August 7, 2020

Coursera online courses – extensive Guide for Africans

by Jens Ischebeck

Build Your Skills With Coursera Online Courses

Coursera is the leading provider of massive open online courses (MOOC), published by the top universities of the World.

And there are many young people in Africa heading for higher education.

The educational system in most African countries has numerous challenges. These include high tuition fees, few tutors, and course shortages. With millions of students looking to broaden their knowledge, it shouldn't come as a surprise that those with the means travel to other countries to seek better education. 

Those without the means to visit other countries for education are left with no choice but to find online courses to build their skills, and this is where Coursera comes in handy. This platform offers thousands of online classes with a free enrolment for everyone. 

A good reason to present this extensive article about Coursera on the Distance Education Guide Africa.

Read on to find out more about this company.

Company Description

Coursera is an educational company that has partnered and continues to partner with major universities and education organizations to provide online courses for people from all walks of life. It gives these courses through video lectures, as well as peer-reviewed and auto-graded assignments. The company also includes community discussion forums that provide students with a chance to interact with their peers.

It was founded by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, who both worked at Stanford University. Their experiences inspired the two after offering online courses in 2011. They soon move from the university to launch Coursera and make it an established online learning platform.

After its inception, the company began offering both free and paid short online courses, skill certifications, and complete degrees in numerous subject areas, including humanities, biology, sciences, and engineering. This company also partnered with major universities, including John Hopkins, Columbia, and Michigan. As a result, the company can provide over 3200 general courses and 310 specializations.

The company has its headquarters in Mountain View, California, and has grown as a platform that provides online learning for people around the globe.

Why Is Coursera Ideal For Africans?

Like the aforementioned, most countries in Africa have numerous challenges when it comes to education. A significant number of people don't have access to education or at least the means to broaden their skills. The educational company is here to help, and it does so in the following ways:

Open Access to Everyone

It is highly likely that someone in Africa has a deficient educational background and is looking to learn a new skill to better their life. The online courses will help them out as it doesn't demand prerequisites like colleges and universities. This means that you can sign up for any class irrespective of your educational history or age.

Provides Learning Opportunity for All

If you cannot afford to travel abroad or you need to broaden your skills without losing your current job, the company will allow you to learn any subject through their online platforms. They also don't discriminate against anyone, which means you can access the classes from any continent and country.

Classes are Available in Multiple Languages

Africa is a multilingual continent. Most people speak their mother tongue and one or two foreign languages, depending on their former colonizers. This means an excellent online course provider for Africans should provide classes in diverse styles, and Coursera does just that.

It provides online classes with a variety of languages to ensure everyone has a chance of moving forward. This means that you don't have to learn a new language before learning your intended course.

Lowered Educational Costs

Besides most of the online classes being free, the fact that you can attend them without travelling or paying a dorm room means that the money you spend on your education will be minimal. This makes Coursera an ideal platform for Africans who don't have extra money to spend on education abroad.

Learn from Peers

The company provides an online discussion forum that allows students to interact, which makes interaction similar to that of physical classes. This means that an African student will get informative content and get peer-to-peer assistance on topics they have difficulty in understanding.

Help you Choose the Best Course to Take

Taking online classes with the company will give you an overview of diverse subjects that you can choose to evaluate and decipher the ideal course for you to major in. This idea is risk-free as you don't have to pay any fees. As such, you will have a complete view of what subject to take, whether you choose to continue with your online classes or attend a physical college.

Subject Variety

College routine is usually very tight; thus, you may not be able to study as many subjects as you'd wish. Other times the topic of your interest may not be in your country or in a school where you can afford to pay tuition fees. With Coursera online classes, you may choose any subject you like and learn as many as possible.

Comfortable Learning Environment

It could be quite tricky for some people to become accustomed to new learning institutions, whether abroad or local. It is even worse for students who are not fluent in speaking the official language in a different country or city. If you are in this category, you can take advantage of Coursera online classes and learn them in a place where you are at ease, be it in your home or library.

Convenience and Flexibility

Coursera online classes allow students to plan their study time around their schedules. This feature will enable them to attend their courses at their own convenience without making significant changes or ignoring essential aspects of their life like family and work.

Besides, Africa and the western countries have different timelines, which would make it extremely difficult for you to study an entire course in odd hours. Additionally, you can access the courses via Coursera app on your mobile, which makes it accessible to a student who doesn't have access to computers.

Financial Aid

Given that some students in Africa lack the financial capability to cater for their education, Coursera provides scholarships and financial aid. This means that you can apply for financial assistance and undertake the courses regardless of your financial status.

Are Coursera Online Courses Just For Skill Development?

Coursera online courses are taught by top universities in the world and by the best instructors. Therefore, when you complete a course, you will receive an approved electronic certificate that you can add to your resume when applying for work. You will, however, be required to pay a small fee to receive the certificate. Remember that Coursera certificates come from world-class universities, which makes them worth every penny.

Coursera will also take you under rigorous projects and make you tackle challenges to boost your career skill. Also, after completing this specialization course, you will be awarded a certificate that will make you appeal to your company's human resource managers or potential employers.

Even those who want to earn a professional certificate are not left out as Coursera courses will give relevant skills to make you job-ready. Coursera online classes will also help you undertake a master's program and get a Mastertrack Certificate or enhance your resume with a degree from top universities. This study comes with a relatively affordable price, and you will receive the same credentials as the student who went to the physical learning institution.

Is Coursera Trustworthy?

Coursera is a legit and trustworthy company that has over 47 million registered users from all walks of life. This organization has a professional staff of about 300 members. It also has partnerships with large and world-famous universities, including Yale, University of London, Duke University, John Hopkins University, and Case Western Reserve University.

The company also garners support from major educational institutions like Alibaba Cloud Academy and Berklee College of Music. Also, major companies like Intel, Google, and IBM use Coursera as an educational platform to provide specialization courses to people who are aspiring to become I.T. support gurus.

Which Fields Of Courses / Learning Are Available in Coursera Online Programs?

Coursera is out to ensure that you gain in-demand skills that are required in both developed and developing countries.

As such, they provide you with top-notch learning courses from numerous educational fields, such as business, information technology, health, data science, computer science, as well as career success.

Each of these categories carries multiple subtopics. They are also divided into three educational levels, which includes completion certificate, specialization, and degrees.

They include:

1. Online Certificates

• Google I.T. support
• IBM customer engagement specialist or data science or applied A.I. professional certificate
• Construction engineering and management
• Applied project management
• Machine learning for analytics
• Instructional design
• Spatial data analysis and visualization

2. Top Online Specializations

• Digital marketing
• Statistical analysis with r for public health
• Fundamentals of immunology
• Anatomy
• Self-driving car technology
• Block-chain revolution for the enterprise
• Applied data science with Python
• Business foundations
• Architecting with Google cloud platform
• Data Engineering on Google cloud platform
• Excel to MySQL
• Managing innovation and design thinking
• Foundations of positive psychology
• Deep learning
• Python for everybody
• Data sciences
• Advanced machine learning
• Mathematics for machine learning
• Business analytics
• Excel skills for business

3. Online Degree Programs

• In information technology
• Data science
• Machine learning
• Bachelor's degree in computer science
• MBA and business degrees
• Electrical engineering
• Public health
• Computer science and engineering degrees

Which Are The Most Popular Courses / Fields Of Learning?

While Coursera offers thousands of online courses, some courses have a larger number of students than others.

Some of the standard classes you can learn and earn a Coursera certificate include:

• AWS fundamentals: Going cloud-native
• A.I. for everyone
• Introduction to tensor flow
• Neural networks and deep learning
• Algorithms, part 1 and 2
• Machine learning, with Python or using Sas Viya
• R programming
• Intro to programming with Matlab
• Data analysis with Python
• Google cloud platform fundamentals
• Site reliability engineering
• Speaking foreign languages professionally
• The science of well being
• Learning how to learn
• Financial markets
• Hypothesis testing in public health
• Foundations of everyday leadership

How to Open A Coursera Learning Account?

To begin learning on the Coursera platform, you need to create an online account. This requirement is free, easy, and requires just a few steps to complete.

1. Open your computer and go to You may also search the word Coursera on any search engine like Google.

2. When the Coursera page opens, look for the term Sign Up or Join for Free on the top right side of the page and click on it.

3. After clicking the link will open a popup page that will provide you with four options, which are to continue with Google, to continue with Facebook, or to continue with Apple. The fourth option will ask you to provide your full name, email address, and create a password.

You need to provide exact details and create a password with eight characters. Choosing the first three options is easier if you have those accounts as it uses the registration details you used on those platforms.

After creating your account, you need to go to the Coursera Login page to confirm if the details work. You can find the Coursera Login link on the top right of the homepage. You should also keep in mind that you can change these details later if you wish. Also, if you have an invitation, you may follow the link provided and use it to set up your account.

Which Costs Will I Incur? How Expensive Are The Coursera Certificate Courses?

Over 1000 Coursera courses are entirely free, save for the certificate that you get after completion. You may also find some classes that you can audit for free, but aspects like graded assignments and mentorship may require some form of payment. This concept means that you will access video lectures, course readings, and discussion forums without paying a dime.

Students who can pay have access to additional course materials like supplementary reading and bonus videos. In general, the price for paid courses ranges between $29 and $99 per course.

How to Get The Coursera Financial Aid?

If you cannot afford to pay for any course, you are free to apply for Coursera financial aid or a scholarship on the link provided on the website. Learners who get the scholarship or financial aid are granted access to all course content until the completion. The certificate fees are also covered in both the scholarship and financial support.

However, Coursera financial aid and scholarship are available for selected courses. Some of the courses that covered in this financial aid include:

• Clinical Terminology for U.S. Students and International
• Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics
• International Women's Health and Human Rights
• International Law in Action: The Arbitration of International Disputes
• English for Career Development
• Dairy Production and Management
• International Law in Action: A Guide to the International Courts and Tribunals in The Hague
• Introduction to Social Innovation: Becoming a changemaker
• International Law In Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes
• Strategic Management of Innovation
• Research for Impact
• Global Health Security, Solidarity, and Sustainability through the International Health Regulations
• Disability Inclusion in Education: Building Systems of Support
• English for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

To receive the Coursera financial aid or the scholarship, you ought to fill out an electronic form and commit to abide by the Coursera honour code and code of conduct. However, you cannot access financial aid via the Coursera app on your mobile, which means that you have to use a computer.

How Are The Coursera Reviews? Which Are Common Coursera Experiences?

Checking out the review of a company of a product will help you make a sound decision when looking to buy or seek their services. A good company or brand should have a good reputation, excellent services, favourable prices, and should be able to solve customer issues. Coursera has done just that. This company has a rating of 4.6 out of 5, thus making it a great company.

On the Coursera review and customer feedback pages, some customers have expressed their satisfaction in receiving a high-quality education. In contrast, others explain that they loved the learning experience and are looking forward to undertaking more courses. Others expressed their love for Coursera experience thanks to the instructors who provided very comprehensible explanations about various topics.

Some students appreciate the fact that the certificates provided after the courses are from top universities. They also express their happiness to find out that they are taken as seriously as those accredited to students who went to physical learning institutions. Others appreciate the company due to its willingness to provide scholarships and financial aid to students who cannot afford educational fees.

Coursera is an educational company that will provide you with free and paid free online courses.

As an African native, you may lack the financial capability to pay for your education or lack an educational institution that will provide you with the knowledge and skills you require to kickstart or further your career.

This online platform will provide you with personal skills that will allow you to run your projects more efficiently.