Contributor, Benzinga
February 13, 2020

FREE Trial with Benzinga Pro happening right now!

Considering an online course to learn a new subject or advance your knowledge? Give edX and Coursera a try. They both offer free, self-paced learning classes led by professors, subject-matter experts and experienced professionals.

Which is best for you? Let’s take a closer look at all edX and Coursera have to offer and how to choose the most ideal option. 

Best edX and Coursera Courses


Co-founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, edX features online courses, professional certificate programs and master’s degrees. You’ll find more than 2,400 subjects, including computer science, language, math, engineering, business, management, humanities and data science. edX has served over 70 million students.

edX leads classes and higher education programs from 120 leading higher education institutions — Boston University, Georgetown, Arizona State, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and Caltech. 


Learn from some of the top-rated companies and universities in the nation with Coursera. The online learning platform features free courses from Google, IBM, Duke, Illinois, Stanford, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. You can also enroll in a multi-part specialization that requires you to complete courses. Choose from over 3,900 classes and specializations to enhance your knowledge and skill set. 

Interested in a degree or certificate program with affordable tuition? Coursera also features over 20 degrees and 13 professional certificates to boost your academic resume. 

Courses feature self-paced quizzes and hands-on projects to give you a holistic learning experience. You can also test your comprehension to identify areas that need more work and test out your new skills in a simulated setting.  

How to Get Started

Visit edX or Coursera’s homepages and use the search toolbar to find course options. Read the overview to gauge whether the class is a good fit and pay special attention to the requirements. Some courses have prerequisites you should meet before you enroll. 

Found the perfect course? Registration is fast and easy. Simply click on the “Enroll” button and you’ll receive instant access to the course material. 

Consider our recommendations if you haven’t found the right class. 

The Best edX Courses

Here are the most popular edX courses. 

1. Best for Communication: Academic and Business Writing by the University of California Berkeley

  • Who it’s for: Individuals who want to improve their academic and business writing skills 
  • Enrollment fee: Free 

Sharpen your academic and business writing skills with this beginner course from the University of California Berkeley. Facilitator Maggie Sokolik, director of college writing programs, shares tips and strategies to help you write more effectively on several topics and sharpen your editing and written communication skills. You’ll complete short writing assignments, journal entries and essays. You’ll also be required to take quizzes to test your comprehension of the material. 

There’s no cost to enroll. You can upgrade your enrollment and receive a verified certificate for only $49.99. 

2. Best for Business and Management: Effective Decision Making: Dealing with Business Complexity by the Delft University of Technology

  • Who it’s for: Aspiring or current leaders in Engineering 
  • Enrollment fee: Free

This intermediate course is a component of the Leadership Essentials for Engineers Professional Certificate program from the Delft University of Technology. It’s ideal for engineers in leadership roles and those who plan to land a managerial position soon. 

The course sheds light on a systematic approach you can use to make smart business decisions. You’ll also learn how to develop an analytical mindset and analyze situations more effectively to meet goals and aid your company in making steady progress. 

A verified certificate is available for this course for $125. 

3. Best for Computer Science: Computer Science 101 by Stanford Online

  • Who it’s for: Individuals interested in learning the basics of computer science 
  • Enrollment fee: Free 

Offered by Stanford Online, Computer Science 101 is designed for you if you want beginner-level computer science knowledge. It spans 6 weeks and covers the basics of computer and code, computer security and structured data. You’ll also learn how computer hardware and software works, the critical differences between analog and digital technologies, computer science jargon and so much more. 

The class is led by Nick Parlante, senior lecturer in the computer science department at Stanford University. 

You can add a verified certificate for $149. 

The Best Coursera Courses

These are our top picks for Coursera offerings. 

1. Best for Business: Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by the University of Michigan 

  • Who it’s for: Individuals interested in becoming master negotiators
  • Enrollment fee: Free

Interested in becoming a better negotiator in every area of your life? This course is for you. It begins with an in-depth introduction to the class, followed by lessons on preparing your negotiation strategy, using power and psychological skills to boost your chances of success, closing business deals and evaluating your agreement.

Course material is delivered through video lectures, readings and quizzes. Allocate a minimum of 15 hours to complete the course successfully. 

Instructor George Siedel is a Williamson Family Professor of Business Administration and Thurnau Professor of Business Law.

2. Best for Personal Development: Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects by McMaster University, University of California San Diego 

  • Who it’s for: Individuals seeking knowledge to help master difficult subjects 
  • Enrollment fee: Free

This course is for you if you struggle to master complex subjects. It teaches useful memory and learning techniques to help you work through common learning roadblocks. You’ll also discover tips to make procrastination a thing of the past. 

The class is co-facilitated by Terrence Sejnowski, professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at the University of California, and Barbara Oakley, professor of engineering at Oakland University. 

Expect to spend 12 hours working through the course material. 

3. Best for Personal Development: The Science of Well-Being by Yale University

  • Who it’s for: Individuals interested in incorporating wellness activities into their daily routine 
  • Enrollment fee: Free

Unleash your inner happiness and soar your productivity to new heights. Ranked among  Coursera’s list of most popular courses for 2019, the Science of Well-Being delves into problematic features of the mind that alter your thinking and common misconceptions about happiness. You’ll also participate in challenges to help you meet the ultimate goal of being more happy and productive in your everyday life. 

It’s led by Lauri Santos, professor of psychology at Yale University. 

edX vs Coursera: Which Option is Best? 

Still torn between edX and Coursera? Both eLearning platforms feature courses led by knowledgeable and skilled instructors. edX’s classes focus on academics while Coursera’s options are geared toward professional development.

Consider a course from edX if you’re enrolled in college. Its offerings can supplement what you’re learning in the classroom and facilitate your comprehension of complex concepts in certain subjects. 

Coursera is best if you want to develop new skills or acquire more advanced knowledge to excel in the workplace. Coursera’s courses can prepare for a career in a high-demand industry or position yourself for a promotion. 

Ready to start your online learning journey? Give edX or Coursera a try. You can’t go wrong with either online option, and you’ll be glad you made the decision to enroll in one of their stellar courses. 

Interested in another comparison article? Check out Udemy vs. Coursera now for a great comparison of Udemy and Coursera.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community