Online learning continues to gain popularity. From simple college courses to earning a diploma, the ability to further your education is easier than ever. In fact, there are companies strictly devoted to online learning. Massive Open Online Courses, often known as known as MOOCs, continue to attract students and life-long learners.
One company, Coursera, boasts several opportunities to expand knowledge in a variety of topics including computer science, information technology, business, data science, and personal development. Compared to traditional education, Coursera courses can be much more affordable. For example, a single course may only cost you under $100. In addition, Coursera teams up a variety of national and international learning institutions to give individuals learning opportunities they may not find otherwise.
But is the company legit? What do real users have to say about their experience? And, most importantly, is it worth your time and money to use their services?
Find out what others are saying about Coursera.
What Makes Coursera a Good Option?
Coursera has a large and diverse catalogue that may entice just about anyone eager to learn. In fact, over 3,000 courses are available from over 100 partners worldwide. Some partners include the University of Toronto, Vanderbilt University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Science and Technology of China. Some of the most popular courses include Machine Learning, The Science of Well-Being, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, and Introduction to Psychology.
The courses are affordable–some are even free. Once you complete a course, you receive a certificate you can share with your employer or post on your LinkedIn profile. Although this is not a replacement for a typical university education due to the lack of credentialing, it is a great way students and other curious individuals can increase their knowledge and develop new skills.
In addition to video lectures, auto-graded multiple choice quizzes, and peer reviewed assignments, each Coursera course has a discussion board where fellow students can give their opinions, insights, and feedback.
With around 37 million total learners registered at Coursera, it is certainly a popular option for online learning. Course offerings and specialization programs continue to grow. Businesses also use Coursera as an alternative to offline training sessions and conferences.
Those using Coursera find the active community, course content, and time to complete the assignments very helpful. In addition, they say the information is timely and great for improving practical knowledge and real-life skills.
What Can Be Improved?
Some find the interface for learning a bit dated or hard to use. Others complain that some of the class discussion forums need better moderation due to peers criticizing or even bullying individuals. Veteran users of Coursera often comment that there once again needs to be more free classes offered.
Some users complain the multiple choice quizzes at the end of each section are not challenging and individuals can actually find the correct answers using simple Google searches. Others believe, in some cases, the peer-reviewed assessments are not always fair and accurate.
Those having issues with their courses or account complain about the lack of customer service or difficulty contacting an actual person. In fact, some users had trouble getting refunds or where charged when they failed to take action after their free trial period. Being aware of refund policies and other procedures can limit these issues. If these worry you, there are alternatives to Coursera.
The Bottom Line
Coursera can be an excellent, affordable choice for those seeking to learn new skills, augment their current ones, or explore new topics. Specialized programs and online degrees are significantly cheaper than traditional schooling.
While, at this time, it may not be a substitute for traditional colleges and universities, there is a wealth of information available from the courses that can propel your career or personal development. With many favorable reviews on a variety of sites, Coursera is certainly worth checking out.