently five different learning programs that you can choose from.

With thousands of courses to choose from, taught by some of the very top instructors associated with the very best universities and colleges from all over the world, not to mention big corporations and government organisations.

The courses comprise of recorded, auto-graded, peer-reviewed real-world assignments, face to face interactive format with video lectures and community group discussion forums.

For students who complete a course, you’ll qualify to receive a shareable electronic Course Certificate for a nominal fee.

Course certificates that are received through Coursera will not give you professional or academic qualifications though.

SpecializatioNs

For those who want to master a certain skill set, enrolling in a program under “specialization” will allow you access to a number of courses related so that you can achieve that goal.

Take for instance you might be interested in Data Science.

This particular program as you can see comes with a ten-course introduction to data science.

Programs within this category come with hands-on-projects that have to be completed before you can carry on with the additional courses.

Once you have completed all the courses within this program then you will be eligible for a certificate that you can take to your prospective employers.

Coursera currently offers around 417 specialization programs.

Professional Certificate

There are currently only around 15 of these training programs available.

They are designed to prepare you for future jobs, so if its a new direction or career path change you are looking for then these programs could set you on the right path.

Some of the programs give you the necessary skills needed to pass certified exams in your chosen industry and provide a level of experience required for your chosen career path.

A number of these programs do require you to submit an application on enrollment, and you will be required to pay for the program, take and pass all the courses on the program before you are awarded a certificate.

It might be worthwhile checking beforehand whether the professional certificate awarded may or may not be recognized in the real world and therefore I would check with Coursera or check on the certification pages for more information.

Once you have completed all the courses that come with the program you will receive your certificate from the institution responsible for the program and not Coursera.

Courses showcased here are from well-known corporations such as IBM, Google and SAS

MasterTrack Certificate 

The Mastertrack program is a little different to studying a full degree in that the full Master’s course is split into modules which allows you to study in a cost-effective manner.

From some of the best instructors from around the world, in a real-time interactive format taking on real-world projects to give you the experience needed.

If you apply and are accepted to the full master’s program, then your MasterTrack certificate does count towards your degree.

The number of courses is limited, at present, there are 8 which include IT, Engineering, Management and are covered by 7 universities who are in the top 10.

Degree

Currently, there are around 17-degree courses available on Coursera with most of them based around Business and IT.

Studying online is great for those courses that are only going to take you a few weeks at best to complete, but taking an online degree is something else because of the commitment and dedication that is required.

Working at your own pace to complete a 4-year online degree could take you 6 years to complete due to the nature of online learning at your own pace.

It could take less, that’s all down to the individual.

There will be prerequisites required before being accepted onto the degree, obviously to ensure that you have a certain amount of knowledge so that you don’t struggle.

Remember, if it’s a degree that you are about to pursue, that it really will be like going to the university who is running the course. It just means that all the work will be done online.

You need to be aware that these degree courses can be popular and therefore you must get your application in early to avoid disappointment, as the college or university as the right to close the application once the allocation has been filled.


Struggling to pay and would like some help?

Coursera offers its students the option of a scholarship or financial aid where appropriate, and this isn’t automatically given and besides not all courses come with that offer.

The special form can be found from the course home page.

Ensure you fill in the form correctly, giving your academic background along with career expectations and your financial situation.

If approved the course will be paid for in full leaving you with a clear mind to focus and complete the course. Not bad eh?


Let’s take a look inside Coursera

Just go ahead and signup, it’s free  and straight forward

 

Once you have signed up an email will be sent to you from Coursera Support to confirm your email address.

Once done you are free to wander and check out.

Just login and explore.

The interface has been designed very well and is extremely easy to find what you are looking for.

Either click on the “explore” tab or just type in your query straight into the search bar.

You can see the sub-categories down the left-hand-side which when clicked on give you a whole load of additional parameters to let you drill right down and find exactly what you are looking for.

Let’s take a quick look at Information Technology.

Show the Coursera IT courses

Across the top, you can see the sub-categories associated with IT and below you can filter the results further.

  • Skillset – Google services, Cybersecurity, Cloud storage…
  • Job title – Software engineer, C++ developer, Data Analyst…
  • Level – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Mixed
  • Language – Of choice
  • Type – Courses, Specializations, Professional certificates
  • Creator – College, University, Corporate…

…Video to follow…


How to select the Best Coursera Courses

It goes without saying that before you purchase anything on the Internet you should research the product thoroughly before parting with your money, and selecting a course on what you perceive is a reputable company should be no different.

Check everything especially payments for courses, subscriptions and cancellation policies, which many don’t bother about doing. That way there will be no surprises!

Let’s take a look at a course and go through the process you should be taking before you decide that this is the course for you.

Check…

  • The number of students who rated the course and the rating.
  • Enrol for free gives you 7-days full access then a subscription will kick in.
  • Most come with “Finacial Aid” which is useful to know.
  • Check out the number who have enrolled.
  • Check out some of the student reviews.
  • Skills you will gain.
  • Look at the “About Course” and check out the syllabus.
  • Take a look at the instructor and the ratings and other courses she or he runs.

Note:

The 7-day free trial is just that and after that period a monthly subscription will be charged. It could be that the course can be completed within the week in which case you could be OK. Check the policy link above for clarity!


Why not become an Affiliate

You could join Coursera’s Affiliate Program and potentially make yourself some money by promoting their courses.

If you are unsure just what affiliate marketing is, then check out this review.

Like pretty much all affiliate programs, they are for free to join with commissions running as high as 45% of the purchase price providing the users actually join and pay for the course within 30 days of clicking on your referral link.

Professionally created banners and text links are provided to add on your website

There’s a monthly affiliate marketers newsletter that will keep you abreast of things happening within the Coursera platform.


What I like about Coursera

It has got to be said that Coursera is a well developed professional online education platform that comes with a lot of merits.

  1. Masters and degree courses available.
  1. Professors from world-class universities and organisation such as Yale, Princeton, Stanford, IBM and Google.
  1. They are accredited and certifications are recognized throughout the business world.
  1. Plenty of free courses to whet your appetite which can be taken and only requires a payment if you decide to go for a certificate.
  1. The software platform is well developed and easy to navigate to find exactly what you are looking for.
  1. Access to a mobile app so that you can study on the move.
  1. I like how the courses are split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced which means that you are not jumping in at the deep end.

What I don’t like about Coursera

You are always going to find fault with anything, but we are not going to criticize every little detail.

I am here to give you my honest opinion and being a member allows me to do that.

  1. Whilst the number of courses exceed 4,000 I found that unless you were looking for a recognized specialized course then the choice was limited.
  1. I found that in most cases they offer a free 7-day trial which isn’t optional and once the trial period expires then you must pay a £29 or $40 monthly subscription.

Many of the courses can be completed within the 7 days so maybe this isn’t an issue but for some, it may be.

Probably worth checking the payments and subscriptions page here first.

  1. Courses are a little on the expensive side although if it is a degree you are thinking of taking then costs on a comparison basis against a college or university are around half the price and less.
  1.  What I found is that many of the courses can be completed in 7 days which implies that the course material is somewhat on the basic side, so you need to research the course properly before parting with your money.

Is Coursera Worth It?

I am a member of Coursera and for anybody looking for a recognized degree that will help you advance your career or maybe looking for a change in your career path, then Coursera offers that opportunity.

Online courses can be the right fit for many, simply because of a cost factor against a college and university and the freedom to take your time. No pressure then!

I have come across many reviews where people have said that the costs are quite high. I think they can be!

As we’ve seen, a degree can cost around twice as much through a college or university and what better way to study at your own pace without the trappings of making an effort to get to campus.

With the internet, people are always looking for “free” and aren’t prepared to invest in themselves and you have to ask the question…

“How much do I value my own education and future”?


Coursera Review – Feedback, Follow and Subscribe

I think you will agree, that anyone who is interested in advancing their knowledge that Coursera is up there as one of the better learning platforms.

Whilst I found many subjects of interest, you may find that the level of learning is more on the beginner side, and if it is more of a selection that you are looking for then I would certainly check out Udemy as they offer over 100,000 courses.

Granted Udemy isn’t accredited in any way, meaning that the certificates handed out aren’t recognized in the business world, but for many (me included) does that really matter.

If it’s a variety you are looking for, then check out a review I wrote about Udemy here.

However, if you are interested, I have another great training platform I can highly recommend and that’s Wealthy Affiliate. They specialize in affiliate marketing and its free to join, no kidding, and you won’t be asked for credit card details either. Check it out, what have you got to lose?

or why no skip the above review and find out for yourself by clicking the link below.

100% FREE and NO CREDIT CARD asked for! What have you got to lose?

I appreciate you stopping by and if you need any advice or want a chat just add them in the comments field below.

Cheers

Inspired? SHARE THIS!

Author: Mick

Born in Whitby in Yorkshire. That’s in the UK where Bram Stoker got the idea for Dracula. Spent many years in IT as a software developer and worked away from home a lot, and decided enough was enough and wanted to spend more time with my family, and therefore made the decision to research ways to make money online and glad I did.

2 thoughts on “Coursera Review 2020 [is it worth it and are there better alternatives?]”

  1. I have checked out Coursera before and took a few of the free courses. I wasn’t looking to further my degree or anything, so the free options were sufficient for me. I think Coursera is a great option for people who are at home and want to further their education. Now we are all at home more, so it’s the perfect time to look into.

    1. Absolutely Carla, I recently took an online course in Reiki about a year ago and never looked back. More and more people are happy to stay at home and study at their own pace and why not. No pressure and the costs are within everybody’s reach. Thanks for your comments, Mick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *