Coursera Review, Info, Certification & Costs [Free!]
What is the well-known learning platform ‘Coursera’ and how interesting is it if you want to follow a course for (almost) free? Can you obtain certificates and is it a good idea to follow a complete university course via Coursera in, for example, business, philosophy, law or technology? Read along…
What is Coursera? ‘Open’ courses means free courses
Coursera is a platform where online courses from internationally recognized universities are offered. The courses are of an academic level and afterwards the participant receives an internationally recognized certificate.
Coursera was founded in America and offers more than 2,000 courses. Coursera does this according to the philosophy of ‘Massive Open Online Coourse’ (MOOC), or ‘open university’.
This MOOC principle has existed since 2011 and means that Coursera is collaborating with more than 140 universities in several countries to make the courses available for free. You can, for example, also follow the courses of local university’s in Europe, like the UVA and the University of Leiden .
You can use Coursera for MOOCs, but also for specializations and master’s programs. The prices of the different courses differ per course. For some courses you only pay for the certificate, others are lengthy courses costing thousands of dollars.
‘Open’ means that the courses are free. You can also participate for free with all the teaching materials and the lectures. In practice, however, this means that you do have to pay if you want to become certified. There is therefore no question of obtaining a free diploma.
Coursera is an American company that offers training in collaboration with more than 140 training organizations from all over the world. These courses are also called MOOCs. This abbreviation stands for the term massive open online course.
You can follow the original university curricula of almost all courses online
Are you looking for an accredited online degree program at an academic level? Then you’ve come to the right place at Coursera. Coursera offers qualified courses in collaboration with hundreds of universities that enable you to obtain an internationally recognized certificate.
You can choose between various short and long courses with which you can bring your knowledge up to standard. Whether you are looking for a computer course or a language course, courses are offered in every field. In particular, the free online courses on Coursera that allow you to deepen or broaden your knowledge in a short period of time are very popular.
Coursera.org thus offers academic distance learning. You can follow and download almost all individual subjects and courses of the universities for free. From psychology to philosophy, from journalism to law, from electrical engineering to management, from languages to writing, from drawing to Java and from ICT to medicine. Only the certification is not free.
Cost: which part of Coursera is free and when does it cost money?
You can participate in the original university courses and courses for free via Coursera. For an extra investment you can also participate in the certification. A complete online bachelor or master is also possible, but you pay the necessary institution fee for this.
Coursera was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng with the goal of making science education accessible to everyone. In 2020, Coursera has developed into the largest platform for online scientific distance learning. More than 58 million students have registered for a course at Coursera. More than 200 universities around the world offer online degree programs through Coursera. Coursera’s courses are internationally recognized. It is a popular training platform for employees in many sectors including government, pharmacy and industry.
Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
Most popular on Coursera are the Massive Open Online Courses, academic-level courses available to everyone. A MOOC offers you the opportunity to expand your knowledge at an academic level in an accessible way.
You can choose from MOOCs within various fields, you are not tied to a field in which you have completed prior education. The open courses are free and give everyone the opportunity to follow a quality course. And that is precisely the goal of Coursera: to make qualified training courses available to a large group of people.
The concept of massive open online courses is still relatively new. The first MOOC to be widely organized was Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence program. In 2011, no fewer than 160,000 students registered for this. Since then, the offer has only increased, with a special focus on helping underprivileged students over the past few years.
But how does it actually work? In a massive open online course, the course material is distributed via the web to the people who have registered. The main use is traditional teaching materials such as textbooks, videos and case studies. What is special, however, is that contact and interaction with the teachers and other students is also included. This is arranged by means of discussion platforms. Questions are asked, answers are given and discussions started. Although it is obviously impossible for teachers to answer thousands of questions, the mutual helpfulness still ensures that everyone is helped. And that is exactly what makes this special form of distance education so attractive.
What courses can you take – and do they help you apply?
The online training platform Coursera was founded in 2012 by Professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Standford University. In addition to massive open online courses, you can also obtain specializations and diplomas via Coursera. The courses are available in dozens of different languages and there is also a lot of variation in the subjects. Whether you are interested in biology, medicine, mathematics or social sciences, there is always an education that is right for you.
The open courses that Coursera offers are mostly practical courses that are aimed at the labor market. For example, you can go to Coursera for very good computer courses and courses in the field of information technology.
This knowledge is directly applicable to the labor market so that you can distinguish yourself with such a qualification from your competitors during job applications. Other fields also offer open courses that allow you to deepen or broaden your knowledge.
Why are the courses free?
Coursera has set itself the goal of making scientific knowledge available to everyone. By offering free courses, she knows how to reach a large group of people. Income is no longer a prerequisite for gaining scientific knowledge.
The language does not have to be a barrier either, because most MOOCs are offered in English. The great diversity of open courses makes it possible to be taught in every conceivable field.
Internationally recognized certificate
At Coursera you can take free online courses offered by international universities. These are all degree programs at a scientific level. A small contribution is required to apply for a certificate. This is necessary to be able to provide an authentic certificate that is internationally recognized. Since a certificate is required within various study programs to receive credits, it is important that the certificate has a certain value. You pay an average of $ 39 for a MOOC with a certificate.
How does it work?
Depending on the course you are interested in, you will pay between $ 39 and $ 9,000 euros at Coursera. Getting started is very easy. Firstly, you search the website for a study program that suits you. Due to the wide range, it can sometimes be difficult to make the right choice. Fortunately, you can always take a look at the experiences of the students who preceded you. This will give you a clear idea of what to expect from a specific course.
In addition, the website also contains a list of the most chosen study programs, specializations, online certificates and online diploma programs. These are adjusted every week based on the new registrations. This way you can quickly and easily see what others find interesting.
After you have made your choice, it is time to register. This is also very simple. Enter your details, pay for the course and you’re good to go. As soon as the payment has been received, you will receive the necessary course material. In some cases you also have to purchase some material yourself, but this is not always the case. So read the instructions carefully to know where you stand.
After this the lessons start. The content and structure of this is also completely dependent on the course you choose. Sometimes it mainly concerns videos and podcasts, other programs focus on information from the book and practical lessons. When you successfully complete the training, you will eventually receive a certificate or even a diploma for the paid variants.
The possibilities of a MOOC
Coursera’s open courses are offered by international universities. When you register, you get access to an online platform where you can follow video lectures and complete assignments. Most MOOCs are concluded with an exam or a final quiz in which you prove that you have all the knowledge. After completing the final assignment, you are entitled to a certificate. A MOOC usually lasts a few weeks.
Other courses of Coursera
In addition to open courses, Coursera also offers long-term online training courses at various international universities. There are several specializations and master’s programs that you can choose from. Such training takes at least 6 months and sometimes even 3 years. You pay tuition fees for following a course. Depending on the course you choose, you pay a few tens to thousands of dollars. However, you will receive an internationally recognized training at a scientific level.
The offer: what does Coursera give you?
As mentioned, you benefit from a huge range at Coursera. We can divide this offer into five categories, namely:
- Online courses. You can choose between a free course or a paid course. In the first variant you have access to online lessons, homework assignments and the discussion platform. If you decide to take a paid course, you will also benefit from additional tests and you can participate in the projects. You will also receive a course certificate that you can place nicely on your resume. Coursera’s online courses take an average of four to six weeks. Prices start from $ 39.
- Specializations . With Coursera’s specializations, it is mainly about mastering one specific skill within a few months. You can decide for yourself at what pace you do this and at the end of the ride you will receive a professional certificate. For this variant, a starting rate of $ 39 per month applies.
- Professional certificates. The professional certificates that you can obtain through Coursera form a good basis for when you apply for a new job. You learn to apply all kinds of new skills and you can participate in practical assignments that you can later submit to your future employer. In this way you show that you take the job seriously and at the same time have the necessary knowledge to be able to perform the work. Earning a professional certificate takes just under a year on average and costs a minimum of $ 39 per month.
- MasterTrack certificates. MasterTrack certificates are, as it were, parts of master’s programs that are divided into modules. Although you will not obtain a full master’s degree here, these certificates can certainly help if you start doing this later. Moreover, this makes it possible to learn more about a specific topic, at the level at which it is offered in universities. This is undoubtedly a good addition to your resume. It takes about a year to get a MasterTrack certificate and the price starts from $ 2,000, with the option to pay in installments.
- Online diplomas. This option is ideal for anyone who would like to get a university degree, but cannot currently see the opportunity to actually go to school. Coursera’s online diplomas are completely legit and start from a price of $ 9,000. You also have the option to pay in installments. You pass the various subjects of this diploma at your own pace and it takes you on average one to four years.
In short, at Coursera you have the opportunity to choose from dozens of options, with different prices, teaching materials and accreditations. This way you decide for yourself what you learn and you get all the tools to take your skills to a higher level.
The Coursera Community
The Coursera Community has been set up to give students who decide to register with Coursera the feeling of a normal education. This platform offers countless opportunities to get in touch with teachers, other students and people who can help you with a specific assignment or project. There is even a special function for finding study buddies.
When you first register with the Coursera Community, you can choose to introduce yourself to the rest. Tell us a bit about yourself, what training you will be following and what you expect from the community. Everything is allowed, nothing is mandatory. Curious about what you can find on this platform? We have listed a number of examples:
- Frequently Asked Questions. These are questions about everything to do with Coursera, as well as questions that are specific to the community. You are not the first to be overwhelmed with all the information and you certainly will not be the last. So don’t be discouraged by all the questions you have and take a look at the FAQs.
- Community events. This usually involves online Q&A sessions with professionals from a specific field. The session will be announced well in advance and can be followed by anyone with access to the community. This way you learn even more about the topics that you find interesting and you meet new people at the same time.
- Information about using the community. To help you on your way, a step-by-step plan has also been made that clearly explains how you can best navigate through the community. What are the possibilities? What is expected of you? What can you expect from others? So read this carefully before you get started.
- Finally, the community manager posts information about the course of the week at the end of each week. This is a course that is very popular at the time. In the post on this you will learn more about what the course is exactly, by whom it is taught and whether it is something for you.
Participants also get the Coursera app
Although we mainly talked about the Coursera website here, you can also use the handy app. This can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play and contains exactly the same information as the website, but more compact. This way you can always carry your teaching materials, the community and all other useful functions with you and you don’t miss anything about your favorite topic.
How do you follow a course on Coursera.org?
Are you curious about which courses Coursera can offer you? Register now for free via the website to access various free and paid online courses. You can start with an online course today. By choosing free open online courses you can quickly obtain a large number of valuable certificates that will look good on your resume. The internationally recognized certificates make a good impression on potential employers. This way you can easily distinguish yourself from the competition.
It may of course be the case that after reading this article you only want to know more about Coursera and what it can mean for you. For answers to all your questions, you can visit the Learner Help Center. In addition, Coursera is active on various social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. So there are more than enough possibilities to ask your questions. Once you have registered for a course, it is of course best to go to the community.
Start here through Coursera with free online courses
View the collection of available courses and courses from Coursera here.