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37% of Coursera’s 6400 Courses Have Peer Reviews: Here Are the Best

Unlike multiple-choice questions, peer-reviewed assessments are manually graded by other learners.

An analysis by Class Central has established that, currently, 2423 of Coursera’s 6476 active courses (or 37%) include peer-reviewed assessments — that is, assessments manually scored by other learners.

Online education tends to rely on automation when possible. When it comes to course assessments, this typically translates into courses using (or overusing) multiple-choice questions, since these can easily be autograded.

But multiple-choice questions aren’t always ideal, in particular in disciplines inherently subjective or open-ended. An equation might have one solution. But when it comes to, say, creative writing, there usually isn’t a single right “answer”.

Some learners might prefer the human touch of peer reviews. So we’ve compiled a list of the best Coursera courses that include peer reviews. We’ve broken the list down into subjects. Click on a subject to skip to the corresponding courses:

Peer Reviews: Strengths & Weaknesses

Real peer review: 2 learners gave me 4 points; 1 gave me 2.

Peer reviews are a type of assignment used in MOOCs — though prior to this analysis, we wouldn’t have guessed that more than a third of Coursera’s courses used them.

Peer reviews on Coursera work as follows:

  1. You complete an assignment, typically involving open-ended questions that you address by writing a few paragraphs of text. You submit it, but you don’t get a score just yet.
  2. You score other learners’ assignments, according to a specific rubric, giving more or fewer points depending on how well the assignment addressed each rubric item. In addition, you may write comments.
  3. You get your assignment score back, but only after (1) you’ve scored enough assignments, and (2) your assignment has been scored by enough learners.

Unfortunately, precisely because they introduce a human factor, peer-reviewed assessments come with limitations. Humans can be cunning. Our colleague @pat has written an article on the issues of peer reviews, which include cheating, delays, and inconsistencies.

That said, in our experience, many learners tackle these assignments earnestly, providing fair scores and useful feedback that can help one gain a better understanding of the course topic.

So if you’re looking for a good online course with peer-reviewed assessments, you can find our selection below.


Personal Development Online Courses

Programming Online Courses

Business Online Courses

Health & Medicine Online Courses

Humanities Online Courses

Data Science Online Courses

Social Sciences Online Courses

Computer Science Online Courses

Art & Design Online Courses

Mathematics Online Courses

Science Online Courses

Education & Teaching Online Courses

Engineering Online Courses

Suparn Patra Profile Image

Suparn Patra

Suparn developed an interest in MOOCs through a project he worked on during his MSc in Artificial Intelligence. He joined Class Central as a Full Stack Engineer.
Manoel Cortes Mendez Profile Image

Manoel Cortes Mendez

Software engineer and online graduate student in computer science passionate about education, technology, and their intersection.

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