Recently at a tech event on Disruptive Technology for African Development, one of the presenters made reference to Kodak; over 120 years old company, 145,300 employees in 1988 and went bankrupt in 2012.
Coincidentally, at the time, I was taking an online course on Surviving Disruptive Technologies, which used the same company as a case study.
Both the presenter and the online course were driving at the point that with fast-paced technology growth, no industry or company is immune to disruption. Enterprises are creating Innovative ideas to better meet needs and solve problems on a large scale.
Online education is probably not replacing traditional education any time soon, but in a fast paced economy, Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs are meeting global educational needs in a large scale. And it’s fast becoming an effective method to gain new or upgrade existing skills and knowledge on-demand.
Coursera is one of the education platforms offering MOOCs to anyone in any part of the world with internet connection. It partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, like Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Toronto, and top international universities, to offer courses online.
Are Coursera Courses Still Free?
Courses on Coursera used to be totally free plus quizzes and assignment submission. But students now have to pay if they will take quizzes, turn in assignments and get a verified certificate at the end of the course. They are also focusing on bundling courses together into full specializations that are recognizable credentials for a fee.
There is still the option to access course materials for free, but you will not be able to take the quizzes or turn in assignments.
Difference between Courses and Specialization
A course is a collection of lectures in modules covering a defined topic within a subject area. A specialization is a targeted sequence of courses in high-demand subject areas including data science, business foundations, digital marketing, and software engineering.
Is the Verified Certificate Worth Paying for?
If you are only interested in gaining knowledge, not interested in getting a proof of completion and don’t care much about getting involved in assignments and related activities, you can do well with the free courses.
Also, if you are in the minority of self motivated individuals who can commit to completing what you start, you may not need to pay for verified certificate.
On the other hand, course completion rates on MOOCs have been a massive subject of debate in online learning circles. In a study from Harvard and MIT, students who took the verified certification option were found to have a 59% course completion rate compared to only 5% when students enrolled without paying for a verified certificate.
With this in mind, if you are serious about acquiring a certain set of skills with MOOCs and are unsure you have the necessary drive to complete the full course, getting a verified certificate will be worth it.
Also, if you need a proof of completing the course for career purposes, you may also want to consider paying for verified certificate.
If you can’t afford the fee, you either choose the free version of the single courses or apply for financial aid as indicated on the website.
Here are some Recommended Online Courses you can Enroll
Created by: UCI Extension Continuing Education
Project management has been proven to be the most effective method of delivering products within cost, schedule, and resource constraints. This intensive and hands-on series of courses gives you the skills to ensure your projects are completed on time and on budget while giving the user the product they expect. You will gain a strong working knowledge of the basics of project management and be able to immediately use that knowledge to effectively manage work projects.
Created by: University of Michigan
About this course: This course aims to teach everyone the basics of programming computers using Python. It covers the basics of how one constructs a program from a series of simple instructions in Python. The course has no pre-requisites and avoids all but the simplest mathematics. Anyone with moderate computer experience should be able to master the materials in this course. Once you complete this course, you will be ready to take more advanced programming courses.
Starts July 04
Created by: University of Michigan
We all negotiate on a daily basis. On a personal level, we negotiate with friends, family, landlords, car sellers and employers, among others. Negotiation is also the key to business success. No business can survive without profitable contracts. Within a company, negotiation skills can lead to your career advancement. In the course, you’ll learn about and practice the four steps to a successful negotiation: (1) Prepare: Plan Your Negotiation Strategy (2) Negotiate: Use Key Tactics for Success (3) Close: Create a Contract (4) Perform and Evaluate: The End Game.
Starts July 04
Created by: TECHNION Israel Institute of Technology
The Startup Entrepreneurship specialization focuses on issues of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. It leads the students through the entire process of creating a start-up from an idea. Part One deals with ideas, and the creative imagination: discovering new ideas, new products, new services, new and better ways to do almost anything.
Part Two focuses on how to build a business (entrepreneurship). This course guides the learner through a series of tools and methods that help take an idea and make it happen, in a way that can sustain the business or organization that delivers it to humanity. Use this course to build a solid business or organization around the idea you developed during Part One.
Part Three offers Innovation Career Lessons from a Master of proven achievements. During this course you will follow conversations and interviews with Dadi Perlmutter, who until recently was Executive VP of Intel Corporate, the highest ranking Israeli executive of any multinational company.
Starts July 04
Created by: University of Pennsylvania
Perfect markets achieve efficiency: maximizing total surplus generated. But real markets are imperfect. In this course you will explore a set of market imperfections to understand why they fail and to explore possible remedies including as antitrust policy, regulation, government intervention. Examples are taken from everyday life, from goods and services that we all purchase and use. You will apply the theory to current events and policy debates through weekly exercises. These will empower you to be an educated, critical thinker who can understand, analyze and evaluate market outcomes.
Become a Journalist: Report the News! – Specialization
Created by: Michigan State University
This Specialization will develop and enhance your understanding of the global field of journalism. You’ll learn best practices and ethical standards for news-gathering processes and compiling a news report through hands-on projects, peer-to-peer feedback, and issue exploration. You will also study journalism’s impact on societal issues and trends, plus explore career opportunities in newspapers, magazine, social media, Internet multimedia, television, radio, corporate and community journalism.
Academic English: Writing a Research Paper – Specialization
Created by: University of California, Irvine
This project lets you apply everything you’ve learned in the series of courses on academic writing and gives you the practice you need for college classes by having you write a research paper. You’ll have several due dates throughout the project to help you stay on schedule. You will conduct research on an academic topic of your choice – create an outline to plan out your essay – write a short annotated bibliography to help you evaluate your sources – write a 7-8 page research paper – use source material correctly with MLA format.
Starts August 08
Created by: University of London
In this course, you will learn the technical skills needed to write software that make use of images, audio and graphics. The course will concentrate on the application of these skills to creative projects. Additional resources will be provided for students with no programming background.
Starts August 1
Improve Your English Communication Skills Specialization – Specialization
Created by: Georgia Institute of Technology
Improve your professional communication in English for successful business interactions. Each course focuses on a particular area of communication in English: writing emails, speaking at meetings and interviews, giving presentations, and networking online. Whether you want to communicate to potential employers, employees, partners or clients, better English communication can help you achieve your language and professional goals.
Starts June 27
Created by: University of Western Australia
We can spend up to a third of our time at work. It is fair to say work is a highly significant part of our lives. How do we find a job that suits us? How do we carry out our work in a productive way? How do we keep ourselves motivated and engaged at work? How can we effectively design work for other people? If you have been thinking about at least some of these questions, then this course is for you. Learn how to use psychology to understand and improve the work life of yourself and those around you.
Starts August 08
Public Relations – Specialization
Created by: National University of Singapore
In this course, students will be given a specific problem and will be asked to conduct a situation analysis based on research, which will then serve as the basis of the strategic plan outlining the objectives and specific communication strategies for addressing the problem. The project will test the knowledge of students in basic principles of public relations, public relations research, strategy and new media, asking students to come up with a strategic plan. The strategic plan will be the roadmap for a public relations campaign and will integrate the key concepts offered through the four courses.
Created by: Johns Hopkins University
A conceptual and interpretive public health approach to some of the most commonly used methods from basic statistics.
Starts August 01
Created by: Arizona State University
Demonstrate basic foundational principles, recognize second or foreign language learning theories, and design and plan lessons to teach English as a second or foreign language effectively. This specialization is the first of two specializations that make up the TESOL Certificate from Arizona State University.
Starts July 04