I would EAGERLY surrender my soul to be a beta tester here... (I Coursera) As for motivations [based on the insights scattered throughout this post], I get the impression that for most users, the certificates are more of a side-perk, and the real value lays in:
That sounds like an ideal position to be in [as a learner]. Having said that, [for those who believe certs shouldn’t matter] consider that scarcity is an increasing reality for many people across the globe. Access to the corresponding certificates is a great way for some learners to gain credibility, recognition, and stability as they endeavour to do their part in adding value [via feedback and fresh ideas].
For context, recognize that in many ‘scarcity environments’, the reaction from family towards learning can often be “stop wasting your time!” (because no immediate direct benefit is being generated for them). Such attitudes make it more difficult for under-privileged/vulnerable learners to defend their efforts where lack of support [or outright resistance] from their ‘support network’ limits their freedom and access to growth opportunities. Financial Aid CAN help, but this group may also feel undeserving or afraid to accept such charitable support [due to pressures stemming from culturally accepted norms related to pride/shame]. Thus, allowing learners to retain a ‘beta-certificate’ for their efforts can provide some of them with an increased sense of value, self-worth, confidence, and independence as they attempt to ‘earn’ their charity and work towards freedom.
Individuals who already have access to feelings of success, liberty, support, and/or stability may be less inclined to value certificates because their climate allows for them to pursue their interests with less impediments, thus they are in a position to enjoy these experiences with a greater sense of purity. Overall though, offering beta certs provides Coursera & content creators access to a more diverse pool of candidates for testing purposes, so I think it’s a good thing. Anyway… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
QUESTION: [based on the feedback I read above] From an outsider’s perspective, missing quizzes/lectures and ‘auto-passing’ strike me as curiously counter-productive for effectively evaluating a course; is that a norm? Is there a strategic value or purpose to this approach? - Thomas
Also, P.S. @hamster ‘s creative idea to include the experience as ‘QA testing’ on your CV/Résumé is an awesome application, very clever!
From my experience I don’t think I have been in a beta where you auto-pass the assignments. With that said I usually only beta math/programming/ai courses so maybe it is different with some of the humanities courses or something.
As for missing lectures/quizzes. I suspect that it just depends on how close the course is to completion. Maybe for some courses we beta when they are months away from being finished while others we beta are more or less finished and are awaiting a rubber stamp.
Basically I don’t think it makes any sense for coursera to hide material from us when we beta; so if the material is not there chances are it is not ready yet.
Anyway, best of luck with your application Thomas. :-)
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