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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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is coursera accredited

Is Coursera Accredited?

There are many very popular ways to learn things online, but which ones are best to choose? Coursera is one of the popular choices for many, it actually has a whopping 82 million users learning on this site worldwide. 

It is partnered with over 200 leading universities, companies, and more, providing evolution, training, and upskilling for learners, either for those wanting to learn professionally or personally. 

During the 2020 pandemic, Coursera saw a 60% increase in learners, a 160% increase in hours used, and a 250% growth in the amount of enrollment.

Of course, the reason for this is video lectures, something that people saw the importance of thanks to the pandemic. 

Online learning has become even more key since we realized how easily we can be cut off from the world. However, another reason is definitely the fact that it is a tool allowing learners to learn at their own pace.

However, one thing that everyone wants to know is whether the courses give you anything more than just an increase in knowledge, can you use your learning from Coursera courses to use on job applications, to help you get into a university, and so on?

The big question is, is Coursera accredited? That is what we are here to tell you today! 

What Is Coursera?

Coursera is an online learning platform offering hundreds of thousands of courses that help you to learn about your interests, expand your knowledge, and potentially enhance your options in your career. 

It was founded in 2012 by science professors at Stanford University, and it stands with the other plentiful platforms that offer endless online open courses, as well as pro courses, degrees, specializations, and so on. 

It is far from being the only provider of massive open online courses, there are many other online-course providers such as Udemy and such. But, what makes Coursera different from the others is how vast its learning options are. 

Some of the most prestigious schools in the United States such as the University of Michigan, and Princeton were actually the very first to provide content to the platform, which allowed learners to access Ivy League education materials without needing acceptance to these very competitive schools.

Since it launched, it has included Coursera specializations, aka. unique collections of courses that build up skills in specific skill sets and subjects like computer science, data science, etc. It also even offers degree programs and workforce development which can be used by businesses.

It is now partnered with over 200 universities and schools in over 29 countries. 

How Does It Work?

The Coursera course will take around 4 to 12 weeks to complete, each with 1 to 2 hours of video lectures per week. Much like any other course, Coursera courses can vary, some will have pre-graded assignments, quizzes, exercises, and even exams.

Some could even contain honors assignments. 

Some courses may also be provided on demand, meaning you can take as long as you want to complete the course without any concern about actually completing it. 

There are over 100 types of courses like this on Coursera alone. Then there are also guided projects which are short 2 to 3-hour projects that you do at your own pace as well. 

You could even go on to pursue an entire master’s degree with Coursera. It first started with a Master’s degree in innovation and entrepreneurship, however, since then it has branched out to offer a few other Master’s courses.

Is Coursera Accredited?

Now, this is the bit that really matters, is it accredited or not? You would think that since it is so closely affiliated with some very well-renowned universities these courses would indeed be accredited, but this is not exactly the case. 

You see, Coursera is not accredited, at least, not from an organizational point of view. A course needs to be approved and referenced by the department of education in the United States, or by any other legislative body in whatever country a student conducts their studies.

Yet, do not forget that many of the courses offered on Coursera were actually authored and designed by well-known, well-respected universities worldwide, including some of these educational establishments below: 

  • Imperial College London (England).
  • Stanford University (United States).
  • University of Illinois (United States).
  • University of London (England).
  • University of Pennsylvania (United States).
  • University of Toronto (Canada).
  • Yale University (United States).

Should you take a course that is authored or designed by one of these colleges and is perhaps one of their online degrees, then the university degree will be accredited, or if you are enrolled in a specific online degree program then it may also count towards your college credit too. (Check out ‘Is Coursera As Good As A Degree? Everything You Need To Know.’)

So, in a sense, yes and no. Coursera is both accredited and it is not. Some of the courses offered by Coursera are not accredited, however, the ones which are created and sponsored by accredited institutions are accredited. 

Coursera Functionality & Features

Coursera Functionality & Features

When you use Coursera, you gain access to college-level learning from professors at some of the best, most prestigious institutions.

This is better than a majority of other online course platforms, which have courses taught by instructors who have no actual credentials or official background in what they are actually teaching. 

But, when you are learning with Coursera, you get access to classes, many of which are taught at real-world universities by genuine professionals. 

You will have the chance to take classes from universities such as Yale and Princeton. And, there are so many courses available, 4100 to be more precise, and each of these will teach you more skills, help you learn something new, hone your skills, and upgrade your knowledge. 

It is also a very user-friendly program, you can click on a course that is of interest to you, and straight away you can get a view of course information, such as who the instructor is, and what the course syllabus looks like. 

You get a full idea of the topics covered in the course, and the timeline for learning as well, and this is all before you even enroll in the course.

Then, once you have enrolled, you are taken to the homepage of the course, where you get a week-to-week analysis of the class, which is brilliant and exceptionally useful for learners. 

You can gain an idea of what you are going to be expanding on each week, and how much time you will need to commit to the class before you actually start the class! 

Coursera Benefits & Disadvantages

While there is plenty of good to say about Coursera, and we have to admit it is definitely the top dog in comparison to many other programs like it, it is not all bad. So, let’s take a moment to consider the benefits and disadvantages of using Coursera. 

Note we are not comparing it to other programs at this point, but simply looking at what aspects of it are good for users, and which are not. 

Benefits

SPEED: One of the things we absolutely love about Coursera is that it just does not take long to take a class.

While the experience of being a student is not quite like if you were to take a course on campus, you are able to move much faster through the course and quickly graduate with a full degree with much more speed. 

Oh, and it is cheaper to do so as well. 

That being said, you can also take longer to finish the degree as well, as it depends on what is more ideal for you, and what works for your schedule. Really, it is just much more flexible for you. You can also complete all of this from the comfort of your own home. 

SELECTION OF COURSES: The extensiveness of courses is awesome, we love it. There are thousands of courses available. You can actually find a course on just about any area of interest you can think up.

Of course, there are some niches that do take over a large section of the platform. However, you can audit or enroll in a free course as well too if you want a free trial! 

QUALITY INSTRUCTION: We cannot deny that one of our favorite things about Coursera is that you actually learn from lecturers who know what they are on about. For the majority of online course platforms, this is actually not the case.

Most will actually be run by novices or those who do not necessarily have subject background knowledge. 

Therefore, in most cases with competitor platforms, you do not always learn the material you want to. However, with Coursera a lot of the courses are taught by field professionals, so your education won’t be lacking. 

SHORT BUT SWEET: One of the best parts is the video lectures, courses tend to be engaging and well-organized. With lecturers having plenty of knowledge in their field. Most videos are only a short half an hour in length. 

You can easily cruise through it to get the focus points, and no time is wasted like it is often in brick-and-mortar learning environments. 

INTERACTIVE: So many platforms are very passive, take your class on your time, and do it as you want, however, it can be so easy to get disinterested or end up in auto-pilot mode. 

However, with Coursera, you can get through the material with ease, but you can interact even more with instructors, fellow students, and with the course material. It is just more involved. 

CERTIFICATION: Coursera is one of the few courses where you can actually get an accredited certification. Do note that this is only with the accredited university courses on the platform and not all of them. However, even this is something of a rarity in online courses. 

These courses can actually open up new doors for you in your career and learning! 

Disadvantages

APPLICATIONS: You cannot just pick a course, pay for it, and enroll. Sadly, you need to fill out an application form and then be admitted, this means there is quite a waiting time, and even though it is not as long as it would be in traditional learning, it is still frustrating for eager learners.

SUB-PAR BOARDS: Most online learning platforms offer discussion boards for you to interact with others, however, Coursera’s boards have room for improvement.

Your interaction with instructors is limited, and you do not always get feedback, it’s not fully comprehensive, and you do not always get the input you desire. 

RESTRICTIVE OPTIONS: Particular niches dominate the program, so while business, tech, and personal development reign as king here, humanities are much more sparse. 

LIMITATIONS IN ASSESSMENT: If you want to get extensive feedback from your lecturer, this just won’t happen, you’ll get feedback, but it won’t be extensive. 

HIGH FEES: The fees to do courses here will be a whopping $399 per annum, which is rather steep for online learning. 

Are Any Coursera Courses Accredited?

Well, if you took a Coursera course, and it was affiliated with a respectable institution, then yes, these courses are accredited, however, some others are not. However, the good news is a lot of employers are familiar with Coursera, and the education quality it gives. 

Some employers will see a Coursera certificate as a good addition to your skill set, providing proof of your want to learn. When applying for a job with a lot of competition Coursera certificates can help you to stand out. 

However, do remember, that this is not always the case and not every course on Coursera is accredited. 

Overall

In general, most courses on Coursera are accredited, but they have to be affiliated with one of the high-end universities that have contributed to the building of this online platform. 

Not all Coursera’s courses here will be accredited. However, it can help you to stand out against other applicants when you are job hunting as it shows a willingness to improve and invest in knowledge and development.

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