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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Coursera Vs Course Hero: In-Depth Review [2023]

There are endless options for online learners in this day and age. The internet brought a bloom of different options for people who want to learn new things, but cannot afford to go to a brick-and-mortar educational establishment. 

Sometimes our schedules just do not fit well with traditional education schedules, and in other cases what we want to learn just is not often taught in schools, colleges, and universities. 

So, we take to the internet.

However, these best online learning platforms are more than just for those who want to learn. They are also for those who wish to teach. Those who have a subject matter in which they want to share their knowledge, inspire others, or teach can take to these platforms, and generate courses. 

Different online platforms will have different levels at which they require their teachers to be at. Some platforms tend to stay on the academic side of things, oftentimes having universities and colleges being a large portion of the course contribution. 

Others will have almost any course topic, taught by almost anyone. The former option is more likely to be accredited, but the latter is not. 

Today, we will discuss two of these platforms and clarify which of these two options is best for you from Coursera Vs Course Hero. 

Before we begin though, we want to clarify that the option that is best depends entirely on what you seek from it. It is a very personal choice, and it depends on your preferences. 

Now, let’s find out which is considered best on a broader scale of things.

What Is Course Hero?

Course Hero is an online learning platform. However, this platform is made mostly for college and university students. It has the goal of helping students completely prepare themselves to graduate and do so with confidence. 

It has a roster of course-specified studying resources, they come in all forms from class notes, practice problems, videos, study guides, and assignment questions. 

The idea is that these resources will be able to help students complete their coursework whether they need help understanding a topic or if they are stuck on a specific section of their studies.

However, Course Hero is helpful to more than just students. Teachers can also use Course Hero as well, as teachers can find new teaching practices and resources to help with lesson plans, and in boosting their methods. 

Teachers and students alike can use the platform to connect with others who are teaching or taking similar courses in order to gain assistance with any potential challenges they may face.

What Is Coursera?

Alternatively, we have Coursera. This is one of the number one online learning platforms. It offers free courses from Yale to entire career programs from Google.

This platform was proudly founded by two computer science professors at Stanford University, and since it was founded, it has offered up thousands of online courses. It is now partnered with more than 200 of the leading universities in the world. 

It is partnering with Yale, Penn, Stanford, Princeton, and even Google. 

Coursera offers entire bachelor’s and master’s degrees, helping to lower the bar into higher education. However, it also offers individual courses for free as well. 

You can even get professional certificated programs that are made to help workers to secure promotions or access new roles in their careers.

Course Hero Pros & Cons

As you can already see, both of these two online learning platforms are very different and offer different services to the students who use them. They also have different needs from the educators who teach them. 

Let’s take a look at what the pros and cons are for using Course Hero first.


  • The application process is simple and very quick. 
  • Hours are flexible, there is no fixed schedule. 
  • There is no certification required for tutors and no teaching experience is needed either. 
  • Tutoring is not face-to-face at all. 


  • There have been reported cases of tutors having accounts randomly closed without any pay. 
  • Tutors have to answer a lot of questions in order to generate significant income. 
  • There can be large periods of time in which tutors are online and have no questions to answer, and therefore generate no income in this time. 
  • Some questions need a lot of time and a detailed explanation.
  • Due to the lack of certification, there is no guarantee that the information given by tutors is correct on an academic level.

Coursera Pros & Cons

Coursera Vs Course Hero

As you can already see, both of these two online learning platforms are very different and offer different services to the students who use them, one is more for those in education, whereas the other serves as education. 

These programs also have different needs from the educators who teach them. 

Now we will look at the pros and cons of Coursera!


  • Partnered with many educational institutes.
  • Massive course catalog.
  • Affordable.
  • Learn on the go.
  • Entry-level courses cost very little.


  • Taking a Coursera degree costs a lot of money.
  • Even beginner-level courses require students to have some prior knowledge of the subject.

How Do You Use Coursera As A Student?

As a student to use Coursera, you need to first create a free account and once you have signed up you can then take paid or free courses. You could enroll in one-off courses, or you can try out some longer programs that cost money, but you can get a free trial period. 

You can browse different courses which are not a part of the programs, you can do this for free as you just click to enroll and press ‘audit this course’. 

You could also pay to take degrees, these do cost a couple of thousand dollars but do count as a degree, just home from the comfort of your own home instead of at a location.

How Do You Use Course Hero As A Student?

Course Hero is a unique approach to freemium models. This model is a unique one that allows you to have a few services for free, and then you pay a subscription fee to access the other more premium features that they offer. 

You can access Course Hero by being a subscriber or for free, but even to access its free features you still need to have a bit of a barter exchange. 

All course material can be previewed by anyone, however. To access this just sign up for a free account, and you will soon find materials relative to your college and to your course. That being said, you will only be able to preview it, the whole material will be blurred out and to access it you need an ‘unlock’. 

You will also be able to get assistance from tutors by asking questions, and they can respond with assistance in 15 minutes or more.

Coursera For Free

A lot of the Coursera courses can be audited for free, but you would miss out on graded assignments and certificates of completion if you were to audit a course. 

If you gain access to a course that is no longer part of a program then these are typically free for you to try with a week’s trial period. 

There is not a lot you can access on Coursera for free, however. 


Degrees, Certificates, & Free Online Courses

  • More than 5,000 courses
  • Professional Certificates
  • Degrees from the Top Universities
Try Coursera

Course Hero For Free

If you want to use Course Hero for free you need to use a barter exchange. This means that you can gain these for free by uploading your own original studying materials to the platform. 

To do this, anything that you upload must be your own, you may need to copyright it yourself, or if it is not yours, you need permission to upload it from the owner. You also need to ensure that it is not plagiarized material either.

Per every 10 documents you upload you will gain 5 unlocks, but doing so won’t gain you any unlocks straight away. The Course Hero team will need to evaluate your uploads first. This can take hours or days. 

If the uploads are approved then you will get free unlocks via mail, you can then use these in your account. 

Each set of unlocks you get will only be valid for 30 days from when you receive them. 1 unlock can be used to gain access to any question, document, textbook solution, or explanation across the whole site. 

As a free member, you still also get complete access to the Course Hero literature infographics. Aside from this, as a free member, you will be able to access questions on an a la carte basis. 

If you wish to ask a tutor a question, you will need to pay, though.

What Online Classes Does Coursera Offer?

Looking back at Coursera again, they run traditional online courses such as personal development, and professional development, a specific skill much like Yale Sciences’ Wellbeing to the workforce upskilling. 

However, Coursera also offers online degrees as well, in areas of computer science, public health, and so on. 

Is Course Hero Considered Cheating?

While this program is not illegal or wrong, students often find themselves feeling skittish at the idea that the school will discover that they are using Course Hero. However, there is no need to worry. 

As well as this, whatever documents get uploaded will be anonymous, and no one can track who actually uses the site. Some may view Course Hero as cheating, however, it could be considered cheating to come, but others may also consider it as just another form of studying. 

In a sense, it could be considered another form of study, but it really comes down to your own perception of this. 

Course Hero Subscriptions

While you can get plenty using Course Hero for free, the subscription is the best plan. Subscribing to Course Hero will gain you 100% access to all of the platform’s premium features.

It costs under $10 per month at $9.95 if you choose to pay annually, it costs $19.95 a month quarterly, or $39.95 if you play on a monthly subscription. 

With the paid plan you receive 30 unlocks which will be valid until the end of the month, and you can use these to unlock any 30 documents or user questions across Course Hero

Be aware that any unlocks you do not use do not get carried over. So when a new month begins you will lose any unlocks you have not used. You will also gain total access to all the explanations and textbook answers.

You get up to 40 tutor questions as well included in this, note that the tutors are vetted by Course Hero based on experiences and qualifications. 

Questions and unlocks will be renewed each month, and you can unlock new questions and unlocks by uploading your own documents, just like on the basic plan, you would need to successfully upload 10 documents and have them approved as well.  

This will unlock 5 unlocks, or 3 tutor questions and these also have a 30-day lifespan and do not get carried over either if not used.

Coursera Course Costs

Coursera will cost differently depending on the plan type and the courses. They can be as minimal as $39 to $49 per month, or they can cost up to hundreds. 

You can also gain access to Coursera plus as well, which provides you with an annual subscription of $399 and provides its premium membership members with unlimited access to more than 90% of the platform’s e-learning online courses, of which there are a whopping 3,000. 

Coursera Degrees, Certifications & Financial Aid For Learning

Coursera Degrees, Certifications & Financial Aid For Learning

Coursera does offer online degrees as well, much like taking a degree with an online university. The degrees are offered by a lot of top-tier universities, however, they do cost as much as you would expect from a degr