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With skyrocketing educational costs, a four-year university degree might seem unattainable. These days, we need options for supplementing our knowledge in a way that is accessible, legitimate, and achievable. Coursera offers a choice to do just that. With a quick read over our Coursera review and a few comparisons, you'll be well on your way to knowing the best course to take in order to set yourself up for success.

About Coursera 

coursera page

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We know you're busy with your day-to-day life; we wanted to make your search for educational options easier by providing this Coursera review. Since 2012, Coursera has been providing online accredited courses including, but not limited to, IT, Business, and Psychology; utilizing video lectures, discussion forums, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments.

Available both online via the computer and through a mobile phone app, Coursera offers convenient options for those of us who are always on the go.
Depending on your educational goal, the time needed to complete courses of study ranges anywhere from 4-6 weeks for simple courses to 1-3 years if you are aiming for a degree.

Coursera Review: Features

Gaining access to Coursera is easy. All you need is the internet and a computer or mobile smartphone. Worried about the financial impact of furthering your education? Coursera offers its students financial aid and scholarships.

Not only does Coursera offer free trials and partial access for some of their courses, but they also offer entirely free classes with the option of paying a small fee to receive a verified course completion certificate. Coursera also offers the opportunity to interact and have a sense of community with fellow classmates via discussion forums.

If you're worried about the caliber of education provided, this Coursera review should put your mind at ease. Courses are taught by professionals from schools like Yale, Duke, Princeton, and other well-known universities around the world. Many of the IT specialization courses offered are provided by highly rated tech companies like Google and IBM.

What About the Money? Coursera Pricing

When it comes to most things in life, money is generally a deciding factor. As we mentioned earlier in our Coursera review, there are a few options available to those of us who have to be watchful on the financial front. Free courses, partial access trials, financial aid, and scholarships are all available through Coursera.

If you don't qualify for any financial aid, or are taking a free course but want a course completion certificate, the certificate prices range from around $50-$100. Specialization courses are also available via a monthly subscription for about $40-$80. The courses also allow you to go at a faster pace if you are able.

The last prices to discuss in this Coursera review are the degree program prices, which are, of course, more than the previously discussed options. Most of the degree courses offered by Coursera are available somewhere in the $15,000-$25,000 price range. This might seem like a hefty amount, but it is likely that you would be paying significantly more if you were attending a four-year school.

Comparison: How Coursera Measures Up

There are so many other online course platforms out there that trying to choose one can be a little overwhelming. Let's look at a few other products to see how Coursera compares  

  • Lynda.c​om
  • Udemy
  • Codeacadamy

Coursera

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  • Ease of Use
  • Accessibility
  • Value
  • Student Support

Limited availability of instructors is a drawback in our Coursera review.

PROS

  • Free classes and financial aid
  • Accredited courses taught by professional instructors
  • Short certification or specialization courses available outside degree programs

CONS

  •  Peer-graded assignments
  • The number of course options offered could become overwhelming
  • Course instructors are not the easiest to contact

Lynda.com

lydia.com certification

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Lynda.com is another online learning platform that is available either by logging onto the site using LinkedIn account credentials or by creating a login apart from LinkedIn. This platform is particularly helpful in learning new skills along the lines of business, multimedia, or coding. Our Coursera review showed an array of courses available in all subjects; in contrast, Lynda.com caters to a more specific group.

Pricing: What You Get


Educational materials are available on Lynda.com by paying a subscription fee instead of paying on a course-by-course basis. By paying the subscription, you gain access to all the materials available. The site offers a free trial period, but, as with most free trials offered, it is generally not enough time to complete a full course.

The two subscription plans offered by Lynda.com are basic and premium. The Basic plan is available for about $25 per month; or if you pay the fee annually it breaks down to around $20 per month. With the Basic plan all video access is unlimited but project files are not available to download and video files are not available for offline viewing.

The Premium plan is available for around $38 a month and gives you the ability to download project files. To gain offline video viewing access, a yearly fee of around $375 is the option to go with. Similarly to Coursera, Lynda.com also gives access to the platform via mobile smartphone applications.

Educational Quality


Unlike Coursera, once you finish a Lynda.com course, the certificate offered is not an accredited one. Despite that, the videos offered on the platform are high quality in both sound and image. Technical support is available through phone and email, but live instructor courses are only available to students for well over the price of three months access.

  • Ease of Use
  • Accessibility
  • Value
  • Student Support

Live instructor support is not readily available.

PROS

  • Subscription gives access to the entire course catalog
  • Accessible via computer or smartphone
  • Videos screened for quality

CONS

  • Live instructors not available
  • Offline video not offered for Premium Monthly Subscription
  • Wide variety of courses not available

Udemy

The Udemy education platform is a little different than the previous two platforms mentioned. The biggest difference is that anyone, including your average joe, can create and sell a course. Courses are not accredited and the quality varies greatly. In this case, reading course reviews before making any purchases would be beneficial. If you want to learn without adding a certification or degree to your resume, Udemy could be a great platform choice for you.

Money and Deadlines


Learning new skills often takes time and money, in our Coursera Review we mentioned that some courses could be completed ahead of time; aside from that, there are course deadlines. Udemy allows you to learn at your own pace, it is pretty much self-directed, and the materials provided generally include recorded lectures and reading. Courses are affordable, usually under $20, which is an excellent option if you're on a budget.

  • Ease of Use
  • Accessibility
  • Value
  • Student Support

The option to learn new skills at an affordable price is great, but the course content varies greatly depending on the creator.

PROS

  • Courses at an affordable price
  • Learn at your own pace

CONS

  • Not accredited
  • Not all courses are taught by professionals

Codeacademy

The last education platform we'll talk about in this Coursera review is Codeacademy. This platform is geared more towards those who want to learn coding basics, and only a few advanced classes are offered. The lessons offered are free; however, if you want access to live help, learning plans, quizzes, and projects there is a Pro plan available for about $20 per month. Aside from live help, troubleshooting forums are available to students to discuss and solve problems together, along with resource pages of terms, rules, and help center access for general questions.

Beginning learners are guided through setting up, downloading, and installing what is needed to complete the course. The lessons offered are text-based with no video recordings. Progress is rewarded by badges, skills learned are recorded, and if you run into trouble along the way, lessons contain hints to help.

  • Ease of Use
  • Accessibility
  • Value
  • Student Support

Advisors are available to help via live chat if you pay for the Pro plan. If not, a troubleshooting forum and help center are available.

PROS

  • Free classes with an affordable Pro option
  • Guided set-up

CONS

  • No instructional videos
  • Only teaches basics

Conclusion

Knowing your educational goals is key when deciding which educational platform to use. In our Coursera review, the quality of the education presented, along with the options to aid in affordability make it a solid four-star choice for anyone who wishes to take charge, learn new skills or earn a certification to aid in the furthering or changing of their career.