Author Topic: Coursera?  (Read 4639 times)

mabinogi

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Coursera?
« on: May 09, 2015, 09:28:25 AM »
Has anyone used Coursera to take courses, and used these courses to negotiate yourself into a job or even a career change? I finished a master's degree last spring, but then moved (for my husband's career) to a place where there are few to no job opportunities in my field of study. It's also not a lucrative field, so I've been thinking about trying to move into a more Mustachian career. I'd certainly prefer to do this without any additional paid schooling, so I'm thinking Coursera or something similar might be a good place to start. I'm a SAHM right now, so don't have time for full-time study but could take a course or two at a time. I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts and experiences. And suggestions on careers that are relatively easy to segue into are certainly welcome too. ;)

Goldielocks

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2015, 12:32:31 PM »
I took a Coursera course this year, for personal learning, and recommend it and the time spent highly.   
I have put it onto my resume in the same place that I indicate interests / memberships / volunteer activities.  I also put in my active LinkedIn groups there. 

I am doing this to show my active interest and on-going desire to keep current in my field, but not as course credentialing.  It is a great way to continue a conversation with a recruiter in your field, too.
For me, my professional license is all I need for the minimum qualifications required, so everything else just adds depth and color to the resume experience.

amberfocus

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 06:47:30 AM »
I adore Coursera and EdX. I was a fairly early adopter of MOOCs, and over the past three years, I have collected 63 certificates (and counting) in a wide variety of topics that interest me (including personal finance).

What I have not done, however, is used MOOCs to advance or change my career. I already have undergrad and graduate degrees in my field (biotech), and while I find the online offerings to be well worth the price tag (free), they can be rather hit-or-miss, and are not quite a replacement for a brick-and-mortar education from a properly accredited institution -- or real job experience for that matter. Most of the professors are fabulous, but there are serious limits to the inter-personal interactions and evaluation methods (the quizzes/exams tend to be a joke IMO, and peer evaluations are a total load of crock -- with all due respect to Daphne Koller, her research was conducted at an elite university and simply cannot be generalized out to the internet population). Many of the classes tend to be trivially easy/superficial, and the ones that aren't are oftentimes too difficult without proper peer/TA/professor support.

I think MOOCs are a great way to test out the waters, to gain exposure to a new field in a structured way. And if you enjoy it, then you can pursue the area more in depth. The issue is that the barriers to entry in specialized, well-paying white collar fields can be quite high, and I'm not sure if a MOOC certificate will get you in the door the same way a diploma or even a personal contact would (I know it would never fly in my field; our degree requirements are firm) -- but it might be a good way to show interest and engagement in order to differentiate yourself from other job candidates when all else are equal. It certainly doesn't hurt to try, given the low risk involved.

As for myself, I primarily use it as a method of self-enrichment and cheap entertainment. If you have any more specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

TypicalVillain

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 07:56:42 PM »
I've used Coursera to learn a lot of Computer Science, stuff that I wish I had taken in college. I highly recommend Stanford's algorithms courses.

@amberfocus I totally agree - Daphne Koller's course was particularly mind-numbing

2Cent

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2015, 10:00:28 AM »
You could use it as a starting point to making your own online business. There is no real exam, so you can't really use it to prove you know your stuff. Also, its a starting point to learning, you can do in a few days. Not comparable to a 4-5 year degree.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2015, 10:09:49 AM »
I've taken Akhil Reed Amar's constitutional law class. Great stuff for anyone with a layman's interest on the matter.

Jack

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2015, 10:18:02 AM »
Has anyone used Coursera to take courses, and used these courses to negotiate yourself into a job or even a career change?

Yes, yes and "sort of." I've been taking Coursera courses since before it was Coursera (I took the first three experimental MOOCs Stanford University offered back in 2011). Those classes allowed me to claim relevant recent experience and get a job as a software developer. (I have a CS bachelors degree, but am a double-major and had been working in my other field for several years.) The Databases class was particularly helpful since I hadn't taken that particular subject in college and it was an important part of the job I was applying for.

I'm also currently in Georgia Tech's Udacity-based MSCS program.

tvan

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2015, 11:03:16 AM »
I have used Lynda, Udemy, and Coursera to maintain my programming knowledge although it is not something required for my career. They do have value for your own knowledge IMO.

I always add the certificates to my LinkedIn account just in case a recruiter is searching for keywords. Having said that I've never been contacted by anyone but I'm not actively looking either.

I think more and more you have to apply some SEO principles to your LinkedIn page.

2Cent

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2015, 12:09:18 PM »
By the way, here is a nice overview of different MOOC courses across sites:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/039fb95a-161c-11e3-a57d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3OzhN66NO

harshalpatel

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2015, 05:40:01 PM »
I have used Coursera to learn more about finance and investing; this knowledge helped me raise venture capital for my financial tech startup.

Coursera has an option called Signature Certificates: https://www.coursera.org/signature/; for a small fee you get a certificate saying you passed the course.

They also have something called specialization. These are collections of courses in a topic like Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, etc.

While not as good as a 4 year degree, having a few of these in your resume will show knowledge attained in that field.

I took Robert Shiller's (2011 Nobel Laureate) Intro To Financial Markets course : https://www.coursera.org/course/financialmarketshttps://www.coursera.org/course/financialmarkets

Very good course and highly recommend it to anyone learning about finance and investing.

Oslo_gal

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Re: Coursera?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2015, 01:30:44 AM »
I love coursera, and proudly put my courses on my CV (along with courses and certificates I have taken through work). But it's not like being in university. Some classes are super simple, and I've quit a few classes because they just get too boring. I took a class on positive psychology that made me want to puke every time a "lecture" came on - mostly filmed group seminars were they talked about their emotions (and the quiz questions were like "True or False? It's good to feel good"...). For that reason I wouldn't give a coursera certificate or selection of courses all that much importance - the people that hire will likely also have some experience with coursera, right?

I do think it is a great way to explore topics and fields that interest you, and I place them on my CV to reflect academic interests in fields related to my own. I also love a good lecture.. There are some really great lecturers out there online, and you get access to fantastic universities. I do wish they would have some more advances classes, though.