Coursera vs Coursera Plus

Coursera vs Coursera Plus

What is Coursera

Coursera is an online education platform that offers over 3,000 courses and 400 specializations from top universities and companies worldwide. Founded in 2012 by Stanford professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Coursera aims to provide universal access to world-class education.

Learners can enroll in individual Coursera courses covering topics in data science, programming, business, social sciences, humanities, and more. Most courses use a combination of video lectures, readings, quizzes, and peer-reviewed assignments. Upon completing a course, learners have the option to pay a fee ranging from $29 to $99 to earn a Course Certificate. Coursera also offers Specializations that group related courses together into a capstone project focused curriculum.

In terms of free access, Coursera grants full access to course video lectures and materials, but does require payment for graded assignments and certificates. Coursera works with over 200 leading university and industry partners such as Google, IBM, and University of Michigan to produce high-quality, in-demand content. All courses and specializations are available on Coursera’s website and mobile app, with new offerings added regularly.

What is Coursera Plus

Coursera Plus is a premium subscription offered by the online education platform Coursera. It provides the following key benefits:

Unlimited, on-demand access to over 3,000 courses and 400 specializations from top universities like Stanford, University of Michigan, and companies like Google and IBM. With a Plus subscription, you can enroll in an unlimited number of Coursera courses and specializations each year.

Unlimited certificates for completing assessments in Coursera courses. Standard Coursera learners need to pay a fee per course certificate, usually between $29-$99. With Plus, you can earn as many Course Certificates as you want without additional charges.

Offline learning allows you to download Coursera course materials to access when you don’t have an internet connection. Standard Coursera only enables online access.

A Coursera Plus Learning Profile that showcases your expertise through course progress tracking, achievement badges, and skills analytics. This can demonstrate breadth and depth of skills for career or educational purposes.

Here is a table outlining the key differences between regular Coursera and Coursera Plus.

FeatureRegular CourseraCoursera Plus
Access to coursesCan audit courses for free. Pay per course for graded assignments/certificatesUnlimited access to all 3,000+ courses
Course certificates$29 – $99 per certificateUnlimited certificates included
Offline learningOnline onlyCan download content for offline access
Profiles and trackingBasic profileEnhanced profile and activity tracking
CostFree or pay per course$399 per year subscription
  • Regular Coursera grants limited access with certificates requiring individual purchase per course
  • Coursera Plus provides an all-inclusive subscription for $399/year
    • Unlimited certificates
    • Offline learning
    • Enhanced profile and progress tracking
  • The unlimited certificate and access features cater best to intensive, committed learners

In summary, Coursera Plus removes standard paywalls and caps around Coursera courses. For an annual fee of $399, dedicated learners can earn unlimited Certificates to their heart’s content for skills enhancement and career advancement. It’s ideal for autodidacts aiming to demonstrate a well-rounded education on their CV.

The differences between Coursera and Coursera Plus

Coursera Plus is Coursera’s premium subscription that removes limits on access, certificates, and features for $399 per year. When compared to Coursera’s free access, here are some key differences:

Access & Content The free version of Coursera allows you to audit courses by accessing lecture videos, readings, and some assessments. However, you cannot earn certificates or unlock graded assignments without paying per course. Coursera Plus grants unlimited, full access to all 3,000+ courses and 400+ specializations.

Certificates Earning course certificates on standard Coursera normally costs between $29-$99 per certificate. With the paid Coursera Plus subscription, you can earn unlimited course certificates upon completing assessments without any extra charges.

Offline Learning The free Coursera tier only enables online access to courses. With Plus, you are able to download course content to access offline when you don’t have an internet connection. This allows more flexibility.

Profile & Tracking Coursera Plus offers a Learning Profile that showcases your expertise through badges, course tracking, skills analytics, and activity metrics. This level of progress visibility is not included in the free tier.

In summary, for committed learners who use Coursera regularly across topics, Coursera Plus offers an All-Access Pass to certificates, specializations, and enhanced tracking for $399 per year. Occasional users will likely prefer single course purchases or free auditing. But intensive Coursera learners can maximize their skills augmentation through this premium subscription model.

Coursera Plus offers some additional benefits over the free tier, but as with any premium service, the value depends on your individual needs. The main perks of the $399 annual subscription are unlimited access to over 3,000 courses and unlimited certificates upon completing assessments. This could appeal to lifelong learners who want total flexibility to explore Coursera’s extensive course catalog.

However, it’s fair to ask how valuable “unlimited certificates” really are. Unless they are from selective university programs, most employers will not view Coursera certificates as credentials comparable to accredited degrees. So the certificate quantity does not always equate to career advancement. That said, some may find value in showcasing a breadth of skills.

Additionally, Plus provides offline access and a personal learning profile. But realistically, free workarounds exist for offline access, and public learner profiles are of questionable use for most people.

In the end, Coursera Plus offers convenience and volume that caters to devoted users. Occasional learners will probably be satisfied sticking to free or per-course pricing. As with any premium service promising “unlimited” access, reasonable consumers should weigh if they will fully utilize the content library enough to justify the $399 annual expense. For some, it may provide worthwhile educational volume. For many others, selected paid courses likely suffice.

William Kendal

William Kendal

I'm an educator while being skeptic, with extensive experience working for the Library of Congress and MSU Denver. My love for critical thinking and education has motivated me to create this website.

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