By Lana Sumner-Borema
Following the online-learning style introduced and enforced by COVID-19, the digital age has taken on a new meaning. With many college campuses teaching online throughout the pandemic, online learning now seems to be an equal and at times preferred alternative to the in-class setting. The likeability of online learning has the added benefit of the creation of free courses online to improve credentials in numerous fields from biology to web design. Websites such as Coursera, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor offer free online certifications to help boost knowledge in a specific field, along with boosting resumes.
Tara Marinkovic, a student working on her master's in business administration, claims that these free online courses help students to “better understand what you are learning in school, as they give you more specific knowledge to a topic you are interested in within your field. If you want to learn more about data analytics, for example, you can take a course for a specific topic in data analytics.”
Anja Marinkovic, Tara’s sister who is also attaining a master’s in business administration, adds that a plus side to some of these online sites, such as Coursera, is that they add the courses directly to your LinkedIn account.
“Sites such as Glassdoor and Coursera are connected to LinkedIn, so they automatically send the certification to LinkedIn,” said Anja. “They are free classes that schools [have] recorded, such as Harvard or the University of Michigan. If you want to earn certificates, you have to do certain tests and record the timeline.”
According to Anja and Tara, while each course has a different length of time for completion, they usually require a few hours each week and will be finished within two months. Assignments for these online courses usually consist of small quizzes or tests inbetween recorded lectures.
Tara believes these free online course options are extremely valuable. Through her time working with the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) at Barry as an undergraduate, she had to do two financial analysis classes through this free online format to help improve her knowledge in investing and finance.
“I had to do them, but now I can put them on my resume. It’s a great way to make you stand out of the crowd,” said Tara.
The Buccaneer conducted a survey asking students what their favorite online course platform is. LinkedIn Learning was most popular, with 40 percent of students voting that as their favorite platform.
The appeal of LinkedIn is most likely the ability for the course certificates to get automatically posted on your LinkedIn profile, providing ease to the user. Also, with LinkedIn, users can discover the courses that colleagues in their field are taking and stay up to date in their education.
Harvard Online Courses and Coursera were also a hit, with 20 percent of students voting each of these as their favorite. This is likely because of the credibility of the courses. A course credit from a prestigious source, such as Harvard Online, can make any student stand out in the crowd.
While the online course format will not give students university credits, the knowledge is invaluable because of the compressed format and the ability to gain knowledge in a specific field. Students who are interested in expanding their education could take up the advice of fellow students and try LinkedIn or Harvard Online—it can only help!