Coursera Review 2023 | Online Courses That Pay You Back

Coursera Review
Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Chief of Content at Gradehacker

Updated on May, 2023

If you want to go through our Coursera review faster, you can check our video:

Thanks to online platforms, expanding your knowledge and assessor high-quality education has never been easier.

There are hundreds of online classes you can find, but if you are looking for one of the most popular and recognized online learning platforms, you’ll find Coursera as one of the first choices.

Why? Because they offer a wide range of classes that covers any subject you can think of. 

But before investing in a subscription, you need an in-depth Coursera review that answers all your questions and concerns. Ultimately, you want to know if Coursera is worth it.

This is why at Gradehacker, as the non-traditional student #1 resource, we’ve created this review so that you can get an in-depth look at Coursera and decide if it fits your learning style and budget.

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What Is Coursera?

Founded in 2012 by two Stanford University professors, Coursera is an online learning platform offering various courses and educational programs.

The platform offers courses on various topics, including:

Coursera courses are typically created and taught by professors and instructors from prestigious universities and educational institutions.

The classes are designed to be engaging and interactive, utilizing a combination of video lectures, quizzes, assignments, and discussion forums to facilitate learning.

What is key about Coursera is its flexibility. 

Learners can access course materials and complete assignments at their own pace, making it suitable for individuals with busy schedules or those looking for self-paced learning options.

Coursera's Types of Courses

Depending on the program and institution, some courses offer verified certificates, specialized programs, and degrees through their partnerships with universities.

The platform has gained popularity for its accessibility, quality content, and the opportunity it provides to acquire knowledge and skills.

So, whether you’re seeking to enhance your career chances, explore new subjects, or simply learn, Coursera offers a wide variety of courses and programs to cover your educational needs:

Is Coursera Legit?

Because Coursera is an educational platform and not an accredited institution, many people question its legitimacy. But since its launch, they have helped over 113 million learners worldwide.

They are backed up by more than 275 world-class universities and companies such as:

These partner institutions are the ones responsible for offering each specific course or degree.

So, yes, Coursera is 100% legit.

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Our Experience With Coursera

So, now we are ready to start our journey with Coursera.

Creating an account is as easy as it can be. You can register for free, only needing an email or a Google or Facebook account to sign up. Once you are done, you can go to the “Explore” option and look for your ideal course.

We highly recommend using the filters, as you can find individual courses based on their subject, skills you’ll learn, level of education, length, and language.

Now, if you don’t know where to begin, you can add your personal information, like the company where you work or the career you are pursuing, and Coursera will give you a personalized experience that suits your skills and goals.

In our case, to find our program we searched among the most popular courses and one that caught our attention was:

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

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Before enrolling, you can find all the important details about the course you are interested in.

This one has an overall rating of 4.8 (with over 86,541 reviews). It’s for beginners and would take approximately 15 hours to complete.

If you want, you can click on the instructors’ profiles and read a short bio about them, find which other courses they teach, and even see their LinkedIn profiles.

Finally, you can review its syllabus with all the content that will be taught in this course. The content is divided into four weeks, with video lectures, quizzes, and discussion forums to promote discussion and conversation.

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You can also read detailed reviews written by students who have already finished it and clear any doubts with the Frequently Asked Questions section.

While this course is available with the Coursera Plus subscription, anyone can take it for free by choosing the audit option. This grants you access to all of the content but doesn’t give you a certificate accreditation when you finish it.

The good news, is that there are a lot of Coursera courses with this option available!

So, if you are looking to learn at no cost, we highly recommend checking which other popular courses you can find for free on Coursera.

Taking a Course in Coursera

So, now that we have chosen our course, we can start its video lessons.

First, Coursera recommends that we set our goals, as according to them, students who do it are 75% more likely to finish the course.

You can set how many days per week you can join: 2, 3, or 5. This way, the platform can track your progress and suggest which classes and assignments you should take each time you enter the portal.

What’s great about Coursera is that its layout looks very similar to a college’s portal, like Canvas Network or Blackboard. It’s super easy to navigate and find what you are looking for.

You can access all the courses’ content, review your grades, participate in discussion boards, and take a look at the grades you got

They even have a resources section with specific FAQs that weren’t included on the courses’ main page, extra reading material, and recommended books if you want to do more research on your own.

Coursera Review

Assignments In Coursera

The assignments you’ll have to complete will vary depending on your individual course. But generally, there are three types:

Just like in college, the content of these activities will be based on what was included in the video lessons or reading material.

This “Learning How To Learn” course has easy-to-do assignments that aim to give students a better idea of how people struggle with critical learning issues, like procrastination, recognizing key elements of learning a subject, and preparing for tests.

In this case, they mostly grade you with different quizzes throughout the course modules.

Small quizzes are integrated into the course videos, which will help you discover if you understood the concepts correctly but won’t affect the final score.

Only the rated quizzes are taken into account; you will find one in each module and a final test at the end of the course.

Coursera Review

They also have an active discussion forum. It’s not necessary to participate to complete the course, but you are encouraged to do it if you want to share your insight with fellow students.

There you can find relevant tips and stories from people that add valuable information to the content of the course.

It’s important to clarify that not all discussion forums can be like that

If you choose a popular course, more people will likely be participating and sharing their experiences; but if not many are enrolled, then it’s possible to find forums with very few posts.

Finally, we have peer-graded assignments, which as its name so clearly explains, require you and your classmates to grade each other’s work.

Our chosen course has two, where we have to apply the concepts learned to objectives that are important to us.

These assignments are one of Coursera’s most important issues. And to explain why we’ll have to answer two main questions:

1) How Does The Coursera Schedule Work?

They give you suggested due dates to organize your schedule and prevent coursework from piling up. But you can submit quizzes and other assignments late, and there won’t be any problems with it.

Still, we highly recommend attending to these due dates, as a late submission could mean you won’t be graded.

To discover why we have to jump to our second question.

2) How Does Coursera Grade Assignments?

As we explained, you’ll have to review some of your peer’s assignments while they will grade yours. The course instructor sets how many activities you’ll have to review.

If you submit your assignment by the suggested due date on Coursera, you’ll likely get your grade within a week, as students usually review activities within three days of their deadline.

So, you and your classmates will be asked to provide a score for each part of the assignment. Final grades are calculated by combining the median scores you received for each section.

To finish the course, you’ll need to pass your peer-reviewed assignments. If you submit them on time, you’ll need at least one review from your classmates, even if the class asks for multiple reviews.

For example, if you upload your assignment throughout the week and only one peer reviews your work and grades it, that will be your final grade.

And here is where the problems begin.

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If you submit an assignment late, you’ll need all of the peer reviews that the instructor requires to pass the class.

And this is an issue because depending on how late you upload it, there is a chance there won’t be enough active users to grade your work, meaning you won’t be graded and will have to re-upload it.

There is a secondary issue: you are not being graded by an industry expert but by someone who basically has the same level of knowledge as you!

Plus, you rely 100% on how your classmate wants to grade you. Even if your work is good and would otherwise be approved by a teacher, if your peer wants to fail you just because they want to, there is nothing stopping them!

And while Coursera users usually try to do their best and grade peer assignments fairly, there is a chance you have someone with the dishonored intention of poorly grading your work regardless of its quality.

Let’s say this is something that happens to you. What do you do next? Well, because you can re-attempt assignments and quizzes as many times as you want, you can always try again if you submitted it late and no one graded it or because you want to improve your score.

In case you do this, and there aren’t enough active users to grade you, you’ll have to keep submitting your assignment until there are.

That’s why keeping up with Coursera’s suggested deadlines is critical, so your classmates have enough time to review your work.

How Much Does Coursera Cost?

Coursera prices depend on what types of courses you are interested in, but as we previously explained, they offer many free courses.

Thanks to their Coursera audit option, you can watch all of the video lessons included in these programs, but you won’t be able to complete the assignments or receive an official certification.

You can finish the course for free first, and if you like it and find a good use for it, then pay for the certificate.

Now, if you are willing to invest in Coursera, here are their prices:

However, if you aren’t looking to enroll in an online degree program and rather want top-quality courses where you can develop marketable skills, we highly recommend checking Coursera Plus.

What Does Coursera Plus Include?

Coursera Plus gives you unlimited access to more than 7,000 Coursera courses and professional certificates, all for

If you are hesitating, you can also use their 7-day free trial and see if the Coursera Plus experience is right for you.

We recommend Coursera Plus if you plan on taking more than one course. If you have the time and the motivation, you can end up saving hundreds of dollars; but if you are looking for a one-time course, you better pay for it or even choose the Coursera audit track first.

And if you still want to explore different websites that can maximize your learning experience, you can check our list of Best Online Learning Platforms,

Our Verdict

So, what do we think about Coursera?

In our opinion, Coursera is one of the best online learning platforms to go to if you are looking for courses with professional certificates.

If you want to learn marketable skills and earn an official certification to include in your resume, Coursera is the platform for you.

Here, you’ll find a wide selection of top-quality courses in many areas, especially in the business industry and machine learning fields. Most of them are offered by major universities like the University of Michigan, Google, IBM, and Yale.

When completed, they will give you a certificate accreditation that proves your new skills to your current or future employers.

It’s great that anyone can access relevant courses for free with its Coursera audit option. At the same time, it’s a letdown that they don’t give any certificates this way; but having all the course video and lecture portions can be as useful as a completion diploma.

We believe that the courses’ individual prices can be a bit expensive, especially if we consider that some can take 1-6 months to complete. Suddenly, a $59 course turns into more than a $300 investment.

That’s why we mainly recommend subscribing to Coursera Plus if you have the time and inspiration. You can access thousands of top-quality courses, including professional certificates and specializations.

Pay for the monthly or annual subscription plan, and you can earn as many certificates as you can.

Coursera Free Courses

We wouldn’t recommend Coursera if you need human interaction when learning. All its courses are 100% online, and you don’t even get to communicate with the industry experts teaching the class.

The closer you’ll get to speaking with someone going through the same experience will be with the optional discussion boards or the peer-graded assignments.

And these assignments are an issue on their own. Someone with the same knowledge level reviewing your hard work won’t have the same effective result as the one an experienced professor would give.

Whether these people grade your assignment better or worse than they should, nothing guarantees you that their review is trustworthy.

In Coursera, you need to keep track of yourself. If you actually learned something or not will only depend on you; there won’t be a professor or classmates checking that you have understood.

So, if you enjoy a shared learning experience with real people involved, it would be wise to avoid online education platforms.

But if you have the motivation to keep yourself on the right track and the goal to learn something new, then we highly recommend you try Coursera.

Pros

Cons

Learn Something New With Coursera

Are you ready to master a valuable career skill in Coursera?

Whether you are looking for professional aptitudes like business or machine learning skills, or want to explore new hobbies and expand your creative skills, Coursera has thousands of courses for you.

Explore its large catalog until you find a course that fits your needs.

And if you are a college student and want to advance faster in your program to achieve your goals, Gradehacker can help you with your essays and classes!

We hope this in-depth Coursera Review helped you better understand how it works and if it will be your ideal option. If you want to find other useful apps, check out related blog posts:

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea is a curious and creative journalist who first helped many college students as a Gradehacker consultant in subjects like literature, communications, ethics, and business. Now, as a Content Creator in our blog, YouTube channel, and TikTok, he assists non-traditional students improve their college experience by sharing the best tips. You can find him on LinkedIn.