The Best Online Courses of All Time

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Written by Dhawal Shah Last updated on September 20th, 2020

Each year Class Central publishes a ranking of The Best Online Courses of All Time, based on thousands of reviews written by learners. We first published the ranking in 2016, and have updated it every year since. In 2020, we increased the number of courses in the list from 100 to 200, drawing on more than 125,000 learner reviews.

The latest iteration of the rankings can always be found on its dedicated collections page here. Badges and other digital assets can be found here.

About Class Central

Our goal is to make online education work for everyone. 40+ million learners around the world have used Class Central to decide which online course to take.

Class Central is a search engine and review site for online courses. We aggregate courses from many providers to make it easy to find the best courses on almost any subject, wherever they exist. We focus primarily on free (or free to audit) courses from universities, offered through massive open online course (MOOC) platforms. Whatever you are interested in learning, it is more than likely that our catalog includes a course that will meet your needs.

Through Class Central, you can find courses; review courses you’ve taken (and read other people’s reviews); follow universities, subjects and courses to receive personalized updates; and also plan and track your learning.

Quick Stats

Here are some quick stats about the 2020 edition of Class Central’s Best Online Courses of All Time rankings.

  • The features courses from ~100 universities in 23 countries.

  • Coursera is the top course platform with 75 courses, followed by edX (57) and FutureLearn (39).


Millions of prospective learners around the world are interested in online learning but have never taken an online course. With more than 15,000+ MOOCs from almost 1000 universities globally, it can be overwhelming to try to sort through and find a place to start or know which courses are high quality. 

In providing a small but well-reviewed list of courses, our hope is that new learners will not be overwhelmed when entering the MOOC space. Reviews will help new learners figure out if a course is right for them, based on other learners experiences. 


The methodology we used for this list is simple. Using thousands of reviews written by our users, Class Central was able to sort courses by the Bayesian average of their ratings. Then we removed all the courses with fewer than 20 reviews (the low threshold helps smaller providers to compete on quality) and courses that are unlikely to be offered again. If a course has multiple parts, we only included the first part.

Class Central's Help Center represents our best effort to answer the most common questions new learners face. It may not be completely accurate in every circumstance.

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