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Last updated: Oct. 23, 2017

20 Coursera Consumer Reviews and Complaints

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Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 23, 2017

On July 28, 2015, I registered to a Coursera course, paying $474 with a two-week money back guarantee (please see the receipt). When I tried to un-enroll and be reimbursed, the website proved to make this impossible, with not even a way to contact the company to obtain reimbursement. I sent them an email to their security address (the one I could find), joking that this must have been a hack that made the reimbursement process impossible. Of course I was never reimbursed.

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Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Sept. 29, 2017

I did a free trial for a course in Coursera. After two days I figured out that it has little to do with the module I take at university so I decided to quit the course. I unenrolled it and canceled my payment. Apparently, something happened and the payment wasn't canceled. I was billed 45 euros. I contacted their support TWO HOURS AFTER THE PAYMENT and they couldn't do anything. It's outright pitiful how they treat their customers.

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Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: June 8, 2017

Same problem here. Signed up for a free trial, selected 2 specializations that are honestly the same thing by different universities. Went forward w/ 1 and agreed to pay the monthly $49 charge. 2 months later I realize that I am being billed for that 1 and the other specialization which I never started that costs $80/month. Been paying $130/month. They have no customer service number and via chat their agent was zero helpful, all they could tell me is that I am past the refund deadline. RIDICULOUS.

Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 4, 2017

Subscription Model initiated with no customer support through mails, chat, voice. It's nearly impossible to cancel once enrolled and nearly impossible to find a person to help you once you're enrolled. India cannot pay through debit cards, and can't use Amex (with strong dispute handling). It's "easy to get into - impossible to cancel even if you want to" model is well known for online scams - but is a shame for an academic platform. Especially when the CEO is an ex-Yale dean.

Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 19, 2017

At Jan., 2017 I decided to take a class at Coursera. I paid $49 for one months. 4 weeks later I got my certificate for this class and I was happy. But at March, 2017 I realized that my account was charged every month! I realized, that I signed up for the specialization, not for a class! I contacted Coursera and they answered that my refund period had already expired. Be very careful when you pay for courses at Coursera. Be sure to cancel your subscription when you are done with class!

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 15, 2017

I sign up for trial for 5 courses to see the syllabus and select the one that is related. I chose one of them and start watching videos. In my account page there was 0 in front of the courses. This morning, Coursera charged my bank several times for all the courses. There was not any clue that they are going to charge me. I haven't received any email from them about charges while they send email every day to offer me other courses. I tried to contact them but there is no contact number and they guide you to a page which basically says no Refund, I expect this nasty method of making money from a cosmetic seller but not from the academic purpose company, I'm so sorry to see this unprofessional strategy targeting students! Be really careful about Coursera.

Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 11, 2016

I signed up for the Data Science specialization a couple months ago, which cost over $400. I bought the package deal (9 courses) to save 10%. I had no idea that the course materials would be a few slideshows and the projects would mostly test my googling skills. After finishing the 3rd course in the series, I wanted out, but the refund period had already expired. Be very careful if you pay for courses at Coursera, and do NOT buy the specializations whole!

Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 5, 2016

This a a four-class series. The first two courses are somewhat oversimplified but a good overview towards its related topics. The third course had been an issue. Enrollment was open through November but I could not sign up. I was told this was due to the class being in beta. The class became available in early December and I have been going through the curriculum. The problem is the quiz answers do not coincide with the answers given in lecture. I've been using trial and error to pass by process of elimination on the multiple choice answers but have no options for other questions. Live chat suggested I ask peers for help. We are all experiencing the same problem with no support. I paid for the 4-part series all at once so am ineligible for refund. My employer will not compensate me for the course unless I receive a 93% or higher. At this rate I can't pass or get compensated. Lose/lose.

Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 28, 2016

I have been following online courses with FutureLearn for some time, with excellent results, so I thought I would try Coursera. First of all, there is the absurdly complicated process of signing up - with photo, passport - as though I was entering a foreign country. Next, they wanted payment, so okay, I paid. That went smoothly of course.

But now, on the day my course is supposed to begin, not only has there been no notification, but I can't get into the site. I've tried everything - resetting my password, searching out help (forget it!).. nothing works, and there appears to be no way to contact an employee of the company. If I can get my money back somehow I will, but I may have to write this off. Never again - back to FutureLearn!

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 17, 2016

As a veteran, Coursera has agreed to give veterans their first course free. The only glitch is that the website will not accept any free course signups and there is absolutely NO WAY TO CONTACT THEM FOR HELP OR TO REPORT AN ISSUE (other than their "help" forum, which already has many others posting on the same issue with none of them receiving answers). If their signup and support mechanisms are any indication of what is to come, it's probably a good thing I wasn't able to enroll. Too bad I couldn't give them NO STARS.

Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 6, 2016

DO NOT PAY FOR THEIR CLASSES. A group of 20 of us paid for the U. of Michigan Python classes and the Python simulator stopped working during the 2nd week. Complete scam. They refused to reimburse any of us. They do not have a product that works. It is a scam!!

Original review: Oct. 31, 2016

Paid to get a certificate for completing course (which was so basic as to be useless. Google searches provided more learning), but their awful platform wouldn't allow me to submit assignments. They gave me solutions that didn't work and when I asked for a refund (since THEIR system couldn't deliver what I paid for), they said the 14 refund window had closed. Am calling my credit card company to reverse the charges. Lame content, lame system, lame company.

Verified Reviewer
Original review: Oct. 30, 2016

I took a SQL programming course on Coursera. I previously had no programming experience. The course is basically reading instructions then writing code using an interactive interface. However, there is absolutely NO human contact. The instructional part is basic. But then, the quizzes are ridiculously hard and are not covered by the instructional portion. For instance, they may teach you a basic query in the written instructional portion and then require you to write a complex query involving multiple joins and subqueries for the exams. And I have posted several times on the forum with absolutely no response from Coursera although instructors and mentors are supposed to be monitoring the forum.

There is no reason to take this course. You have to know how to program to pass the exams, in which case, you do not need this course. If you can't code before starting this course, you can't pass it. You will not get any help or instruction from Coursera. They expect you to be resourceful enough to figure out the coding. If that is the case, you don't need Coursera in the first place.

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 29, 2016

My course 3/4 in this specialization is still incomplete because the questions had wrong answers in the module quizzes and it was literally taking HOURS to complete the quizzes because you had to guess which one of the wrong answers would be correct this time. The questions rotate through slightly different questions each attempt so you can't simply use elimination on each attempt, YOU GUESS EVERY SINGLE TIME. IT'S LITERALLY 100% LUCK! I thought maybe course 4/4 would be better but nope, same problems here. I've wasted over 6 hours in total trying to pass these broken tests and I'm completely over it. I also reached out to chat support, they went through and said they couldn't find anything wrong and couldn't help me and a refund was impossible because it's past the refund date. Even though I paid for 2 broken, un-proofread, time wasting courses.

Also, in course 4/4, the math tables in the videos are staggered all over the place and looks terrible. Seriously an issue of someone not even looking at the video before publishing, would have taken less than 5 mins to fix for the entire course. Also, every time a "checkpoint" question is supposed to pop up, nothing happens. In every single video, they're all missing. I've used Coursera for a few other courses and thought they were reliable but this makes me think otherwise and I feel like such an idiot for paying $200 for this COMPLETE GARBAGE. Other people in the forums have shown they have the same problem posted over a month ago but nothing. Please, someone from Coursera get a hold of me and help me resolve this ridiculous problem.

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 17, 2016

I have taken two history classes at Coursera that were wonderful. I learned much and continued to learn. A class on southern slavery opened an entire new world. But there is complete variety in the quality of Coursera's offerings. Coursera has provided no way to report problems with or lack of content in their courses, and does not appear to care.

I am currently taking two Western history classes that consist entirely of a series of eight or so sets of taped lectures that might as well have been put on YouTube, and a set of five to ten question quizzes that are only available to people who paid a substantial amount of money for the certificate for completing these complete jokes of a class. There are no assignments, and no projects, and on participation by the instructor. When I emailed him at his university email address before the class started to get the reading list so I could obtain the books, never imagining that there weren't any, he never troubled to respond. I also never got noticed that the classes were starting, which is the first time that has ever happened. They were already more than a week in progress when I found that out.

I signed up because the teacher is a long time foreign policy expert under multiple presidential administrations, and has worked for President Obama but coauthored books with Condoleeza Rice. However, when I looked to see what materials he uses for the university level courses on the same subject that he teaches, or what books he has authored that might provide more information than he provides in his lectures, I discovered that he has never written any books on western history, nor does he at least currently teach any university level class on this subject. I wonder if this guy is getting some sort of academic points for "teaching" this course, but doesn't feel as motivated to put any sort of effort into it.

Coursera has specific email addresses to report technical problems with the website, and billing issues, but no email address or form to report to them substantive problems with the course. I posted about this on Coursera's forums, and asked where to report this, a day ago, and no one at all has responded, least of all, Coursera!

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 19, 2016

I tried Coursera on the recommendation of a friend. I took up an English course and the experience was a refreshing one. The college that offered it was a new one and was still testing the waters on how to go about with the course. Although it was fun doing the exercises and homework requirements, the moderation of the forum was one that needed improvement. Many of my "classmates" complained that the time limit for the exercises was not enough given that most of them were working. There was also an instance where one of my "classmates" was criticized heavily (I think that was bullying, though, given the harsh comments) and this was not given the proper attention and action by the forum moderators. Otherwise, I finished the course and got my signed certificate. The course was a great refresher.

Verified Buyer
Original review: April 12, 2016

I am on a signature track for Coursera's "Mobile cloud computing with android specialization" which started in August-2015. I pre-paid $343 considering that the entire specialization will end till August-2016 as was promised. Till the first 4 courses everything was fine. But then they delayed the fifth course by a year. The course which was suppose to start in Feb-2016--was delayed to Feb-2017 and that too without letting us know anything. After complaining they told that it's because of their movement to their new platform. But this delay was causing harm to the career decisions I had made.

So after chasing them for a month they came up with a solution to run the 2 out of 3 remaining courses on the old platform 3 times consecutively in March-2016, Apr-2016, and May-2016. The dates for the capstone project which is the last in the specialization were not announced. Then they started running the remaining courses with old material (Jan-2015 batch material) with absolutely no support from the instructor. Even the promise of running the courses thrice was not kept.

After chasing them again they said that they have again decided to run the courses later some time on their new platform (exact dates were not told). The instructors from Vanderbilt University are not at all responding to the queries and are of no help. Coursera has charged us a lot and now playing these tricks and wasting our time. I am really fed up of chasing them. I will not take any new course on Coursera henceforth and recommend others to be cautious while pre-paying all the amount before taking these courses. Coursera has caused me a lot of mental agony. They don't deliver what they promise.

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 13, 2016

Their refund policy is that you can't get a refund after 2 weeks from when you paid. So if you paid on the first day of a course, and get through the first 2 weeks, no refund is possible. The problem is that in the Specialization I took for learning code. The first class, Programming the Web for Beginners, became ridiculously hard after the second week. A good example is that the lecture videos teach you what a function is, and it's basic components, then for the quiz, they ask you to write 5 different programs, full on programs. So people who are truly beginners, who have never read or written code in their lives, are supposed to just magically know what to do because a video told them what a function is.

I quit after week 3, for there was no passing that class. When I complained and asked for a refund for the remaining classes that I have not, and will not be taking, they told me that they "Absolutely cannot fathom" me. That their refund policy is clearly stated, and they insinuated that I'm an idiot for even asking.

This organization is criminal. How convenient that the class got beyond ridiculous after their refund period. Do not waste your time or money on them.

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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 25, 2015

Coursera is an innovative way to learn and enroll in a variety of courses for career advancement. Their website clearly states, one may pay in advance or after the course is completed and passed in order to obtain a verified certificate. However, it is not so easy to pay post. In fact there is no page on the website to accomplish this task. I have inquired multiple times only to be redirected back their website. I called the institution that sponsored the course and they are trying to assist me. My last resort is to write to the Attorney General in the State of California in hopes that this can be resolved. I have never had to essentially beg a company to take my funds.

Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: July 6, 2015

The format of the Coursera course I am taking is unclear and clumsy. Sometimes parts or it lock up or crash. I don't know if it is the course (Python for Everyone) or the platform that is so cumbersome, since this is the first (and maybe the last) Coursera course I've tried to take. Peer feedback seems like a good idea, but many of the fellow students fall into one of two categories: IT-savvy people who are adding Python to their list of languages and write in ways that are too complicated (i.e., assume too much) for the "everyones" who are taking the course on the assumption that one does not have to know more than the prerequisites listed, or good-meaning people who do not write coherent English sentences.

Compared to a live class, where the instructor can interact with me, this MOOC format is really weak. Also (again, I don't know if this is just this course or Coursera in general), we are not allowed to give even partial answers (code lines in this case) to other students. The idea is that giving us an answer won't help us. Well, not giving us an answer sometimes sure hurts us. The frustration this course raises a high effective barrier. Instead of asking a question and waiting a few minutes to several hours for a sometimes opaque, cutesy or snarky -- or useful but intentionally partial --response, it would be nice if I could get some help, as I can in a live classroom, even when an instructor does not give the answer. All in all, this is a struggle, with a slow-moving (technical) platform and an awkward (soft) set up that is not organized in a way that is intuitive to me and doesn't seem to have a clear structured guide as an alternative.

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Coursera expert review by ConsumerAffairs

Dedicated to providing an exemplary education, without the price tag of a traditional college, Coursera partners with some leading universities to offer courses completely free. They push student engagement and faster learning as core values.

  • Peer assessments: Courses are structured to allow assignments to be peer reviewed, giving individuals a better sense of what their works should look like when compared to others in the class.

  • Unbeatable price: The price tag of free makes these online courses valuable sources for information.

  • Plenty of options: More than 400 courses are available.

  • Specialization certifications: By taking multiple courses along a funnel, you can master a skill, turn in a final project and earn a certification.

  • Worldwide education: Classes are available in a variety of languages and across disciplines.

  • Best for: Stay-at-home moms and students on a budget.

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The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

Coursera questions and answers

What problem is Coursera trying to solve?
Coursera is a company on a mission to provide universal access to the world’s best education. Coursera partners with more than 100 of the world’s top universities and education institutions to offer online courses in a wide range of the most current disciplines for anyone to take, for free. More than 10 million learners globally have come to Coursera to gain knowledge and skills from the world’s most respected academic experts and earn Verified Certificates to advance their lives, careers, and communities.
What sets Coursera apart from the competition?
Coursera combines courses from the world’s top universities with interactive video content, peer-to-peer forums, discussions, assessments, and the opportunity to earn Verified Certificates issued by Coursera and the partner university offering the course. This format allows students to learn from the best instructors without the commitment of a full-time degree program. Another critical component is the social interaction among students taking the courses via our Q&A forums, in smaller study groups that have formed organically around the world, and through organized Meetups. We believe students learn best when they interact actively with the material and with each other.
What needs does Coursera fulfill, and how do you fulfill those needs better than your competition?
Coursera aims to expand access to quality education for people everywhere, whether the intent is to enhance their resumes, dive deeper into a subject that’s of interest, or learn something entirely new. On top of world-class content, Coursera’s Verified Certificates offer learners the opportunity to demonstrate their new knowledge to potential employers or academic institutions.

In addition to expanding access to quality education, improving the classroom experience on traditional campuses across the globe is a major goal of Coursera’s. The company is leading new initiatives in “blended learning” to combine online learning with classroom interactions to maximize student outcomes. Blended learning allows students to watch lectures online so valuable classroom time can be spent engaging in discussions with the professor and addressing difficult topics.
How does Coursera measure success?
Learners enroll in Coursera courses for a range of reasons, so we take their goals into account when measuring success. Some people are curious about Astrobiology, for example, so they watch a video or two. Other learners may use Coursera to learn about a specific topic from top professors, as they would with a documentary. Then, there are learners who enroll in a course with every intention to complete it in order to build a new skill and feature their Verified Certificate on their LinkedIn profile or resume. Every time a learner uses Coursera to work towards and fulfill a goal (whether that goal is trying out an unfamiliar field, building a hard skill, or simply watching course videos for the sake of learning), Coursera counts that as success.
What’s the most common misconception consumers have about online education? About Coursera?
Perhaps the biggest misconception surrounding online education is that Coursera is seeking to replace traditional universities and professors with online education. However, at Coursera, we do not expect to be able to replicate the university experience, nor is that our goal. Universities offer a tremendously valuable learning experience on campuses that we recognize cannot be replicated online.

At the same time, we believe online education has the potential to improve on-campus learning by allowing professors more flexibility in their teaching methods. We built Coursera’s platform to support a “blended learning” approach to education, wherein students can view lectures online prior to coming to class, and then use classroom time to pursue more interactive learning exercises and in-depth group discussions.

Moreover, Coursera provides people who may not otherwise have the time or resources to attend a traditional university the opportunity to enhance their skills and learn from some of the best professors in the world. In many cases, an education on Coursera is not replacing a university education, but rather providing an alternative to no higher education.
Has Coursera received any awards or recognition consumers would like to know about?
In April of 2014, Coursera won two Webby awards in the Education category: the first of which was the People’s Voice Award, selected by a popular vote, and the second, the Webby Award, selected by a panel of 1000 renowned and esteemed judges (including Huffington Post founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington, Tumblr founder David Karp, Internet co-creator Vint Cerf, and musician David Bowie.)

In 2012, TechCrunch honored Coursera awarding the company the Crunchies’ Award for “Best Overall Startup” of the year. The Crunchies is a high-profile award that recognizes and celebrates the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year.
How has Coursera grown or evolved?
As the company continues to grow, an increasingly important part of our mission is to provide learners with a new kind of credential for the 21st century through Verified Certificates and Specializations.

Since launching in early 2013, Verified Certificates have become a key tool for learners to build and showcase skills to advance their careers. Of the learners who have earned a Verified Certificate, over 60 percent shared the credentials on their LinkedIn profile. A joint Duke/RTI study found that employers across a range of sectors look favorably upon online courses and accomplishments. Coursera is now one of the most recognized and trusted online destinations for learners looking to acquire and validate knowledge to the world. In fact, Coursera was recognized in fall 2014 by Linkedin as one of the most widely used Certificate Providers on their platform.

In addition, Coursera is increasing its Specializations offerings. A Specialization is a targeted series of courses designed to build high-demand skills and subject matter expertise in fields like data science and business management. Each Specialization offers learners the opportunity to complete a unique final project which connects what they’ve learned to relevant, real-world scenarios.

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