edX and Coursera learning platforms – courses and price comparison – Business Insider

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As online learning platforms continue to grow, there are more and more options for more accessible education. Whether you’re looking to switch careers, pick up a new skill for your current job, or take classes for fun, many e-learning platforms offer both free classes and paid certificate programs that can be budget-friendly alternatives to traditional college.
Among some of the biggest platforms are edX and Coursera, which collaborate with prestigious universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and MIT to provide free or comparatively affordable online courses. Each lets users audit at least some classes for free, pay to earn certificates to put on LinkedIn or your resume, and complete longer certificate programs that can be used as cheaper college credits to work towards a full degree. 
Founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012, edX is a nonprofit, open-source learning platform designed to “increase high-quality education for everyone, everywhere.” It has partnerships with over 120 institutions (from Ivy League schools to companies like IBM and Microsoft) and boasts over 20 million students. 
Similarly, Coursera aims to make online learning more accessible in terms of money and time commitment, and access. It also partners with schools like UPenn and companies like Google to provide professional certificates and degrees at a fraction of the cost of grad and undergrad programs.
Both edX and Coursera offer a wide range of courses, from data science and machine learning to humanities and even personal development courses. Among edX’s most popular courses are HarvardX’s “Introduction to Computer Science (CS50)“, an Excel visual data analysis course taught by an expert on the Excel Product team at Microsoft, and a class on English grammar and style from the University of Queensland in Australia. 
Some of Coursera’s highest-enrolled courses include a machine learning class from Stanford, “Learning How to Learn,” which equips students with mental tools to break down complicated learning tasks, and “The Science of Well-Being,” Yale’s most popular online class.
Both platforms offer combinations of videos, quizzes, readings, forums, and longer assignments for their courses. They also both include transcriptions of the video lectures and can offer options in languages other than English. 
All edX courses offer an option to either audit it for free or pay for a verified certificate. The free track gives you access to all the learning materials (including discussion forums), but you won’t receive a grade, and access to the material will disappear after the class is over. 
Coursera offers the free-or-paid-certificate option for some courses. For others, they’re only free with a seven-day trial — afterward, you will have to pay a monthly fee to keep learning (but you can cancel anytime before the trial ends and not be charged). The free classes don’t have a time limit and you can access the learning materials at any time.
edX’s paid certificates vary in price and can range anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on the course or program. You can find this information in the right-hand column of every course’s page. Even if a course is part of a longer certificate program, you can still take that course on its own and only pay for that certificate. For example, you could either pay $396 to finish a full program in US government, or opt to pay $99 for a certificate in just the foundations of the US government (the first course in the program). 
Coursera’s certificates work a little differently. Typically, if the course is a stand-alone class, like “The Science of Well-Being,” you have the option to audit for free or pay for a certificate, which can range from $29-$100. If the course is part of a Specialization or longer program, you can take it for free with the seven-day Coursera Plus trial, which is $399 annually but lets you get free certificates for over 90% of its classes. If you just want to complete one Specialization, you’ll have to pay $49-$79 a month to continue learning, so the faster you finish, the more money you save.
Both platforms offer longer, multi-course certificate programs, which can also double as college credits to help you work towards a full degree. Such programs can cost a few thousand dollars, depending on the course and platform. 
Coursera and edX both also have full degree programs, which are more affordable than regular degrees due to being fully online.
edX’s offerings include:
Coursera’s options include:
Both edX and Coursera offer financial aid and scholarships but have slightly different application procedures. 
edX requires that you enroll in your program of interest as an audit learner before filing an application, while Coursera has you click on the “Financial Aid” link at the top of your desired course’s page to fill out the application before you enroll.
With edX, you can audit classes for free even if they’re part of bigger certificate programs. This can be useful if you’re not sure about committing to the full program and want to see if you like how the classes are taught and laid out. 
Coursera, meanwhile, offers reviews and ratings of each class, as well as a detailed syllabus of what each week will look like, which is also handy information before paying for a MasterTrack or Specialization program.
Bottom line: Both platforms offer great options for browsing classes for free. They also have a selection of certificate programs and online degrees that can cost less than half of tuition at an in-person university. 
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