Benefits of online courses
It’s a dream for many to study at a top university. It can help you build new skills and rejuvenate your career. But not everyone has the financial and professional freedom to leave their jobs and enroll in a full-time program.
If you see yourself in that position, an online course may be worth considering.
Advantages of online courses
Online courses have the following advantages:
- Focus: Online courses are designed with very specific topics in mind for a niche audience. In contrast, in a mainstream masters program, you may end up spending a large amount of time and effort learning general topics that you may not be interested in.
- Flexibility: They give you the flexibility to learn at your pace, without the pressure of keeping up with your peers taking the same course.
- Fees and Costs: Many are free, if you are only looking at upgrading your knowledge and skills. If you want a certificate to add to your resume, there are several cheap / highly affordable courses, compared to the full-time programs offered by the same elite universities.
Disadvantages of online courses
Despite their benefits, online courses aren’t for everyone. Here are some disadvantages of online courses:
- Impersonal: Technology makes a lot of wonderful things possible. But if you are prefer the traditional teaching process, it may take a while to accept your computer as your teacher
- No Relationships: Attending a top university gives you more than an education. Working in a small, close knit academic setting gives you a network that you can rely on, after you graduate. If you decide to sign up for an online course, make sure you find other avenues to build your professional network.
- Credibility: Millions of folks are taking free online course because, well, they are free! And a large number are dropping out, because they don’t feel fully invested in it. That reduces the credibility of the free courses. One way to tackle this is by going the extra distance and getting the certification for a small fee.
Are online courses worth it?
The risks of online courses are quite low, compared to full-time programs. If you don’t get carried away by the benefits, and find ways to tackle the limitations, online courses may be worth it.
Make sure you are clear about what you expect from the course. Find out more about how online courses work and which one will be right for you. We’ll try to help out with some of the answers.
How do free online courses work?
What can you expect when you sign up for these online courses? Are they really free? Which are the best reviewed online courses?
Here’s how a majority of these online courses work.
Every course is structured to cover the basic concepts (with online theory based articles, explanatory videos).
- They would have quizzes to help you evaluate how much you’ve learnt.
- You may get to work on projects to turn the theory into practical insights.
- You’ll have access to a community of users with whom you can discuss what you learn in the course, ask questions, clarify doubts.
- Most of these online courses are free of cost to take. However, they may charge a fee to get a certificate of completion.
Best websites for online courses
There are hundreds of sites offering online courses for free and for a fee. Some of the top sites for online courses are as follows.
- Coursera: Most of the courses we’ve listed on our site are from Coursera, and for good reason. It’s among the most popular and credible sites in the world for online courses on a huge range of topics. They have tie-ups with the top universities in the world. Learning from the best professors in the world is unmatched.
- Khan Academy: This was designed as a non-profit initiative and has made all its courses free. The idea was to basic education available for everyone across the world. The flip side is that most courses are at a foundation level, so you may need to go to another site to learn the advanced topics.
- Udacity: This is similar to Coursera, but much smaller. The focus is on technology related courses. The fee structure is also more flexible, allowing you to pay on a monthly basis. So you don’t pay for the full course if you decide to stop mid-way.
- Udemy: In terms of pricing, this would be among the more expensive sites. Their business and technology related courses are quite popular.
Best online courses
Alright, since you’ve got to this part, seems like you are serious about getting a new qualification on your resume.
We’ve scoured the net to bring you the best online courses in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, business administration and management.
Click on the following links to learn more.