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How to find interesting Coursera courses

I take a LOT of Coursera courses.

And I LOVE LEARNING so finding interesting Coursera courses and discovering and sharing these hidden gems is one of the perks of the job. There are so many cool courses, but before I joined, I honestly thought Coursera only had a few hundred courses.

As of this writing, we have nearly 3,000. However, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you might get overwhelmed.

Decide how you’re going to study

I’m usually going through two courses at once.

One is a technical course which requires me to be on my laptop and fully concentrating on it, like Deep Learning or Data Structures and Algorithms. It’s hard to code on mobile, or if I’m doing anything else. Looking for a course like this is really focused on what skill do I want to pick up and what do I want to be able to do. Is the assignment going to achieve that goal?

Fun courses need to be mobile friendly

I usually have a second course running in parallel. These are my “just for fun” courses.

A good portion of our learners access Coursera through a mobile device, so I use the app to download the courses beforehand. I’ve completed quite a few courses just on my phone running on the treadmill or commuting.

These courses have different requirements for me since I’m consuming it on my phone.

It’s usually:

  1. Less technical (in terms of programming) because I like to take notes and code alongside the instructor
  2. Lots of videos in a row that don’t require me to be looking at the screen
  3. Engaging instructor who also remembers to explain any images that pop up on the screen

Also, it’s helpful to glance at the Course Description Page (learn/<course-slug>), specifically the “Syllabus” section. If a course has a lot of readings or the “Video-reading-quiz-video-reading-quiz” structure, I skip over it for this category. It just won’t work if I’m driving.

Here are some great courses that fit this “podcast-y” type:

Introduction to American Law by Penn

Edinburgh’s entire Philosophy series:

Introduction to PhilosophyPhilosophy and the Cognitive Sciences, Philosophy and the Physical Sciences

I haven’t look at their Intellectual Integrity series yet, but I’m also excited about that!

Stanford’s Introduction to Food and Health – short, but fun! An easy introduction to basic nutrition.

Audit Audit Audit

Also, audit the first week! You’ll know a few videos in and just by looking at the assignment (which you can do for free) whether it’s going to be worth your time and help you actually achieve your goals.

99.95% of courses have this audit option. However, sometimes the button moves around, so use the Coursera Learner Help Center to find it.

Final tip for finding interesting Coursera courses

For my “fun” courses, I put random words into the search on Coursera and see what comes up. That’s how I decided to take a course on American Law (very useful right after I got my U.S. Citizenship!)

Fun fact: if you type “Led Zeppelin” into the search bar a course on “Understanding 9/11” is one of the top results. Would have NEVER known that course existed otherwise.



Most of all, I hope this helps you discover some interesting Coursera courses! What are your favorite courses? What hidden gems have you discovered?

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