Coursera Review: How Popular Is This Elearning Platform?

Catherine Cooke

9 April, 2021


Is Coursera as good as all the hype it gets?

Well, let’s get started. It is one of the most prestigious online educational platforms out there offering courses on Data Science, Business, Health and much more. Coursera has over 5,300+ courses, specializations and degrees and 100’s of free courses.

Sounds pretty good right?

Coursera New Banner

On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that the courses which Coursera is offering are right for you. Let’s delve a little deeper and find out more in this in-depth Coursera review.

Accredited University Degrees

Coursera has partnered with 200+ top Universities like (Imperial College and Stanford) providing online accredited degrees when you complete a course.

Tuition Cost

Course fees are significantly lower to that of a conventional school or traditional campus-based course.

Free Courses

If you don’t need a completion certificate, you can enjoy most of the courses for free – no hidden catch.

Learn Offline

Coursera’s app allows you to download course material for when you are offline. Allowing you to learn and study on the go, perfect for a plane trip.

Quality Of Courses

Courses taught by top experts in their field from world-class Universities and Companies.

Confusing Pricing

There are many different pricing subscriptions which can make the exact price of the course seem confusing and unclear for many users.

Prior Knowledge

Some courses may require prior knowledge due to the nature of the course material. It’s not always beginner-friendly.

Coursera Review Verdict

Coursera is an online elearning platform offering thousands of courses including specializations and degrees. It works with top Universities and businesses to facilitate its online accredited courses. Its purchased courses are either on a monthly or annual subscription or a one-off payment. It also offers free access to most of its courses if you choose to audit the course, this will mean you won’t receive an accredited certification on course completion.

Who Is Coursera For?

You may be asking yourself, is Coursera right for me? Well, there is no better time like the present to find out why it just might be.

If you are looking for a professional or accredited learning program then you are considering the right elearning platform. Coursera’s learning programs are broken down into 6 main types:

  • Courses: Coursera offers over 3,900+ online courses with 100’s of free courses that are taught by top instructors from world class Universities and Companies.
  • Guided Projects: Allowing you to gain job-relevant skills and industry tools in under 2 hours. Interactive learning with step-by-step visual instruction and prices starting at $9.99.
  • Specializations: A series of courses ideal for someone wanting to master a career skill. You could decide to take only the one course related to that career skill or the series of courses which would cover all aspects of that skill.
  • Professional Certificate: Training programs which are preparing you for a job or a particular industry. Some professional certificates are recognised by an organization or school.
  • MasterTrack Certificate: Semester-length courses that are only available as a unit. You can’t take individual courses as part of the MasterTrack and certificates are only given after the entire MasterTrack is completed.
  • Online Degrees: Coursera has partnered with top Universities like Princeton and Yale to provide learners with affordable and accredited University Degrees.

Coursera achieve your goals

Coursera Achieve your goals

Note: Coursera certificates are accredited and recognized by future employers.

Coursera offers a range of subjects that are broken into 11 topic areas that include;

  • Data Science
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Personal Development
  • Information Technology
  • Language Learning
  • Health
  • Math and Logic
  • Social Sciences
  • Physical Science
  • Engineering
  • Art and Humanities

Each one of these topics has a variety of subtopics to explore. If you are looking to learn a skill in one of the topics mentioned Coursera maybe the right platform for you.

Coursera for Campus Student

Coursera offers this plan for University and college students to learn job-ready skills for free. The plan gives you access to unlimited Guided Projects and 1 free course per year. To get started you just need to enter your school email.

Coursera for Campus Students

Coursera for Campus Student

The Coursera for Campus Student Plan is available to full-time, part-time, community college and university students from all over the world. Its courses are accredited with world-class universities and companies like Yale and Google.

Coursera for Business

As well as individual learning, Coursera also accommodates for Businesses offering two different plans (Coursera for Enterprise and Coursera for Teams) focusing on smaller teams or larger organisations. Each of these plans give access to 3,800 courses from top institutions, access to guided projects, assessments, quizzes and verified certificates.

Coursera business workflow

Coursera for Business team’s workflow

How Much Are Coursera Courses Really?

Coursera offers a pretty diverse range of pricing due to the fact it has so many different learning programs. The individual courses can be between $29 to $99 and online degrees go up to $25,000. The payment methods range from one-time payments to monthly or annual subscriptions like Coursera Plus (see Below).

Many courses on Coursera have an Audit for free option, which means you have access to the majority of the course material for no cost. But do keep in mind that certain features like graded assignments and certificates are a paid feature. The Audit for free option can be somewhat hidden during the registration process, I go into more detail about this in the 7 Steps to Find the Perfect Course section.

Individual Courses and Specializations vary in cost. To find the exact price you will need to click on the blue Enroll button on the left of the Coursera course information. The price will either be based on a monthly subscription or an individual one-off payment. Many of the Specializations are based on a monthly subscription with most offering a 7-day free trial with charges automatically starting on the  8th day unless you cancel it beforehand (see the image below).

Coursera 7 day free trial

Coursera free trial

Coursera Plus

Coursera Plus gives you unlimited access to 3,000+ courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, and Professional Certificates. The $399 yearly subscription plan allows you to try out 90% of the course library. The only thing that it doesn’t included is degrees or MasterTrack Certificates.

Coursera Plus

Coursera Plus

If you are planning on taking multiple courses, then Coursera Plus will definitely save you money. You will be able to earn a certificate with every course, Specialization or Professional Certificate that you successfully complete.

Note: If you decide the Coursera Plus subscription isn’t for you, you can get a full refund within 14 days of purchasing.

Coursera Business

Coursera offers two different plans for Businesses: Coursera for Enterprise and Coursera for Teams. The main difference is Coursera Enterprise is for larger organizations and has a custom pricing. Whereas Coursera for Teams (5-125 learners) is for teams and smaller organizations and costs $400 a user each year with a 14-day refund guarentee.

Coursera for business

Coursera for Business

Each of these plans focus on intergrating learning into the team’s workflow, so you can set your own deadlines and certifications awarded on each course completion. Coursera for Business has worked with top companies like Loreal, Danone and P&G.

Financial Assistance

If you are on a tight budget or in need of some financial assistance Coursera has the option of applying for Financial Aid or a Scholarship. You will need to apply for this directly to your chosen course and it is normally something that the University who is partnered with the course will manage.

We have a detailed pricing guide for Coursera that talks in more detail about this topic, you can check it out here.

How To Open A Coursera Account?

The registration process for Coursera is really straightforward. Just in case you are unsure I have broken down the registration process which looks like this:

Coursera sign up

Coursera sign up

  1. Open a browser and visit
  2. Click Join for Free in the top right corner
  3. Add your Full Name, Email and Create a Password
  4. You will be sent a confirmation email

Once you are signed up you can click on Explore and begin browsing the different courses on offer.

Coursera explore courses

Coursera explore courses

After you have selected a main category you can then pick one of the subcategories which will take you to all the relevant courses.

Examples Of The Most Popular Coursera Course

I thought it would be interesting to research which courses are the most popular out there so you can get a feel for what to expect and what other learners are enjoying.

Coursera machine learning

  1. Machine Learning – A course to learn the science of getting computers to act without being programmed. It has had almost 3,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.9 (out of 5) rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Andrew Ng the Co-founder of Coursera.
  1. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects – A course to give you easy access to invaluable learning techniques used in disciplines like art, music, maths, sports etc. It has had over 2,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.8 rating from student feedback. The course instructor has won numerous teaching awards.
  1. The Science of Well-Being – A course designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. It has had almost 2,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.9 rating from student feedback. The course instructor is a Professor of Psychology at Yale University.
  1. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) – A course that aims to teach everyone the basics of programming computers using Python. It has over 1,000,000 students enrolled on the course and a 4.8 rating from student feedback. The course instructor is a Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan.
  1. AI For Everyone – A course to teach everyone about AI terminology, machine learning, data science and more. It has almost 250,000 students enrolled and a 4.8 rating from student feedback. The course instructor is Andrew Ng, the co-founder of Coursera, who also teaches on a number of courses like Machine Learning.

7 Tips To Find The Perfect Coursera Course

If you are undecided between which course is right for you. I have put together 7 tips to help you to choose the perfect course.

Coursera filter

Use the filter feature

A very useful feature to use is the Filter by feature (see image above) which will help to narrow down your search. For example, if I were to select a category like ‘Nutrition’, I could then select from the various filters (e.g. Skills, Job Title, Level, Language, etc) and click ‘apply’ which would then show the relevant courses related to these filters – see image below.

Coursera filter feature

Coursera filter feature

About this course

You are able to read the description of the course, the topics which are included and the different areas the course will focus on.

Coursera about this course

Coursera about this course section

In the About this Course section, you will find the Skills you will gain (see image below). If your objective is to get specific knowledge from your chosen course, this can be a quick way to check out a course and determine if it will meet your needs.

Coursera skills you will gainCoursera skills you will gain

Syllabus of the course

By reading the syllabus for each of the courses you can see how each week is broken down and how long it will take you to complete it.  This includes the videos, reading material and quizzes.

Coursera syllabus

Coursera syllabus

Read reviews at Coursera

Every Coursera course has reviews and ratings from past students which can be a really helpful way to get a comprehensive feel for the course and what have others gained from it.

Coursera reviews

Coursera reviews

Within the reviews, you have the option to Filter by with All Learners, All Stars and Sort by. Allowing you to focus on reading the reviews that are relevant to what you are searching for and filter out anything you don’t want to read.

Coursera reviews filter

Coursera reviews filter

Check out the instructor

An instructor rating is included in the course description. You can then click to read his or her bio along with prior experience. They also include their websites and social media handles and other courses they teach (if any). This is an ideal way to find more about who will be teaching the course.

Coursera instructor bioCoursera instructor bio

Try for free

Anyone enrolling for a paid course or a Specialization will get access to a 7-day full access free trial period. It really is the perfect way for you to try a course and see if it is for you before you commit to pay. If you are unhappy with the course or the instructor, simply refund it.

Coursera try for free

Coursera try for free

Audit the course

The Coursera interface can be a little confusing and will lead you to pay for the course, but if you are looking to take a course and click Audit the course it will mean you can take the course for free, but you will not receive a certificate at the end of it. The link to Audit the course can be found on individual course pages (see image below).

Coursera Audit the course

Coursera Audit the course

The Audit option is not available on Specialization, Mastertrack or Professional Certificates so you need to navigate to the individual course page first.

Ease of use

Opening an account is really straightforward, you just need to add your name, email and create a password.

The design and layout of its platform is easy to navigate around thanks to its minimalistic design. My favourite part is the professionalism of the site and the fact you feel like you are on an established educational platform.


The majority of courses you can take at any time and learn at your own pace, there are some courses which have a start and end date.

If you have enrolled on a paid course or specialization you will be able to take the 7-day free trial and if you decide to cancel before the 8th day you won’t need to pay anything.

Courses are available to watch offline on its app which can be pretty handy if you are learning on the go or have a plane trip to take.

Available platforms

Coursera courses are 100% online which you can access from a desktop, laptop or via the Coursera app with a smartphone (for Android and iOS).

The Coursera app has a 4.8 rating with Apple and a 4.3 rating with Android.

Official certifications:

Coursera provides accredited certificates that are recognised by employers. Coursera doesn’t create its own learning material. However, it works alongside educational institutions, government agencies and top universities to facilitate its online courses.

So you’ll be able to earn a certificate from Coursera backed up by the university that organizes the course.


At the moment, Coursera offers over 3,900+ courses, specializations and degrees. Its programs are broken down into 6 types; Courses, Guided Projects, Specializations, Professional Certificate, Mastertrack Certificate and Online Degrees which are taught by top instructors from renowned universities.

As well as individual learning is Coursera for Business. It offers two plans Coursera for Enterprise and Coursera for Teams. Both of these plans give access to 3,800 courses from top institutions, access to guided projects, assessments, quizzes and verified certificates.

Free courses

Technically Coursera offers 1000’s of courses for free, which at first look may not seem the case. When you go for the free Audit the course option, that means you will have access to the course for free but won’t receive a certificate at the end of it.

Be aware that some courses and specializations don’t offer the Audit this course option.

Content quality

Since Coursera’s content is produced alongside top institutions, you can be sure that the quality of its courses is the very best.

Before the courses are open to the public they use what is known as Beta testers who are experts and enthusiasts to review and give feedback ensuring the quality is of the highest standard before the courses are published.


Coursera courses have a wide range of languages available which include the following: English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Chinese, Chinese (Traditional).

The majority of the video lessons have an interactive transcript (also available on the mobile app) which you can follow along with during the class.


Every course on Coursera is taught by well-recognised instructors from top universities and companies including instructors from Stanford and Duke University, and experts from Google and IBM.

Course requirements

As Coursera offers many different types of courses, its requirements all vary.

Coursera courses normally are 4-6 weeks. Each course includes several hours of video lessons every week, graded assessments, quizzes and forum participation with peers. Some of these courses have final exams.

Coursera Specializations can combine 4-5 courses into a group. Some of the shorter specializations have only 3 combined courses and can take 4-6 months to complete. Whereas the longer specializations can combine 10 courses and take a year to complete.

If you take a degree program with Coursera who are partnered with a top University it will usually take 1-3 years of study.

Course structure

Every Coursera course is created by its partnered educational institution, so a lot of planning goes into the syllabus.

Its courses are based around video lessons, graded assessments, quizzes, forum participation and, at times, final exams.

Quizzes & tests

Quizzes are normally auto-graded. Peer-reviewed papers are evaluated by a subject matter expert and feedback is given within 3 days.

Some courses also have teaching assistants to help assist with your learning.

Payments & refunds

You can make payments on Coursera with the following Credit and Debit Cards Visa, Mastercard, Discover, JCB, American Express (only for courses priced in $USD) and Paypal.

The cost of Coursera courses varies widely depending on which type of course you choose.

Depending on the subscription you have chosen, the refund policy differs. For example, the month-to-month subscription does not offer refunds.

The Coursera Plus, One-time Course, Specialization and Coursera for Team all offer a 14-day refund. The Degree and Mastertrack Certificate Programs vary as the refund policies are established and administered by the University.

Coursera also offers Financial Aid and Scholarships to those needing financial assistance.


Coursera offers a Help Center with covers many topics and you can find the answers for. It also offers a support via chat, which allows you to send them an query or issue you may have. Lastly they have a Contact Us which should help to answer any doubts or questions you have.

Overall rating

Coursera offers a diverse range of courses. It is ideal for someone who has a full-time job and wants to study an online degree or someone wanting to pursue a career change or looking to learn a new skill. It is an inexpensive and convenient way to learn.

Will Coursera Help Me With My Career?

Coursera courses are ideal for someone wanting to further their higher education or career skills by studying an online degree or taking a specialization learning program. The fact that it is partnered with so many well-established universities and businesses means that the final certificate accreditation is recognized worldwide and something definitely worth adding to your Curriculum Vitae or LinkedIn profile and recognized by future employees.

Coursera Certificate

Coursera certificate example

If you already have a full or part job, then studying with Coursera could be an ideal option for you. Many of its learning programs have flexible hours and the cost is just a fraction of what a traditional university course would cost.

Is Coursera Legit?

Something which many of you ask when considering elearning communities is: Is this course legit?

It is completely normal to have these doubts, especially if you are considering one of the more expensive Specializations programs or Online degrees at Coursera.

Coursera was founded in 2012 by two Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller with their headquarters located in California. It has had well over 150 million course enrollments and has over 200 partners.

Coursera is part of the growing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement and their elearning platform focuses on their partnerships with universities and corporations. It also attracts instructors from top universities and businesses who are experts in their field and who teach top-quality courses.

Anyways, Coursera is legit and it’s safe to use, you won’t be scammed.

Coursera Partnerships

Coursera partners with a mix of Universities, Businesses, Governments and Non-profits. In many cases, Coursera personally reaches out to these Institutions to partner with them. Coursera hasn’t made its conditions and contracts clear when working with an Institution, but I would imagine it varies from one to another. If you are interested you can complete the University or Industry Partnership Inquiry Form which will ask you a series of questions.

> Become a Coursera Partner here

Like the Institutions who partner with Coursera, there is also the option for an individual to collaborate with them and become a Project Instructor. In this role you will create guided projects.

Some of the perks include:

  • Growth: Developing your career and reputation by sharing your expertise through hands-on projects.
  • Resources: Become part of the instructor community and get the support and tools to create high-quality projects.
  • Income: Earn your income remotely on a per-project basis once your project is reviewed and approved.
  • Impact: Use your expertise to help learners around the world gain valuable career skills.

> Become a Project Instructor here

Last Thoughts: Is Coursera Worth It?

Ok, so let’s summarise why Coursera is worth it.

If you want to further your academic knowledge by studying a degree or Masters, or develop your career opportunities by studying on a specialization program, then Coursera is definitely the right elearning platform for you. It has such a wide range of learning programs from Data Science to Health that are taught by top instructors and experts from prestigious Universities and Businesses.

On the other hand, if you are wanting to learn a new skill or hobby and not wanting to gain an accredited certification then platforms like Udemy and Skillshare are probably a better fit.

You will love Coursera for its:

  • Accredited Certificates
  • Top Instructors and Experts
  • Networking Opportunities
  • High-quality courses
  • Variety of learning programs

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and have been working as a freelancer for many years now and I believe that you are in charge of your own destiny. If learning a new skill or having a career change is something you want to do, then there is no better time than the present. If you have a question please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.


edX: offers over 2,650 online elearning courses that are partnered with established universities and companies. It offers both self-paced or instructor-paced learning programs.

Udacity: comes with a smaller number of courses around 200. Its courses are focused on gaining skills for careers in the tech and business industry. Although its courses aren’t accredited it is still highly recognized by Industry experts.

LinkedIn Learning: has over 6,000 courses in business, technology and creative skills. Even though it’s not an accredited institution you will receive certificates on completion.

Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Review Updates:

24/03/21 Coursera Partnerships

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11 days ago

So you can actually show your certificate in an interview?

24 days ago

Course progression is too dependent on peer grading of assignments. I submit all of my assignments early but I’m currently waiting for peer reviews on two of them before I can move on to my next course. I’m taking a four course certificate and I’m ready to move on to the third course but those two assignments are holding me up. Since I pay monthly the faster I complete the course the less I will pay so this will end up costing me an additional month’s fee. I’ve read comments from many others about this same problem. My progress in… Read more »

27 days ago

Taking the Coursera Google IT specialist online course; trying to complete 1st test and the reported score for the exam reflects zero when all answers are correct. Based on course discussion board it’s a known issue. How long does it take for technical issue like this be fixed?

Reeta Devi
Reeta Devi
1 month ago

My niece in India is struggling to pay for one of the online courses. Can you please share with me the contact details so I can speak to someone?

Adil Sarwar Sial
Adil Sarwar Sial
1 month ago

Hi. I want to know about having an option to get certification after completion of the course I have already opted availing AUDIT THIS COURSE. Will I be able to get later on at any stage after making payment of the required fee. Awaiting response

Deborah Shea
Deborah Shea
2 months ago

I need to know if Coursera is certified by the ESTC. If Coursera does have the certification, here in Canada, I can use the tuition as a tax deduction.

Jawaune McMillan
Jawaune McMillan
2 months ago

I want to attend the grant writing course but I don’t want to pay for something that will not prepare me for a job after completion. Will this course fully prepare me for writing grants after completion?

Sonia Morales
Sonia Morales
3 months ago

It is difficult to get peers to review assignments in forums. I am planning just to finish this course and try something else. I did not pay for it and glad I did not because I don’t think I will even get a certificate with the lack of participation by peers.

Sonia Morales
Sonia Morales
3 months ago

Thanks for the response. Actually I am very new to Coursera. But after a few more days someone finally graded it. It just takes patience and perseverance. I, on the other hand, am making sure to grade more assignments than asked. Don’t want peers to feel as if their work is not being looked at. Thankfully I have time plus I learn from reviewing assignments too.

3 months ago

Hey, I read this article about Coursera and I want to say that this review is really helping me understand about the Coursera and courses

5 months ago

How long does it take to obtain a qualification on Coursera? Thanks in advance x

5 months ago

This is pretty awesome. Recently because of my busy schedule as a blogger, I decided to get a degree from an e-learning platform and Coursera was actually one of the options. With your detailed article, I happen to have grasped a lot and I am relatively confident that Coursera courses will be best for me. This review really is useful and I really must commend hep very simple and easily understandable your diction is. Thanks a lot.

1 year ago

Online Education Is One Of The Best Ways To Study For A Course Or Program Through The Online Process At A Convenient Time. Coursera Is A Free Online Education Institute That Helps People Study Their Dream Course Online. I Like What You Wrote About Coursera. Thanks For The Wonderful Post On Your Blog.

Hi nice website
1 year ago

Hi nice website

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