Free Online Courses: Are They Really Worth It?By Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
Online courses on almost any subject and topics are now a dime a dozen. However, the question is whether these free or cheap online courses are really worth your precious time or do they really present real value to you?
One of the reasons for the popularity of online courses is the idea that one can boost their resumes when they enroll. That is why they flock to education websites like Coursera and Udemy gobbling up any free course related to their jobs and interests.
Then, there's also the Massive Open Online Course by Ivy League universities which are beginning to offer free courses. Moreover, they are also opening some access to some of their select courses.
At first glance, getting a certificate for completing a course offered by Harvard or Yale sound pretty impressive. The reality, however, is that employers are not looking at what course you've finished but whether you can deliver and communicate intelligently what you have learned.
Therefore, the question should be how can you identify which among these courses pass academic muster? It is a given that going for courses offered by Ivy League schools is the safest bet, and there preferred platforms are Coursera and edX.
Generally, there are no credentials given to free classes while paid classes have. The paid classes vary depending on the type of discipline you are after. Costs start at around $1,500 so it is advisable that you think carefully whether a certain cost can give you the benefit you want before enrolling in one.
On the other hand, if your goal is to learn a new skill which can benefit your present job, launch your own business, or improve your odds of getting a raise or promotion, then there are free courses which you can check out.
Just remember the bottom line, online courses can improve your current skill set and make you a better employee but it does not necessarily mean that you can get the job you've been dreaming of.