Every person is different, and every career path is different, so it follows that every educational experience is different. If that’s the case, then why are all students expected to progress through university in the same way?
Coursera believes that there should more than just one way to attend a university. That’s why they’ve partnered with universities from around the world to offer entirely online-based degree programs.
But is Coursera worth it, or is an affordable online bachelor’s degree just too good to be true?In this Coursera review, we’ll decide if the platform is worth your time and money and answer the question, “Is a Coursera certificate is worth it?”
What Courses & Degrees Does Coursera Offer?
As you’ll see in most Coursera reviews, Coursera works by partnering with universities from around the world, including the University of London, the University of Michigan, and Arizona State University, to provide real college courses that are entirely online.
With interactive educational elements, each course is able to teach the material through quizzes, informational videos, and even project assignments. You can even speak with other students who are taking the same class in order to build community and learn together.
There are several forms of courses and programs that can be helpful depending on what you need or want to get out of it. They vary in price and intensity, and allow students to choose a form of education that will benefit them and their career goals best.
For certifications to perhaps fill a job requirement, or if you want to continue to learn but don’t have the time to be a full-time student, taking a 4-6 week course might be the best option.
These courses are incredibly affordable, being priced $29-$99, and end with a course certificate.
If you are attempting to bulk up your resume or your skill set in regards to a specific ability, a specialization program is the perfect fit. This is a series of courses that include hands-on projects and real-world practice.
At the end of the course, which typically lasts between 4 and 6 months, you receive a Specialization Certificate. One of the most appealing parts of the specialization is that it is also impressively affordable, costing only $39-$79 per month.
A specialization looks great on a resume when the skills acquired during the align with job duties or expectations, so we would say that a specialization certificate from Coursera is worth it for the price.
One of the biggest pitfalls of the education system is how impossible it is for working people to obtain the degree they need to kick-start the career they deserve. Coursera’s accessible online degree program is trying to change that by allowing students to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree in a way that works for them.
The master’s program is 100% online, meaning that students do not need to deal with the hassle of commuting to a campus, even for testing. Past students have lauded Coursera for creating a program that doesn’t force them to put the rest of their life on hold.
For 1-3 years of study, a student will pay between $15,000 and $25,000 for their accredited master’s degree. Admission is also required in order to participate in this program, but Coursera also offers Financial Aid for those who qualify.
With four programs of study for an accredited masters degree including business, computer science, data science, and public health, Coursera is constantly expanding and growing with the number of educational services it is providing. This is all in order to make high-quality education more accessible to a wide range of students all over the world.
Specializations especially are incredibly varied, and can vary in terms of how many classes they include, meaning students can focus their studies on exactly what they need for their career. Coursera offers comprehensive courses of study in the form of specializations in business analytics, applied data science, machine learning, and digital marketing.
This course of study is in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and provides a comprehensive look at big data analytics. One of the benefits of this highly rated program is that it is great for business professionals of all experience levels.
This specialization only takes about four months, with approximately five hours each week. It is a low-commitment way to improve or develop new skills without needing to put your life on hold to do it.
Applied Data Science with Python
Along with some of the best faculty from the University of Michigan, this program teaches the Python programming language and allows students to move through a full introduction to the subject matter.
This specialization is perfect for individuals have already learned the basics and want to get into applied data science. Students utilize python toolkits like scikit-learn, networkx, pandas, nltk, and matplotlib. One of the great things about this specialization is that it can be completed in as little as five months, even though it only requires about six hours a week of work.
This is a great intermediate level class for individuals who want to expand on a skill without having to go back through all of the basics. Anyone who may feel like they’re wasting money on university classes that require basic prerequisites that teach you what you already know will enjoy moving through this intermediate program.
This course partners with Stanford to offer students a comprehensive understanding of how mechanisms like self-driving cars, web search, and practical speech recognition work, and how to make these mechanisms and computers work without explicitly programming them to do each action.
This specialization only takes about 53 hours in total, with only 7 per week, meaning it is doable especially for those with full-time jobs that want to expand their skill set in order to advance in their career.
This is one of the most popular specializations, and has been rated in INC Magazine on the list of The 10 Hottest Online Classes for Professionals in 2015. These high ratings make it in high demand among students, and is one of the main reasons people choose to learn through Coursera as opposed to other programs.
In working with the University of Illinois Masters of Business Administration program, the Digital Marketing specialization covers a wide range of important topics that industry professionals seek to deepen their understanding of. These topics include 3D printing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and digital marketing analytics.
This specialization not only grants its graduates a certificate, it also earns students credits toward a full Masters of Business Administration (iMBA). This means students can save time and money and can earn a specialization certificate on their way to a master’s degree, meaning that their resume is growing even before they receive their degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Beyond specializations, there are even individual courses that students can take advantage of for incredibly low cost without having to commit to a several month long program. These programs can run from six to eight weeks and allow students to really specialize their education by focusing on specifically the skills that they want to develop or the topics they need to learn about to advance themselves professionally.
Some of the individual classes offered by Coursera online include:
Digital Product Management: Modern Fundamentals
This course is specifically for individuals who want to become a product manager or improve their skills.
This course can be completed in as little as four weeks, which is one of the benefits of taking a singular course rather than following a longer program of study like a specialization or a degree.
The only downside of some courses is that their language options are less than many specializations and degree programs. This course only comes in English.
Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects
Offered through McMaster University and University of California San Diego, this course focuses on learning techniques for individuals who want to improve the way that they learn. This is perfect for those wanting to maximize their learning strategies in the future and make their knowledge and experience gathering more efficient overall.
This course is offered in a particularly wide range of languages including Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Dutch, German, Russian, Thai, Spanish, English, and many more.
The full duration of this course is only about eleven hours in total, and is broken down into videos, exercises, and bonus material. It can help individuals to study and learn about art, literature, science, sports, math, and other subjects.
- Language Accessibility: Coursera utilizes sophisticated translations from experts in the field in order to offer their courses and programs in a variety of languages including English, Chinese (Simplified), Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Hindi, Mongolian, and Japanese. There are over thirty languages offered depending on the specific course, specialization, or degree.
- Attendance: Because the courses are 100% online, students don’t need to be able to get themselves to campus for testing or to waste money commuting to and from classes or tests. You can schedule your classwork to fit around your work schedule so that nothing has to be cut short or rushed. Being able to work on your own time is part of what makes Coursera worth it.
- Affordability: The average cost of a single credit hour at an American university ranges from $100 to $500. For a 3-credit course, you’re looking at anything from $300 to $1500. Coursera offers the same knowledge for as little as $30.
- Low Intensity Level: For individuals who would like to do more work each week and complete a specialization, course, or degree in less time, this may not be the program for you. The suggested amount of time to spend per week is best for those who work or are busy full or at least part-time, who would like to devote between five and seven hours each week to the program. Those who want to study full time might be better suited to a different program.
- Certifications Don’t Mean Much: When it comes down to it, putting your Coursera certification down on your resume probably isn’t going to wow a potential employer. Is a Coursera certificate worth it? Not always. But is the knowledge you gain from the course for such a low price worth it? Absolutely. The skills and practical knowledge you gain from these courses is worth so much more than a digital certificate.
- Web Development Program: While their web development program has been well-reviewed by past and current students, Treehouse is perhaps a better option for students who want to get the most out of the program.
Is Paying for Coursera Worth it?
Finding an online program of study that fits your needs specifically can be hard, especially when you don’t communicate directly with faculty or visit a campus on a daily basis. It can also be difficult to know which programs are trustworthy and which are not. So is paying for Coursera worth it?
One of the benefits of working through Coursera is that they work with a large number of highly credible universities. An online program can be hard to trust when you’re an employer, but one that is through a top university in the United States is easy to put your faith in.
This is not just another online program; it is an accessible, affordable education with some of the most lauded, experienced professors who are also experts in their field. Graduates of this program go on to start successful companies, work for major corporations, or create new and innovative technologies.
If you are a working or busy professional who wants to advance their career in a productive, time and cost-effective way, Coursera can get you where you need to be. Former students say that taking courses at Coursera, and completing specialization and degree programs with their talented faculty was one of the best things they could have done to get them where they are today in their career.
This educational system is perfect for individuals of all skill levels, economic status’, career choices, and time commitments, which is why it has become in such high demand in the past few years among business professionals looking to improve their skills and expand their resume’s.
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Enrolling in classes is easy and inexpensive, and can be done relatively quickly depending on the program. Courses and specializations do not require admission to the program. Anyone can enroll in these courses by simply creating an account and logging in. Courses charge a flat rate, while specializations charge per month of the program.
Coursera work with a large number of highly credible universities.
For masters degree programs, admission to the university is required. There are contact forms available on the Coursera website that allow users to submit their email and phone number in order to receive more detailed information about specific programs that they may be interested in.
One of the other benefits of this program specifically is that mobile learning is possible. Class material can be accessed easily by utilizing apps for iOS or Android. Enrolling in classes is something that can be tedious and difficult at big universities, but with Coursera, enrolling is as easy as the click of a button.
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