General opinions about Coursera Specializations / NYIAD?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Acolyte, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    I recently took an "Introduction to UX Desgin" course offered by Georgia Tech on Coursera and it was interesting. My company paid the $49 for me to actually get the certificate (So I took the graded quizzes) - currently my employer is encouraging people to find affordable training to expand their own skills and I was looking at the CalArts UX Design and Graphic Design "specialization" courses that are a "set" of 4-5 courses - they say you can complete them in about 4 months and I thought about purchasing a year membership to Coursera to complete either one or both of them (the classes are included in that) :-O - A year is like $399 but I found a $100 off coupon, making it $299. That is a pretty cheap offering. Now, I do NOT expect these certs to take the place of a graduate certificate program or an actual degree in UX or Graphic Design or even an Associate degree program, but for someone like me that "designs" as part of my job everyday, they seem like a rather inexpensive way to get some further training in certain areas.

    My question is, how do people actually feel about these certificates? Are they really seen as added value to one's resume/CV or do they look like you were trying to avoid a "real program" of sorts? I had also looked at things like the NYIAD (New York Institute of Art and Design) graphic design or UX design course which is about $1400 and takes the better part of a year to complete.

    I already have a BA and a Master's degree, but most of the work I do everyday is graphics and animation - I often find myself wishing I had some grounding in these areas, but I'm not sure where the best value is not only in the program itself, but how it would be perceived on a resume / CV. Any thoughts?
  2. MK1980

    MK1980 New Member

    My view on certificates is very positive, assuming the goal is to acquire / expand knowledge. So the value of the certificate is acquiring knowledge and being skilled in what is being taught. In your case, it helps you be better at UX design.

    In terms of the value of the certification / paper itself, my opinion is it serves no value on a resume/CV compared to a degree.
    Acolyte likes this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Sometimes I have the same question about how valuable these certificates are. I have access to all the Specialization and Professional certificates in Coursera for FREE under one of the Veteran programs. I would like it helps to enhance my knowledge and skills; I am doing Data Science, AI, and Software Development at the movement. However, based on my current credentials, these certificates would add little to no value. So, I would say it depends on the individual's current career milestone and credentials.
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  4. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

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  5. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    As long as you don't expect the exact same recognition as you'd get from an actual degree in graphic design (or whatever), I think Coursera certificates and specializations can be a good deal. They could look good on a resume, in the continuing education section.

    FWIW, the "time to completion" is usually vastly over-estimated. Many of the "3-6 month" certificates can be completed in 1-2 months.

    I would either stick to well-known names or take the course(s) as part of Coursera Plus. I probably wouldn't pay for them individually.
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  6. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

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  7. SweetSecret

    SweetSecret Active Member

    I don't know about the specializations, but I can tell you that I was contacted by the Grameen Foundation recently about a job, and I am 100% sure they would not have contacted me if I had not taken certain courses on Coursera and EdX. Based on that, I do not think one needs to complete a specialization program necessarily to have it be a boost to the résumé. With that said, based on what you are interested in, you might want to check out They have some advanced topics related to graphics that I do not see on the othe MOOC sites.
  8. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    There is value added of reskilling and continuous development.
    It's not just Cursera or Edx name on it.
    It's MIT, Harvard, Stanford and other name recognized providers.
    Didn't Google announced in 2020 that they will accept Google certificates for position that require a degree?
    I use both Coursera and Edx in addition to other providers.

    News Apr 2021
    Google Career Certificates will be accepted by the tech giant in lieu of a four-year degree.
    Google IT support Professional certificate was evaluated as equivalent to 12 credits in IT.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022
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  9. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    Well, I signed up for a year of Coursera Plus - I used the $100 coupon, and then paid the rest with a credit card that gives me 5% back, so including tax it's right around that $300 mark. I've enrolled in both the CalArts graphic design and UX/UI courses. One thing that I did not quite realize before signing up is that the assignments are peer reviewed ONLY and there is no input from the course creators at all. That kind of bums me out a bit. (what did I expect at this price, though, right?) I'm sure I will get some value out of the courses as the video lecture content already seems high quality, but we'll see how well the actual project work goes...
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  10. SweetSecret

    SweetSecret Active Member

    Yes, although, I think the professors actually do sometimes see the work. I completed a certificate for a course once and the assignments were peer reviewed. It was interesting because a lot of the students did not like the assignment I did, however the professor was so impressed with it that she reached out to me and offered to help get it published. At the time I didn't take her up on it, which I probably should have. I do know that the attorney general's office of the state I live in decided to use it for training though. Of course, whether or not the assignments are looked at might depend on the professor in charge of the class. That was also probably circa 2013-15 so things could have definitely changed since then.
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  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I never liked peer reviewed, 100% bias. Pretty much the same reason most people got kicked out of Marine Corps' Officer Candidate School. You have to rate the top 3 and the lower 3; sometimes you have no choice.
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  12. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    Yes, peer-reviewed always seemed like a cop out. In college I thought I was PAYING for someone further up the experience ladder to evaluate my work - however, in grad school it wasn't so bad, I got a lot more useful feedback in grad school from "peers" because they truly were more like my peers. I didn't go to college until my 30's, so in undergrad having a 19 year old "peer" evaluate my work when I was a 35 year old with almost 15 years of corporate work experience was kind of ridiculous. :)

    That said, I have not submitted any project work yet - I am coming to the end of the first "week" of study in both courses (based on their timeline) and the first project is about to be assigned. I've passed a couple of quizzes - and I want to say this - the video/lecture content is VERY VERY VERY good for these courses. Even the accompanying graphics (kind of like an animated power point - which are simplistic) are still conceptually VERY good. I am really impressed with the content so far. As someone who has written, shot, edited, and directed a lot of instructional videos in my career, I feel that this content is quite good. I also feel like the UX/UI course has already gone deeper than the entire UX/UI course I already took from Georgia Tech, lol. Maybe it's because it's approaching things from a design/function perspective rather than a problem/solution perspective - not that it isn't focusing on problem/solution - but it is relating that back to narrative/hierarchical task structure rather fluidly.

    Anyway, I'm impressed with the content and the presentation so far. I'll continue to post here about my experiences if anyone is interested.
  13. SweetSecret

    SweetSecret Active Member

    I totally agree with this. I despise peer review as well. It's one of the primary reasons I disliked one of the schools that is often discussed on this forum and the sister forum. There's nothing more maddening in school then peer reviews with the second issue being group projects. In both instances are seems to always be people who do not understand what is going on and the others suffer for it. Having a formal professor do the grading helps to raise people up from the bottom without pulling people at the top down.
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