The rising tuition costs of the modern economy often make it difficult for people with low incomes to attend college. For this reason, higher education is fast becoming a luxury that only a few can enjoy.
Luckily, online learning programs help circumvent the high cost of professional certificate education as it provides affordable alternatives to expensive courses. However, at times, some of these courses are expensive. Fortunately, massive open online courses (MOOCs) like Coursera provide a much cheaper alternative for people to get special education and specialized training.
Founded in 2012, Coursera is one of the largest online learning platform in the world. It is a unique online education platform that offers a personalised skills proficiency experience at little to no cost. The platform is in partnership with more than 250 universities in several countries around the world. These include Stanford University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins university and Yale University in the United States, the University of London in the UK, and Yonsei University in South Korea.
Consequently, Coursera provides access to several thousand digital skills across different fields, including machine learning, technology, finance, data science skills, and arts etc. It also provides certificates to verify that you, the student, completed a specific course and are now well-informed in the field.
What Does Coursera Offer?
Coursera offers thousands of courses on its online learning platform. Each course has a particular structure that facilitates efficient learning for the learner. The typical Coursera course features video lectures, reading materials, online quizzes, and practice exercises. However, the program you enroll in determines how much of these learning materials you can access.
For example, a free course will give you access to video lectures and reading materials only. That is, you will be unable to engage in online quizzes and practice questions. Also, you likely won’t get a certificate on completion. A paid course, on the other hand, will grant you access to the reading materials, video lectures, practice exercises, online quizzes, and certifications.
Course, Degree Program,Certificate
There are different types of Coursera courses, degree program and certificates based on several factors of cost, difficulty, and duration of the study.
Individual Course: This course type helps you to learn about a certain field. It lasts between four and 12 hours, hence, it can be completed within a week. Examples of individual courses are business analytics, Python, and graphic design.
Guided Project: This includes all short projects you can do at your own pace. It often focuses on training you on a practical skill and lasts between one and two hours. An example is Google Ads for Beginners.
Specialisation: This course type trains you to master certain business skills. It is a longer and more intensive course type that involves taking a series of courses on the same topic. It often lasts between one and three months. Examples include courses on digital marketing, communication skills for engineers, and data science fundamentals.
Professional Course: A professional course is designed to improve its learner’s professional skills in a particular field, thus preparing you for the next stage of your career. It can take up to six months to complete.
MasterTrack Certificate: This course type enables you to learn at a Master’s degree level and earn credits towards achieving the full Master’s degree. A MasterTrack can be completed within four and seven months. MasterTrack certificates include Rutgers’ Supply Chain Excellence and Instructional Design by the University of Illinois.
Degrees: Coursera’s degree program focuses on helping you to earn a degree. It usually takes between two and four years to complete.
In essence, Coursera offers classes in numerous areas, including computer science, data science, business, information technology, public health, etc.
How to Enroll in Coursera
Signing up to use Coursera is easy. All you need to do is follow the steps mentioned below.
- Open your browser and visit the Coursera website. You can also sign up through the Coursera mobile app. It is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play.
- Next, click on “Join for Free”
- Then, insert your Full Name, Email, and your preferred password
- Verify your email
Congratulations, you are successfully signed up on the Coursera platform.
How Much Does Coursera Cost?
As already mentioned, Coursera partners offers both free and paid courses. Below are the different types of online course and how much they cost.
Coursera platform provides a range of ways through which you can study for free. These include:
- Studying any of the 1800+ free online courses without certification
- Taking advantage of the audit Specialisation units without paying
- Using the seven-day free trials on specialisations courses, professional courses, and Coursera Plus monthly subscription
Guided Project Certificates
Guided project on Coursera costs $9.99 for each course.
Coursera Plus Certificates
Coursera provides you unlimited access to a range of courses when you have an active Coursera Plus subscription. These courses include individual courses, guided projects, specialisations courses, and some professional courses. Coursera Plus costs $59 per month or $399 per year.
Coursera offers several individual courses, many of which you can enroll in for free. Unfortunately, free Coursera courses do not include certificates or full access to learning materials. For this reason, you may want to pay for individual courses. They cost between $49 and $99.
Specialisation and Professional Certificates
Specialisation and professional courses take many months to complete. As such, the best way to enroll is to pay a subscription fee for specialisations and professional certificates. This fee ranges between $39 and $79 per month, depending on the specific course.
A MasterTrack is an online program that is culled from a complete Master’s program. As a result, they contribute towards a full Master’s program if you want to get a Master’s degree. A full MasterTrack program costs a minimum of $2,000.
Further, Coursera offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees from many top universities across the world. The tuition fee to earn one of these degrees ranges between $9,000 and $40,000. Take note, however, that this is only a fraction of the amount you will need to complete the program in person.
The best part is you don’t have to pay the entire sum at once. You can pay for the courses you enroll for in each term.
Pros and Cons of Coursera
The whole idea behind a comprehensive Coursera review is to analyse both, its advantages and disadvantages to learners. Some of them are below.
Pros: Earn a certificate from the world’s top institutions
Coursera is in partnership with more than 250 of the world’s top institutions. As a result, Coursera students have the chance to earn a certificate from one of these institutions, regardless of your location. And the best part is you will be trained by industry educators.
Having a Coursera certificate will enhance your overall skills proficiency, making you more capable.
Cons: Certain niches dominate the platform
Like with many MOOCs, certain niches may be dominant on Coursera. To illustrate, business, personal development, and technology skills are rampant on the platform. Whereas there are only a few options in the humanities section, like language learning.
Pros: More than 1800 free content
Coursera offers about 2,000 free courses and the chance to learn more through the “audit course” method. This allows you to learn all you need to know about the quality of their courses before you subscribe if you want to.
It is important to note that you don’t get a certificate for free content. So, if you want one, you need to upgrade at a point.
Cons: Long application process
With Coursera, you can’t enroll in a course immediately after you pay for the course. You need to wait after applying for admission to the program. This waiting period is, however, a fraction of that of physical universities, so you still want to consider it.
Pros: It offers a flexible learning process
Coursera doesn’t offer the experience of being a student on campus. However, you can learn at your own pace and complete the course when you choose to. You can also enroll in multiple courses simultaneously.
Further, you can study wherever you are and whenever you want. So, you don’t have to quit your job – if you are working – or leave your home.
Cons: Limited assessment opportunities
Coursera students have limited access to their instructors. So, you get limited, occasional access to your instructor. But worst of it is you likely won’t get sufficient feedback on your papers when you do get any. And sometimes, you may have to grade yourself.
Coursera is not a perfect MOOC as you can see in the pros and cons above. However, it offers numerous online learning opportunities for you to enhance your skills and expand your horizon at little to no cost. Coursera provides something beyond the normal for the more than 50 million students in the world – a chance to study in institutions they may never go to. This in itself is one of the greater features of the platform.