Until now, discussion forums have been limited to within single courses. When the course finished, connections would often be lost. Now, Coursera has come up with a platform-wide discussion board open to everyone with a Coursera account.
The Coursera Community was launched in late 2018 and is growing daily, By mid-February 2019, there were around 3000 users who have contributed more than 2000 posts in over 600 topics.
To find the Coursera Community, go to the Coursera home page and scroll down. Select Learners under the COMMUNITY heading. You may need to select Login to post comments.
Why have a Coursera Community?
According to the Coursera blog, “The new community is geared towards more general discussion about subjects and careers, and anything else you’re passionate about.” You can connect with other learners outside individual courses without losing the connection after the course has finished.
After finishing some courses, I have missed hearing from classmates. Occasionally, groups of learners have contributed to course threads and decided to all take a related upcoming course. Eventually, though, losing touch has been a natural progression as people joined different courses or took a break from online learning. The Coursera Community overcomes this problem. There is even a private messaging facility, where you can connect with particular learners without displaying the details in the public forum. Alternatively, you can block private messaging.
How is it Organized?
The threads have been grouped into four major categories: Coursera Common Room, Subject Discussions, Global Translator Community, and Beta Testing. These are further divided into sub-categories.
Links on the Community Homepage show Recently Active or Help Others lists. The Recently Active list shows all threads with recent additions, in order from Most Recent. The Help Others is a rather depressing list of issues that learners are having problems with. Many of these issues can be addressed by contacting the Coursera Help Center. Sometimes learners need to be patient and keep asking questions if they need to live chat with a real person from the Help Center (rather than a helpbot). If you know the answer to another user’s question in the forum, help out and don’t be shy. We can all learn from each other.
When I started taking online courses, I did not expect to be having conversations with people with similar interests all around the world. I saw myself watching videos and doing quizzes in grand solitude. Very early, though, I had trouble with homework problems and started trawling the discussion boards for hints about how to tackle the questions. I discovered a rich community with people from diverse backgrounds discussing all kinds of subjects. And that was only in one course! I was hooked.
I can see the Coursera Community growing and blossoming in the future.