Guide to choose Online Courses & Course provider [2018]

Online courses are, without a doubt, provides a great opportunity to learn anything, anywhere & anytime. There are plenty of course providers like Udemy, edX, Coursera, Udacity, Linux Foundation, FutureLearn, Skillshare, etc… As the number of these provider grow, so is confusion on which one to choose, here is a simple guide on how to choose online courses.

It is not feasible for everyone to join a top university like Harvard, MIT, IIT’s, Stanford etc. in terms of both economically & physically. Online courses make it possible. Quality courses to everyone at fraction of the actual cost with certification.

How to choose a course provider ?

Most of the online course providers can be categorized into three different types.

  1. By Universities or organizations on platforms like NPTEL, edX, Coursera, Udacity & FutureLearn by Harvard, MIT, Stanford University, Michigan university, IIT’s, IIM’s and organizations like Facebook, Google & Microsoft.
  2. By training companies or individual trainers on platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Plural insight, Masterclass etc…
  3. By training companies like intellipaat, simplilearn, edureka, TreeHousee tc..

Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn:

Whereas courses on edX, Coursera, FutureLearn are developed by various universities like Harvard, Stanford and Big corporate giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

These courses are delivered by university professors, who usually teaches in-depth basics to build a solid foundation towards research & development and less of job oriented. Course contains recorded video tutorials to watch & learn at your speed.

Though most of the course material is free to access, you are asked to pay some fee to gain access to exercises, practice quizzes & for certifications; Paid Students are given access to discussion forum to discussion with other students.

Across the globe many companies started recognizing these certifications. You can add these certifications in your LinkedIn  profile as well.

Few universities are accepting these courses are part of their regular college courses for credits as well. Ex: American Public university gives credits to students who takes the below coursera or Udacity courses.

university accepts MOOC courses for credits

<h2Udemy, Skillshare, Plural insight, Masterclass:

Trainers on these websites are individuals who mastered a skill or an art, providing lessons on how they mastered it & how you can apply the same tips, techniques.

Udemy is one of the oldest of these, providing lot of quality courses at really low-cost. Cost that is less than a meal, no matter which part of the world you are from these courses are affordable !!

These courses are more of getting you ready for the job. Making you from beginners to Advanced what you need to know, understand & teach & start working, nothing more.

These providers will have forums where learners can post a doubts/queries to trainers and to discuss among themselves. You will not have immediate access to trainer.

Courses contains pre-recorded video lectures/tutorials to learn at your own pace & convenient time.

intellipaat, simplilearn, edureka:

These are privately owned organizations/companies, who choose few trainers and offer courses. They offer both LIVE classes & self-paced courses.

Courses are little expensive compared to other course providers but few of them organizations provide Job guarantee, virtual lab access, 24×7 support, lot of mock interview practice sessions etc..

Most of the courses offered by these organisations are completely job oriented programs, which helps you get a job quicker, perform better at your current job.

Live Vs Recorded (Self-Paced ) Courses:

Great advantage with most of the online courses (Self-paced) is opportunity to learn anywhere & any time. The main disadvantage is lack of immediate access to instructor/trainer to get your doubts clarified. This can be surmounted by joining LIVE training courses, where instructor teaches courses live, you can immediately ask a doubt.

With self-paced courses there is always a chance of procrastination to learn but this is not possible with LIVE courses.  LIVE courses pushes you to take courses on time every session as per the planned scheduled time, helps you stick to your learning goals.

How do you choose a course ?

Assuming you have chosen one of the course provider with the information above. Now lets look into how to identify a suitable course for you.

Course Contents/Syllabus

The first thing you need to look at is what are the topics covered in that particular course. Course description & table of contents give you complete idea of what is going to be covered.

Ratings & Reviews

Ratings are something we always looks for while purchasing something online, online courses are no exception. But how reliable are these ratings ??

I request you to choose online courses with more numbers enrollment and ratings. Also read couple of reviews of previous students. This give you a lot of information.

Quality (Money back Guarantee )/Trial periods

Next thing you need to check is if the course provider offers any trial period or money back guarantee !! This is extremely important because if the course doesn’t add any value to you, you can ask for refund !!

  • Udemy offers 30-day money back guarantee ! No matter the reason
  • Coursera offers 7-day free trial
  • SkillShare offers 30-day free trial
  • TreeHouse offers 14-day trail period.

Some other course providers offer partial payment back. You can check it while enrolling !!

Cost: Free Vs Paid courses

With so many FREE courses available, why should someone join a PAID course?

Free courses are usually mainly targeted for beginners, who would like to know what is this topic is all about. With free courses,  students would not have access to quizzes, assignments, discussion forums or any other technical support.

Free Courses do not help intermediate or Advanced learners who knows basics of the topic & looking to go next level. You might find few new concepts, they are not really worth your time.

So if you are a beginner go for FREE courses else go for PAID courses.

Certification Vs No certification

On your resume, certification conveys a little more information than your knowledge.

Certification not only indicates about new skills you learned, it also tells your commitment I  completing a course in-time i.e. sticking to the course deadlines to complete assignments for the entire course duration & getting enough marks to get a grade or certification.

Mere joining a course and going through course material is not enough to master a skill or to crack an interview. I always recommend you to go for certification. Most of these are really low-cost.

Things to Remember:

Finally, please keep these two points in mind before you commit to a course.

Time Vs Money :

It is not money that you would lose, you will lose time if the course is not opt for you. If you are in Intermediate or Advanced stage learner, joining FREE courses might result in losing your valuable time. Time wise be-wise.

Do NOT join same course across multiple platforms. It would only waste your time.

You need a Mentor :

Every champion or every great leader had a mentor at some point of time in their life. Mentor-ship speeds up your learning, helps you in making fewer mistakes, keeps you stay focused & on your track. Learning on your own is also a good way, but that takes a lot of time.

Video tutorial on Tips to choose online courses

if we miss any points please feel free to drop a comment below.

Hope this guide helps you !

101 Free Online Courses with Certificates in 2018 [Top Rated]

We have selected 101 FREE online courses with certificates to learn in 2018. These are all top rated courses from Udemy, Coursera, edX & other course providers. Though Coursera & edX charges for certification, course material is absolutely free for all.

Does Online certification by Udemy, edX or Coursera has any significance or value ?

Yes, Certification is extremely helpful when you are applying for jobs & higher education.

Getting certified either online or offline involves going through course material, tutorials, quizzes and submitting assignments in time. Completing assignments & getting them verified to meet the pass criteria is an indication of your level of learning.

This also shows your willingness to learn new things and commitment to complete the courses though there are no academic grades here.

When it comes to the case of job interviews, certification gets you a good impression in the eyes of interviewer. If they have to choose one among two equally qualifies candidates, one with certification and other candidate without any certification, there is a high chance that the person with certification get priority.

Merely enrolling a course and reviewing the course contents is not enough. It doesn’t really indicate anything.

Improve English & Communication Skills

Communication skills plays an crucial role in understanding & presenting your views. No matter how good you are, there is always room for improving communication skills.

These courses helps you in improving your oral, written (including grammar), business English.

English for Career Development | Coursera

Business Communication

English Composition

English Composition: Research and Writing

Public Speaking

How to Write an Essay

English Grammar and Style

Learn English: Intermediate Grammar Specialization

Academic English: Writing | Coursera

Interview Tips & Getting hired

Having sound technical knowledge is only one part of securing a good job. Presenting your skills in the resume, presenting yourself in front of interview panel is another you should focus while you are looking for jobs. Below courses helps in this part.

How To Land the Job You Want (Capstone Project) | Coursera

Job Success: Get Hired or Promoted in 3 Steps | Coursera

How to Write a Resume (Project-Centered Course) | Coursera

Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters | Coursera

Job Interview Skills Training Course

SEO Your Resume: Bypass HR with Keyword Optimization

Bit Coin & Cryptocurrencies

Of late, Cryptocurrency is trending everywhere. Block Chain is the technology that is behind Cryptocurrencies, making them more secure and error free.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies | Coursera

IBM Blockchain Foundation for Developers

Programming

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) | Coursera

Python for Beginners with Examples | Udemy

Java Programming Basics | Udemy

Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners | Udemy

Introduction To Python Programming | Udemy

C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners | Udemy

Quickstart AngularJS 

Java Multithreading | Udemy

Learn Angular 4 from Scratch | Udemy

Python for Beginners with Examples | Udemy

Javascript Essentials | Udemy

Git Started with GitHub | Udemy

Eclipse IDE for Beginners: Increase Your Java Productivity

Selenium WebDriver Training with Java Basics | Udemy

R Programming | Coursera

Web development

Web Design for Web Developers: Build Beautiful Websites!

Web Development By Doing: HTML / CSS From Scratch

Build Your First Website in 1 Week with HTML5 and CSS3

Learn Responsive Web Development from Scratch

Beginner Photoshop to HTML5 and CSS3

HTML and CSS for Beginners – Build a Website & Launch ONLINE

Bootstrap 4 Quick Start: Code Modern Responsive Websites

How To Create A Website using WordPress (Step by Step)

App Development

Become an Android Developer from Scratch

App Design and Development for iOS | Coursera

Game Development

Code Your First Game: Arcade Classic in JavaScript on Canvas

Game Development Crash Course w/Corona SDK: You Can Do It!

Database Design & Management

Introduction to MongoDB | Coursera

MongoDB Essentials – Understand the Basics of MongoDB

Querying Data with Transact-SQL

Big Data & Machine Learning

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) | Coursera

Machine Learning | Coursera

Neural Networks and Deep Learning

Want to be a Data Scientist? | Udemy

R Basics – R Programming Language Introduction

Hadoop Starter Kit | Udemy

Deep Learning Prerequisites: The Numpy Stack in Python

Improving Deep Neural Networks: Hyperparameter tuning, Regularization and Optimization | Coursera

Introduction to Probability and Data | Coursera

Principles of Machine Learning

Deep Learning Explained

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Digital Marketing

Writing in the Sciences | Coursera

Digital Marketing Specialization

Secret Sauce of Great Writing | Udemy

HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification Course

What Is SEO? Learn SEO Basics & Optimize Your Website

AdWords 101: The Beginner’s Guide to AdWords | Udemy

SEO Training Course by Moz | Udemy

SEO Tutorial for Beginners | Udemy

HubSpot Academy Email Marketing Certification Course

Hashtag Traffic Generation – Hashtag Marketing

Online Marketing Strategies

Entrepreneurship & Business Management

How to Start Your Own Business Specialization

Startup Entrepreneurship Specialization

Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Thinking & Action | Coursera

How to Validate your Startup Idea | Coursera

Introduction to Project Management | Udemy

Operations Management | Udemy

Build an Online Business

Make Money:The Complete Shopify Aliexpress Dropship course

Stock Market Investing for Beginners | Udemy

Make Money from Home: How to Build an Online Business

Work From Home: The Amazon FBA MasterPlan

How To Start Dropshipping With Shopify & Aliexpress

How to Start an Amazon to eBay Dropshipping Home Business

Cloud Computing

Introduction to Cloud Computing | Udemy

AWS Concepts | Udemy

AWS Essentials | Udemy

Computer Networking

Cisco Networking Basics Specialization

Windows Server 2012 Administration for Beginners

Free CCNA Security 210-260 Course: All About VPNs

MS Excel

Excel Skills for Business | Coursera

Useful Excel for Beginners | Udemy

Excel Dashboards in an Hour | Udemy

Graphic Design

Photoshop for Web Design Beginners | Udemy

Useful Tricks & Tips in Adobe Illustrator

Photography & Other hobbies

Introduction To Fluid Art | Udemy

Introductory Photography Course | Udemy

Photography: Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual

Internet of Things (IOT)

Unpacking the Internet of Things (IoT) | Udemy

Developing IoT Solutions with Azure IoT

Test Preparation

TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide

IELTS Academic Test Preparation

We have tried to cover every area/subject, if you need some more free courses, please let us know in the comment section.

Hope these free online courses with certificates benefits you in upgrading your skill, knowledge and intern results in getting a job, promotion or admission in good universities.

9 weird online courses you must check out!! 

Online courses are designed in such a way that their knowledge sharing is profitable, desirable, significant, relevant, and meritorious to students. But there are courses online which, though have significance, are surprising and weird. They are subjects which you would not have even thought of getting trained on. Now check these weird online courses

  1. Antiquities trafficking and Art Crime: The University of Glasgow has developed this course and is available free online. You will learn the social, political, and moral issues associated with the trafficking of antiques and what is the idea and criminological aspect behind the crime. The tutor is none other than Donna Yates, an Archaeologist in criminology.

Link: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/art-crime

  1. Why We Post-The Anthropology of Social Media: Social media is the talk of the century, but ever thought what their impacts are and why do we post on social media. Find out the same in this free online course, which basically teaches you on the various uses and its consequences of social media. Duration of the course is five weeks and is developed by UCL.

Link: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/anthropology-social-media

  1. Babies in Mind- Why the Parent’s Mind Matters: This free online course designed by the University of Warwick, and taught by Jane Barlow- Director of Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing Unit, and Dawn Cannon- Course Director for Infant Mental Health Online is based on why and what are the influence of parent’s thoughts and minds during pregnancy, on the unborn baby. The course elaborates the concepts of the psychology related to the infant and how parents influence that.

Link: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/babies-in-mind

  1. Lottery of Birth: Study as to where, when, and to whom you were born has affected or can affect the course of your life. How you are being born at a particular time, place, location. Society, community, gender and nation can influence your life? The duration of the course is four weeks and is developed by the Open University UK.

Link: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/lottery-of-birth

  1. Death: The philosophy of the truth of life- Death is being transformed into a free online course by Yale University and is very fascinatingly presented by Professor Shelly Kagan. He, in a very philosophical manner, takes the twice a week, 50 minute class and throws light on subjects like immortality, attitudes towards death, death and evil and much more.

Link: http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-176

  1. Music as Biology: Created by the Duke University with Daul Purves this free online course defines in detail how sound, its tone can trigger human emotions? Which tone sets the positive emotions and which are the causes of mind diverting in the not so positive frame? How the mechanics of sound get correlated with the biological sensory stimulus? The perception of sound and its tonalities are discussed in this course and explanations on why we like certain scales and not others? The effect of socioeconomic cultures of music and human emotions are described in the course.

Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/music-as-biology

  1. Terrorism and Counterterrorism: The twenty-two weeks-long free online course is developed by the Georgetown University and is being created by Jonathan Brown and Daniel Byman. It primarily explores the differentiation of defining terrorism, different philosophies followed by terrorist groups like – Al Qaeda, the ISIS, the Hamas and much The course allows takes you through the technology used by the terrorist, their recruitment process, and how counterterrorism under the rule of law is undertaken.

Link: https://www.edx.org/course/terrorism-counterterrorism-georgetownx-guix-501-03x

  1. Understanding the Origins of Crime: The course deals with the selection of crime as a profession or by chance or may a natural process, by an individual. It discusses the reason as to how criminals take crime as a natural selection? It deals with the process of this selection and what is the behavior of the criminal and how you can predict that. The four-week long course is developed by the Griffith University with Aaron Sell and is available as a free online course.

Link: https://www.open2study.com/courses/understanding-the-origins-of-crime

  1. Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data: This astoundingly weird course is designed by the University of Washington and has Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West as the instructors. The objective of the course is to recognize bullshit and deactivate it. The basis that the world is full of bullshit and you must be armed accordingly to fight them back. You must be in a position to figure out what kind of bullshit you are encountering and why the same is bullshit. Once done, you must frame a satisfactory explanation to counter it.

Link:  http://callingbullshit.org/

The need of all these online courses can only be justified when the benefits are reaped by the students. Nevertheless, everything has a flip side to it and its utility can only decide the significance. Any course taken with a target, a positive attitude and learned properly will surely provide dividends.