I can understand that employers would more likely consider verified certificates. I understand that we are not entitled for free courses or education, especially when it can help us in our career. However, I feel that they could have gone about this in a better way.
First of all, they currently have two course options: 1) a free option where you get access to the videos, projects, and auto-graded quizzes. 2) a paid option where you get access to the same as the free, projects that are human graded, a real coach, and a verified certificate.
The cost of the paid option? It depends on the course, but it seems to average $150 per month, per course. If you can cram it all into one month, that's not a bad deal, right? But if you're working full time and have other commitments, it could end up taking you much longer.
Do you know how much Coursera charges for a verified certificate? On average, $50. That's it. One time fee. Sure, you don't get the coach or human-graded projects (unless you count peer assessment), but that seems reasonable for them to check your identity for a PDF downloadable certificate.
I think they should have offered a 3rd option, which only gives you the verified certificate part, at a lower fixed cost on par with Coursera. Not everyone needs or wants a personal coach. Not everyone can afford the cost of the full experience, especially if they wish to take more than one course or have limited time. Why should they have to pay for the extras just to get a certificate?
I have no problem with them having the full course option. I think it's wonderful and could definitely help people if they plan to use this for their careers. But it is not in line with the message Udacity started out with, from my opinion.
What are your thoughts? Would you pay for this?