How do Coursera courses work?

Written by Dhawal Shah Last updated on January 08th, 2020

Looking for a listing of Coursera courses?

Coursera is an online education provider that offers online courses, popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, from top universities around the world. Currently, Coursera boasts an active catalog of more than 3800 online courses created by these partner institutions.


Coursera courses consist of pre-recorded video lectures that you can watch on a weekly schedule or when it's convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.


Generally speaking, Coursera courses are free to audit (i.e. watch videos) but if you want to earn a course Certificate, you will need to pay. An investigation by Class Central discovered 1150+ Coursera courses that include assessments for free although other courses have the assessments behind a paywall.


Many of the Coursera courses are part of Coursera Specializations, a microcredential offered by Coursera. Specializations consist of a sequence of courses and for some Specializations the last course is a Capstone project. If learners earn a certificate for each course in a Specialization, they will receive a Specialization certificate. Specializations are usually geared towards in-demand skills in business and technology. You can take single courses or the whole specialization. Also see How does a Coursera subscription work?


Other courses are grouped into MasterTracks and Professional Certificates. Coursera has launched over 400 microcredentials.


You can also apply for a MOOC-based degree through Coursera.


If you are not clear on how to sign up for Coursera courses for free, here is a guide from Class Central: A Guide on How to Sign up for Coursera Courses for Free.


If you want a certificate but cannot afford the cost, Coursera offers financial aid to needy applicants. Here is more information from Coursera: https://learner.coursera.help/hc/en-us/articles/209819033-Apply-for-Financial-Aid

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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