Looking for an honest Coursera review? I’ve been using Coursera for the last two years, and in the review below, I’ll cover everything you need to know.
What if you could get degrees from universities like Yale, Michigan, and Stanford without leaving your home? Enter Coursera. It allows students to study for bachelor’s and master’s degrees inside the platform.
You can study almost anything, including computer science, business administration, and engineering. So, if you’re interested in signing up for Coursera, continue reading. I’ve been using Coursera for over two years, and in this review, I’ll share my thoughts with you.
Compared to other learning platforms like Masterclass and SkillShare, Coursera’s workload is more demanding, as you’ll often spend over three hours a day watching video lessons and completing assignments. If you’re looking for a more laid-back learning environment, you’ll love our Skillshare review.
- What is Coursera?
- Coursera Pricing
- Who is Coursera For?
- How Does Coursera Work?
- Partnerships With Universities
- The Coursera Community
- Goal Setting
- Areas For Improvement
- Coursera Review Criteria
- Why You Can Trust Me
What is Coursera?
Coursera‘s mission is to make education available to anyone with an internet connection and a strong desire to learn. Founded in 2012 by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera offers hundreds of courses (free and paid) in fields such as business, marketing, arts, social sciences, and engineering.
Coursera’s main selling point is its partnerships with colleges and universities, which lets you study for a fraction of the price of college tuition. Although the cost of these degrees varies, it typically starts at $9,000 and averages out at around $20,000. In contrast, the average cost of college tuition is $36,436 per student per year. If you’re studying for four years, that’s almost $150,000!
Coursera has a seven-day free trial that allows you to watch all the paid courses without risk. Once these seven days are over, you’ll have to choose between three subscription plans:
- The single learning program costs $49 to $79
- Coursera Plus Monthly costs $29
- Coursera Plus Annual costs $399
The single learning program is for you if you want to learn about a specific industry. It costs between $49 and $79 per month and gives you access to all of Coursera’s courses within your industry. For example, if you’re a writer, you could buy the writing program and watch courses that cover academic writing, creative writing, and copywriting.
However, suppose you don’t want to restrict yourself to a single industry. In that case, the monthly plan is a better option because it has a variety of courses in industries such as finance, marketing, computer science, and mathematics.
In addition to these individual plans, Coursera also offers team plans. These cost $399 per year per user, and you can invite between five and 125 team members. If your team is bigger than 125 people, you can contact Coursera for a custom quote.
Who is Coursera For?
Over the last two years, I bought Coursera’s marketing and writing learning programs and played around with a few computer science courses. After spending all this time on the platform, I believe Coursera can empower the lives of:
- Students on a budget
- Professionals interested in career advancement
Students On A Budget
The best part about Coursera is that you don’t have to take out student loans to study for bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The cost of these online degrees is way cheaper than regular tuition prices.
Coursera even offers financial aid to students who meet certain requirements, so if you can’t afford the $20,000 average cost, you can apply for these programs and reduce your bill by up to 70 percent.
Coursera is also a practical option for authors, freelance writers, and poets because it has courses that cover every aspect of writing. Personally, I bought a subscription to Coursera’s writing specialization page, and the lessons have instantly improved the quality of my content writing. Some of my favorite writing courses include:
- Good with Words: Writing and Editing Specialization by the University of Michigan
- Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
- Write Your First Novel by Michigan State University
Professionals Interested In Career Advancement
Coursera has hundreds of advanced courses that won’t cover basic topics you already understand. These courses are tailored to professionals with decades of experience. They dive deep into advice that you can use to advance your career.
How Does Coursera Work?
To start with Coursera, head to Coursera.com and sign up for a free account. Coursera will take you to your dashboard, where you’ll find recommended courses.
If you’re looking for courses in a specific industry, you can use the search bar in the upper left-hand corner to search for them.
Once you’ve selected a course you’d like to watch, click the “Enroll” button, and Coursera will direct you to the introduction video.
If you want to enroll in university, select the button in the top right-hand corner titled “Online Degrees.” You can apply to universities like Yale and Stanford and complete your studies within Coursera’s dashboard.
Partnerships With Universities
The key differentiating factor between Coursera and other learning platforms is their partnerships with universities. This allows you to study towards a degree inside your Coursera dashboard. These online degrees are typically cheaper than taking out student loans and studying directly with a college or university.
If you’re a US student and meet all of the college’s requirements, you can apply for exclusive scholarships and reduce your tuition even more.
The Coursera Community
When you’re in college or university, you can talk to your peers, ask for advice, and help one another. This deepens your understanding of a particular topic. With online degrees, however, you can’t collaborate with others, so Coursera is trying to correct this with its online community.
You can publish a post on Coursera’s forum or group chat asking if someone would like to jump on a call with you and help you with a particular topic. After interacting with the Coursera community, I found that most people are more than willing to connect because talking to others about a subject also helps them understand it better.
A problem I faced for the longest time was that I’d sign up for an e-learning platform and take a few classes every day for about a week or two, but then I’d stop. After several months, I’d look back and realize that I never completed a single, full-length course.
So, when I signed up for Coursera, the goal-setting feature caught my eye. For instance, you can tell Coursera to remind you every day at 3 PM that you need to watch one video in your course.
Personally, this made it easier to finish my course instead of having it sit on my dashboard uncompleted. So, if you’re struggling to complete courses you sign up for, you’ll love Coursera’s goal-setting feature.
Areas For Improvement
As I was writing this review, there weren’t any drawbacks that immediately came to mind. The courses are some of the best you’ll find, the community is helpful, and the monthly subscription is affordable. So I looked at what other Coursera users are saying, and found that many were complaining about these issues:
- The pricing is confusing
- The courses are time-consuming
The Pricing Is Confusing
Coursera has so many pricing options that signing up can be confusing. In addition to the monthly subscription, you can buy single learning programs, Professional Certificates, MasterTrack Certificates, and Coursera Degrees.
But it doesn’t stop there. You can buy individual courses and access them for life without a monthly subscription. If you’re leading a team, you can sign up for a team plan (ranging from five to 25 users) or an enterprise plan (125+ users.)
If you’re looking for an online learning platform with simpler pricing plans, read our CreativeLive vs Udemy review. CreativeLive only has two pricing plans, a monthly plan of $29 and a yearly plan of $129, while Udemy lets you buy individual courses.
The Courses Are Time-Consuming
Coursera is a contrast to most learning platforms because it requires a massive time investment. Some advanced courses will take up to five hours out of your day, so you can’t complete them while working a full-time job.
For instance, Princeton University’s beginner course on algorithms takes 54 hours to complete. If you want to complete it within the recommended time frame of three weeks, that’s almost three hours a day!
So, if you’re working a full-time job and want something more time-friendly, you’ll love our Masterclass review. Most chapters are under 20 minutes long, so you don’t have to commit several hours every day.
Coursera Review Criteria
When I was taking courses on Coursera before writing this review, there were four areas I wanted the e-learning platform to do well in:
Quality of information: The most important factor I considered was the quality of the courses. Nobody wants to pay a monthly subscription only to have access to beginner-level advice you could’ve found on YouTube.
Ease of use: Next, I reviewed the simplistic nature of Coursera’s dashboard. I liked that the courses are neatly laid out, and you can find all your courses on the home screen.
Affordability: I also reviewed the monthly subscription because you shouldn’t have to break the bank to sign up for Coursera. Fortunately, Coursera has plenty of free courses and a cheap monthly subscription.
Additional e-learning features: The last factor I considered was any additional learning features that Coursera offered, such as an online community and goal-setting.
Why You Can Trust Me
Over the last five years, I’ve made a living as a freelance writer, writing everything from software reviews to comprehensive listicles and email newsletters. During this time, I’ve tested almost every piece of software I could get my hands on.
This included marketing software, writing assistants, and e-learning platforms like SkillShare, Masterclass, LinkedIn Learning, and CreativeLive. This experience reviewing e-learning platforms has given me a good idea of what to look for when testing Coursera.
Coursera Review: The Bottom Line
In short, if you’re looking to move into a different industry or you want to go further in your career by learning new skills, then Coursera is for you. Compared to other learning platforms, Coursera is more career-oriented, and if you can handle the heavy workload, you can reach your career goals faster than you think.
- You can study towards a degree and save money on tuition
- Coursera offers financial aid and scholarships for certain students
- You can study various fields, including engineering, marketing, business, etc.
- Coursera has hundreds of shorter courses
- The Coursera community is always ready to help
- The pricing is confusing
- The courses require a massive time investment