In this Coursera review, we’ll take a closer look at this platform’s features, courses, and pricing plans. Here, you’ll find the answers to all your Coursera-related questions and learn how to use this platform in the best possible way.
At a time when technological progress is gaining momentum, more and more individuals, but also companies, are opting for online training. There are many platforms that offer this type of skill improvement, and Coursera is one that has thrived for years.
Co-founded by Stanford’s Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller in 2012, Coursera initially focused on offering free courses. Over the years, the platform’s focus has shifted to paid courses, but one thing hasn’t changed. Namely, all the courses are created and taught by esteemed educational institutions from all over the world.
What Is Coursera?
Coursera is a massive online open course (MOOC) platform that provides more than 3,900 courses, 13 professional certificates, and 20 degree programs.
Whereas the certificates can help your career advancement, Coursera’s online degrees give you an opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from prestigious universities while studying at your own pace.
The list of available courses is long and covers a lot of subjects, including:
- Arts and humanities
- Computer science
- Data science
- Information technology
- Language learning
- Math and logic
- Personal development
- Physical science and engineering
- Social sciences
This platform also offers special programs for businesses looking to invest in the professional development of their employees. These programs are fully customizable to best suit the needs of each individual organization.
Most Popular Coursera Courses
This is a time of remarkable technological developments, and the list of the most popular courses on this platform closely reflects that fact.
Although Coursera’s catalog covers a broad range of topics (everything from basic science and nutrition to fashion and poetry), its most popular offerings are in the fields of computer science, data analysis, and artificial intelligence.
Let’s take a closer look at some of this MOOC platform’s most popular courses.
Coursera Data Science Review
Coursera offers a number of data science certificates, degrees, and individual courses. Some of these are ideal for those looking to learn the basics, but there are also courses for professionals who want to further advance their skills. Many of these programs are created by top universities (e.g., Duke, Stanford, and Wesleyan), while some are offered by tech giants like Intel and IBM.
Most users highlight Coursera’s Johns Hopkins Data Science specialization as one of the best online learning programs in this field. Users cite that this program is excellent for beginners as it provides a thorough introduction to coding, computer science, and data science in general.
They are also very happy with the learning resources, which include video lectures, reading materials, graphics, quizzes, and graded assignments to help students retain information. With a high 4.5 average rating from more than 80,000 users, the Johns Hopkins Data Science specialization is also one of the highest-rated programs on the platform.
Coursera Machine Learning Review
If you’ve ever dreamed about having a little robot that brings you your remote or beer and sometimes vacuums the apartment for you, the machine learning courses on Coursera could help you make that dream a reality. In these courses, you will gain both theoretical and practical knowledge, which will help you better understand the essence of artificial intelligence.
One of the best courses in this field comes from Coursera’s co-founder Andrew Ng. Many users claim that his Machine Learning course provides enough theoretical knowledge to help you learn the basics and hands-on assignments to help you put this knowledge to practice. The course has an impressive 4.9 rating from more than 150,000 students.
Coursera R Programming Review
For those interested in learning more about statistical computing and graphics, this environmental language course could be just what they’re looking for. With plenty of exercises, lectures, and quizzes, this course can help you hone the art of R programming and turn you from a newbie into a true professional in this field.
Despite the numerous positives, some users express their concerns over the difficulty level of some assignments. Seeing as this is a four-week course, certain lessons and tasks may be too complicated for beginners, so you might need some prior knowledge or extra work to master the materials. Still, the course has a high 4.5 rating from almost 20,000 users.
Coursera Python Course Review
If you enjoy object-oriented programming, Coursera also offers various Python courses. For example, Wesleyan’s Python Programming: A Concise Introduction and Google’s Crash Course on Python can help you learn the basics.
There are also more advanced courses like IBM’s Python for Data Science and AI and the University of Michigan’s Python Classes and Inheritance. Through a series of tasks and exercises, all these courses allow you to develop and hone your Python skills.
Users who had no background in programming prior to taking these courses recommend them, stating that even those without experience should quickly master the basics.
Digital Marketing Coursera Review
With the ever-increasing importance of the internet and social media in people’s daily lives, it’s essential that you and your company use it to your advantage and succeed in reaching a more significant number of potential customers. Building a strong online presence and mastering the art of digital marketing is something Coursera can help you with.
The platform offers a variety of courses in this field. Some of the more popular include Marketing in the Digital World and Digital Media and Marketing Strategies, both from the University of Illinois, Facebook’s Introduction to Social Media Marketing, and the University of California’s Advanced Search Engine Optimization Strategies.
Coursera Specialization Courses Review
In addition to individual courses, Coursera also offers the so-called specializations.
They consist of several thematically linked courses, mostly 4–6, though some go up to 10. It usually takes students around six months to complete a specialization. To get your specialization certificate, you need to complete all the individual courses.
All specializations come with a one-week free trial, allowing you to sample them risk-free. After that seven-day window, you’ll have to pay for the first month; that is, unless you cancel the trial before the billing date.
Previously in our review, we’ve mentioned the very highly rated Johns Hopkins Data Science specialization. Let’s take a look at some other popular specializations on Coursera.
Coursera Big Data Specialization Review
If you’re passionate about resolving big data issues, looking for valuable information in huge datasets, and finding the best practical solutions for data-related problems, this six-course specialization can be a particularly good option for both you personally and your organization.
The majority of users point out the fact that even those without prior programming knowledge have successfully managed to not only build but also improve their skills and ultimately master this specialization. Organized by UC San Diego, the Big Data specialization holds an average rating of 4.5 from more than 17,500 students who have already completed it.
Coursera Business Analytics Specialization Review
Throughout this specialization, you’ll learn how to process and sort business data. You’ll also practice using different statistical models to turn data into business insights. Created by the University of Pennsylvania, this specialization consists of four courses and a capstone module. This module is actually a final project that allows you to put all your newly acquired knowledge to test by solving an actual challenge people at big tech companies have faced.
The majority of users point out their satisfaction with this specialization, stating that it helped them become more productive and efficient while also increasing their revenue. So far, more than 22,000 students have rated this program, which currently holds an average grade of 4.6.
Coursera Cybersecurity Specialization Review
With the advancement of technology and the growing number of connectable devices people use, there are inevitably those looking to abuse this trend for their own personal gain. With the University of Maryland’s Cybersecurity specialization, you can protect yourself and your organization from being a victim of cyberattacks.
This five-course specialization will teach you everything you need to know about the hardware and software aspects of cybersecurity. You’ll also learn how to safely encrypt your data to protect it from prying eyes. Attended by almost 60,000 students so far, the Cybersecurity specialization currently has an average rating of 4.4 based on more than 5,000 reviews.
Data Mining Specialization Coursera Review
Businesses can use data mining to make more accurate decisions, improve their teams’ efficiency, and build stronger relationships with their customers. Offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Data Mining specialization will help you learn about pattern discovery and become familiar with various aspects of machine learning and database systems.
The six-course specialization also includes a final project that challenges students to apply their knowledge to solving a real-world data mining challenge. Many users state that this specialization helped them become more successful and enabled them to better analyze and understand customer behavior. It currently holds a score of 4.5 based on about 3,100 ratings.
Coursera Certificate Review
With the growing importance of MOOCs, more and more people are wondering about the value of certificates they receive upon completing an online course. Before delving deeper into this subject, it’s necessary to point out that Coursera’s certificates are recognized, not only by the institutions behind the courses in question but also by many employers.
Of course, most employers will appreciate the knowledge and skills you demonstrate more than a piece of paper that claims you possess these skills and knowledge. However, many students say that Coursera professional certificates have indeed helped them advance their careers.
These professional certificates are career-based credentials issued by an organization or company responsible for the associated study programs. Examples of such organizations include universities around the world, but also companies like Google, IBM, and Facebook.
Coursera’s certificates have helped many students qualify for some of the hottest and most desirable jobs across several industries, according to numerous Coursera reviews. Some of the most popular professional certificates include:
- IBM Customer Engagement Specialist – With the growing influence of the IT industry, the need for quality customer support is increasing. By studying for this certificate, you’ll acquire the skills to provide optimal customer service.
- SAS Programmer – Are you interested in analytics and big data? The SAS Institute is the largest private software company in the world. With this certificate, issued by the company, you’ll find a job in no time.
- Google IT Support – Part of the Grow with Google initiative, this program can help enhance your customer service skills while also teaching you all you need to know about troubleshooting, operating systems, and cybersecurity.
Coursera Signature Track Review
Coursera’s Signature Track feature gives you an opportunity to share your progress and your achievements on the platform. As the name suggests, this feature combines the information on all the courses you’ve attended and securely links it to your identity.
It’s a great way to show employers how much you’ve worked on yourself and give them insight into your progress. The Signature Track feature involves:
- Creating a secure, verified personal profile
- A list of all your achievements in the form of certificates
- In-depth course records you can share via a unique URL
Some courses also offer college credit if you sign up for them using the Signature Track feature.
Coursera Ease of Use Reviews
Unlike some other MOOC platforms, Coursera sports a clean and simple design, making it very easy to use. When you first visit the website, a simple click on the Join for Free button will take you to the registration form. From there, just follow the prompts to create your account.
Browsing the course catalog is just as easy. Even if you don’t have an account, simply hover over the Explore button at the top of the page. A drop-down menu with the list of main categories will appear; place your cursor on the category you’re interested in, and you’ll see a list of related subcategories. Click on any of them to see the list of all available courses.
Both the Coursera app and website allow you to search for specific courses by typing their name into the search box. As you type, suggestions will appear below the box; click or tap on the suggestion that best fits what you’re looking for, and you’ll go directly to the course page.
As for the course pages, all the information is presented in a very clear way. Each course page has separate tabs for the syllabus, instructors and the institutions they come from, frequently asked questions, enrollment options, and student reviews. Specialization pages have additional tabs with the list of courses they include and the description of the skills you’ll acquire.
How Much Does Coursera Cost?
Like we’ve said in the intro, Coursera started out as a free online learning platform only to gradually shift to a paid model. Right now, you can either pay for each individual course you take or subscribe to the recently introduced Coursera Plus plan. This plan costs $399 per year and is billed annually, which means that you’ll have to pay the whole sum in advance.
While this is ideal for those who want to take multiple courses on the platform, some students are just looking to take a course or two. If you don’t want to pay the full Coursera subscription price, you can buy individual courses. Their prices vary between $30 and $100 per course.
If the course you want to take is part of a specialization, you’ll have to subscribe to the specialization in question. This could cost you anywhere between $40 and $80 per month. The total cost of your specialization will depend on how many courses it includes and how long it is. This means that the Coursera specialization cost can be anywhere between several hundred and a few thousand dollars.
As already mentioned, Coursera also allows users to acquire Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees through the platform. Depending on the degree program you choose, this could cost you between $15,000 and $40,000.
Finally, there are customizable programs for organizations looking to invest in their employees’ development. Their price varies based on the company size and the number of students. For smaller companies, the price is $400 per student per year. Coursera’s pricing is more flexible for larger organizations and enterprises as they can negotiate the price that best suits their budget.
How Much Does a Certificate Cost?
There are two types of certificates you can earn by attending the courses on this platform. For each course you complete, you get a verified certificate of completion from the institution that organized the course.If you opt for a professional certificate program, you’ll earn your certificate upon completing all the courses included in this program.
In both cases, the Coursera certificate cost is included in the price you’ve already paid. When you pay for an individual course, that price also covers the cost of the verified certificate. Similarly, professional certificates are included in the subscription price of each group of courses.
Does Coursera Offer Scholarships?
Coursera is aware that not all students can afford to take courses on the platform, so the company offers scholarships to students in need. If you want to gain a professional certificate but lack the funds to pay for them, you can apply for Coursera financial aid.
To do this, fill out the form on Coursera’s website and provide information about your education and financial background.
Bear in mind that not all courses and specializations offer financial aid for students. To see if you can get a scholarship for your desired program, go to the course or specialization page and look for the Financial Aid Available link next to the Enroll button.
Does Coursera Offer a Student Discount?
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform offered a special discount for students to help them spend their time in lockdown more productively. This offer is no longer valid.
However, university students can still access some benefits through the free Coursera for Campus Student program. By signing up using your university email address, you can gain unlimited access to various guided exercises and take one free course per year.
Does Coursera Offer a Gift Card?
The platform doesn’t currently offer a gift card. If you want to gift someone a subscription or one or more individual courses, the only way to do so is to pay for them using your payment info.
Coursera currently allows you to pay for courses using one of the following methods:
- American Express Discovery
Seeing as all payments must go through the account that’s accessing the courses, either the person you want to pay courses for will have to give you their login credentials, or you’ll have to give them your credit card details.
Does Coursera Offer a Free Trial?
Each specialization on the platform includes a seven-day free trial. This seven-day window begins on the specialization start date (if you signed up early) or from the moment you join it (if you signed up after the start date). During this first week, you can view all the materials, complete individual courses, and earn certificates of completion.
However, if there’s a capstone project included in the specialization, you won’t have access to it until after the free trial expires. To start using the free trial, you’ll have to enter your payment information first. If you don’t want to go on with the specialization, you must cancel your subscription during the first week. Otherwise, you’ll be charged the Coursera subscription price for the full first month.
Does Coursera Offer Free Courses?
Coursera no longer offers free courses. However, some courses allow you to audit them for free. This will give you access to all the materials, but you won’t be able to complete any assignments. You also won’t receive a certificate of completion; that’s only available if you decide to pay for the course you’re auditing.
Coursera Refund Policy Reviews
Most programs on Coursera come with a two-week full refund guarantee. For individual courses, you can ask for a full refund up to two weeks after the start date (if you enrolled early) or within two weeks of the date you joined the course (if you signed up late). However, if you’ve already completed all the course materials and earned your verified Coursera certificate, you can’t ask for a refund.
Similar rules apply to specializations – if you’ve completed any individual courses, you’re no longer eligible for a refund. Also, if you’ve used a free trial at the beginning of your subscription, you can’t get a refund. Because the Coursera Plus subscription also starts with a free trial, there’s no possibility of getting a refund either. All you can do is cancel your subscription.
As for the business plans, smaller businesses have the right to ask for a full refund within the first 14 days of their payment. Enterprises don’t have this option, but their subscription includes a free demo before the start of the subscription.
Coursera Review of Online Ratings
Coursera has managed to preserve its reputation as one of the leading online learning platforms over the years, so it’s no surprise to find that most online reviews are very positive.
G2 users have awarded the platform a high average grade of 4.5/5. The reviewers are satisfied with the selection of courses and the practicality of the knowledge they’ve acquired. They also have very high praise for Coursera’s ease of use and ease of setup, which currently hold average grades of 9/10 and 9.7/10, respectively.
Over on TrustRadius, the platform holds an average score of 8.8/10, with most ratings in the 9–10 range. Users cite Coursera’s financial aid program as one of the standout features that sets it apart from the competition and gives access to knowledge to those who might not be able to afford it otherwise. The small business owners among them also point out how much the platform has helped them improve employee relations, and ultimately, their business results.
There aren’t many negatives. Some users complain about the lack of individual feedback from course instructors, but seeing as there are thousands of students and just two or three instructors per course, it’s easy to understand why this is the case. There are also complaints about outdated course materials, but they’re limited to a few courses on search engine optimization that haven’t been updated recently.
Coursera Pros and Cons
Variety of courses – As mentioned before, Coursera offers over 3,900 courses covering different subjects. Many users find this very important, as everything they’re interested in is available in one place. That’s one of the main reasons the platform has such high online ratings, as you’ve already learned in our Coursera courses review.
Lesson quality – Many believe that the possibility of learning from elite lecturers from eminent colleges is Coursera’s most significant advantage. When you consider the fact that students can also get certificates from world-renowned companies like Google, SAS, and IBM, Coursera’s ever-increasing popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Shareable certificates – Coursera allows users to share their achievements with their connections, either via their Signature Track page or by sharing all their individual certificates directly to their LinkedIn profiles. That way, users can showcase their skills to both current and future employees, thus increasing their chance of career advancement.
Coursera app – The app is available for both iOS and Android devices, allowing users more flexibility. Many of them consider this option a significant advantage because it enables them to attend lectures and access study materials no matter where they are.
Auditing courses – If you don’t need a professional certificate but would still like to access course materials, you can do so by auditing your desired courses. Coursera has students from different parts of the world and different economic backgrounds, so this option is crucial for many of them.
Outdated courses – Although many users point out how helpful the courses were to them, as we’ve already mentioned in our Coursera review, some have complained about outdated course materials. Coursera’s team is hard at work to resolve this issue.
The online learning market is very competitive, with more than a dozen websites offering courses, specializations, and university degrees to students from around the globe. Although Coursera is one of the leaders in this field, its competitors have gotten much stronger lately. It’s difficult to say which one is among the best online learning platforms.
Let’s take a quick look at two of the platform’s main competitors, Udemy and Skillshare.
Coursera vs. Udemy
At first glance, you’ll see that Udemy offers a more significant number of courses, over 65,000. Coursera provides just over 3,900 courses. However, there is also the question of quality.
Many courses at Udemy serve as an upsell for some much larger programs. Also, Udemy’s courses are taught by individuals who don’t have to be employed by a university; they just have to be experts in their respective fields.
As for the price, Coursera is a bit more expensive, but the platform awards certificates of completion to students, which isn’t the case with Udemy.
Coursera vs. Skillshare
Although Skillshare has over 20,000 courses in its database, it only caters to English-speaking students. Meanwhile, Coursera offers courses in over 30 different languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and French.
If you compare the two platforms’ prices, you’ll see that Skillshare costs only $8.25 per month if you opt for an annual subscription. However, like Udemy, Skillshare’s courses are taught by professionals in their fields rather than lecturers from the world’s top universities.
As such, Coursera’s courses will play a more significant role in your professional development. Also, unlike Coursera, Skillshare doesn’t offer certificates to its students after completing a course.
Coursera Review: Final Thoughts
Despite the increasing competition, Coursera’s popularity isn’t showing any signs of waning.
That’s because the platform offers high-quality courses from esteemed institutions, learning flexibility, financial aid to students in need, and the ability to easily share your course track record with current and future employers.
With the Coursera Plus subscription, you can take as many courses as you want for $399 per year. At the same time, the platform’s degree programs enable you to get all the perks of college education (degree included) while studying at your own pace.
Finally, if you want to spur the progress of your organization, Coursera offers customizable business plans you can tailor to your company’s specific needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Coursera legit?
Yes. This company has been around since 2012 and has over 47 million registered users to date. You can find lecturers from the world’s best universities on Coursera. Some of the platform’s partners include Arizona State University, Duke University, Stanford University, and Wesleyan University.
In addition, Coursera has many international partners, including esteemed universities from China, Israel, Switzerland, Singapore, and Russia. Finally, the platform also offers courses from tech leaders like Google, IBM, Facebook, Yandex, and the Mail.ru Group.
What are the benefits of Coursera?
By learning from lecturers from world-renowned universities, you can improve your knowledge and acquire new skills. You can also share all your achievements and certificates of completion through business networks, thus allowing your employers to track your progress.
At the same time, Coursera gives you the flexibility to follow the courses at your own pace. This also applies to their specializations and online degrees. Opting for one of the specializations taught by esteemed companies could improve your career prospects immensely. Who knows; if you demonstrate excellent results, you may even end up working for one of those companies.
Do employers value Coursera certificates?
Many employers are aware of the importance of MOOCs. Of course, they continue to value university degrees above all other qualifications; however, they’re increasingly looking favorably at online educational platforms. What’s more, some large tech companies have partnered with Coursera and have created courses and certification programs on the platform.
While online learning alone may not bring you a better job, it can certainly be an indicator to your employer of how committed you are to your progress and improvement. With Coursera’s Signature Track feature, you can give your employer real-time insight into your progress on the platform. In addition, you can share all your course certificates directly to your LinkedIn profile.
Is Coursera accredited?
Coursera itself isn’t accredited, but many of the courses on this platform are. In collaboration with some of the largest universities in the world and their professors, this platform offers a number of different courses that can be crucial in helping you secure your desired job.
Additionally, Coursera offers different types of skill improvement opportunities, such as:
- Online degree programs
- Professional certificates
In any case, enrolling in Coursera courses means you’ll have the opportunity to learn from leading experts in various fields. As you’ve learned in this Coursera review, not only can this help you acquire new knowledge and skills, but it may also prove beneficial for your career.