By Sonya Lebedeva
So you decided to start an online course. You’ve been doing the whole quarantine thing for a while and you have some time on your hands. You have four appealing suitors in front of you: Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, and Edx, and you are stuck with the decision of which one to choose. There are certainly more suitors than the four mentioned above. However, this article will aim to guide you through the differences between the four. Which is the best for becoming a yoga instructor? Perhaps learning to cook? Or brush up on your data analysis skills? What about archeology? For answers to all of these questions look no further.
You click on a course, it’s cheap, you are obsessed with it for a week and then it is over. The course material is not quality controlled and thus there is no guarantee you will get a good course in the first place. What sort of courses does it have, you ask? The short answer is everything. It has almost anything: business & entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health & fitness, language, music, photography, game design. One of my favorites has been “Professional Crystal Healing Course With The Crystal Fairies.” Doesn’t sound real, right? Well, you can check it out here for $10.99. In short, if you want a really quick, weird, and cheap course, then Udemy is the place for you. However, the quality of the courses is low and thus you never know what kind of thing you will get. Also, a few Reddit networks think it’s sketchy, and if that’s not convincing evidence then I don’t know what is.
Next, we have Udacity—the quiet one in the back of the classroom who you don’t hear much from until they ace the test or receive some national award. Despite being launched in 2012, Udacity took its time to grow and develop some kickass courses. The only catch: they are only for computer science. So if you want to try your hand at a Deep Learning, Natural Language processing or get a Nanodegree in data science, this is the place for you. A warning though, this is for those who are in it for the long run. Do not choose this suitor if you feel that you have commitment issues. The best courses take a few months and if you decide to quit you might be finding yourselves without any newfound knowledge and while also missing a few hundred dollars from your bank account. The best strategy is to start with something free on the website and to get a feel if this long term relationship is for you. The bonus perk is that you can get a discount of up to 40% if you are a student during this thing called COVID-19.
This suitor is the more serious, academic type. It is also for those who are in it for the long run. Coursera has courses in archeology, history, business and many more. However, their main focus is for those who wish to complete an online degree. This means that you can get a certificate from MIT or Harvard, but it also means that it’s going to take you a lot of work. A perk about this suitor is that they sometimes have live classes and this means that you can get a more engaging experience. They also have a pretty robust online learner community so that you can chat about expressionism with your new online friends. And so, if you are into the academic type, Coursera is for you.
The last suitor is EdX. It’s pretty similar to Coursera with the biggest difference being that EdX offers more science-based courses and that it also conducts research into how people learn online. This means that the program is getting better every week, as they show you more specific and effective activities based on how other people have found them to be helpful in the past. It does also mean that they kind of trace your every click, so I wouldn’t necessarily call this a positive. Well, I guess they all track your every click, at least this one is honest about it.
Now I am sure that was a lot, so if you are still struggling to decide between the four suitors well I also happened to make a spreadsheet comparing the 4 of them. I wish you all the best in your amorous (I mean academic!) pursuits.