Online courses review: Coursera, edX, Udemy

The Internet offers a great opportunity to everyone, who has access to it: learn anytime, from anywhere, either for free or for a very low fee. Gaining knowledge has become very affordable and accessible. It is exciting how much you can learn from amazing teachers from all over the world! Have you ever dreamt about getting education from the world’s top universities or at least having a peek at their courses? You can get an official certificate or even university credits (ECTS) from the best universities in the world on MOOC platforms. MOOCs are massive open online courses.

But which platforms are the best and which ones you should go for? Well, it depends, like always. My personal favorite is edX, but here is a review of Coursera, edX, and Udemy.

Coursera

Coursera
  • Coursera is the biggest MOOC platform, which was founded by two Stanford professors
  • Offers a wide range of online courses in various subjects
  • Partner universities include Ivy League universities like Yale and Princeton, but also other great universities
  • It is also possible to get an education from corporations like Google
  • Opportunity to receive officially recognized certificates and college credit
  • Opportunity to get a degree online: they have several Bachelor and Master degree programs
  • Possibility to audit courses for free
  • There is a platform for businesses, which they can use to train their employees
  • There is a great discussion board, where you can communicate with everyone, who’s taking the course as well

What I don’t like on Coursera:

  • The UI is a bit not intuitive to me
  • If you audit a course for free, you cannot take tests and examinations just to check your knowledge. I wish they were still accessible
  • More and more content is hidden behind a paywall

edX

  • Unlike Coursera, it is a non-profit platform
  • Established by MIT and Harvard
  • Offers a wide range of online courses in various subjects
  • Partner universities aside MIT and Harvard include universities like Oxford, Cornell, Caltech, and Sorbonne, but also other great universities
  • It is also possible to get education from corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon (AWS)
  • Opportunity to receive officially recognized certificates and college credit
  • Opportunity to get a degree online: they have several Master degree programs
  • Possibility to audit courses for free
  • A lot of self-paced courses - study at your own pace
  • Even if you don’t purchase the official certificate, you can still check your knowledge by participating in exams
  • There is a platform for businesses, which they can use to train their employees
  • There is a great discussion board, where you can communicate with everyone, who’s taking the course as well
  • UI is great (but that’s my personal opinion)

What I don’t like on edX:

  • They still have fewer courses than Coursera and fewer courses in foreign languages
  • They do not have any Bachelor programs
  • Very often edX has longer waiting time to take a course than Coursera

Udemy

  • Takes a different perspective on online courses: any professional with experience in some subject can prepare their own online course
  • Instructors can upload courses in various formats. They also prepare tests for students
  • There are thousands of courses in various languages made by people, who base content creation on their own work experience
  • Possibility to communicate with an instructor via the discussion board
  • You can read reviews and check ratings to choose the best instructor
  • Courses can be way more specific and topics are more varied than on Coursera or edX. Due to the nature of the platform, you can get an exact instruction of what to do with a specific technology/sport/etc. There is a bigger choice of subjects and you can work on developing very specific skills
  • There is a platform for businesses, which they can use to train their employees

What I don’t like on Udemy:

  • You cannot get a recognized certificate to put on your CV and there is no way to get a college credit
  • There aren't many free courses
  • Due to the nature of the platform, there is a higher chance to be disappointed in what you purchased

Conclusion

In my opinion, all of these platforms are great and worth trying. You could check free courses in your area of interest on edX and Coursera to check which one you prefer for receiving a proper academic education with recognized certificates or even diplomas. However, Udemy serves a different purpose and can be used on top of traditional platforms. On Udemy you can learn from passionate professionals, who can share what they have learned through years of experience. The knowledge that you receive at a university and at work can be different, so I would recommend gaining knowledge on either edX or Coursera first and then Udemy as an addition to academic knowledge. I personally have earned some credits on edX and took some great courses on Coursera and Udemy. Sometimes one platform can have exactly something that others don’t, so it’s a good idea to combine them.

If you are especially good at something and feel like you have enough experience and competence to teach people, you can even create your own course on Udemy and turn it into a side income or even your main source of income! So make sure you check it out.

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