People in technology industries, whether it’s software engineering, database management, or app development, are familiar with learning through googling. What we don’t like to publicize is how tedious, time-consuming, and difficult that process is. There’s a reason online courses like Circuit Stream or Coursera are offered: it’s far easier (and enjoyable!) to learn information you don’t have to go searching for. Coursera and Circuit Stream both help you here; but which is best?
Let’s find out.
Coursera offers programs in a wide variety of topics, but we’ll be focusing on their two virtual reality courses: Unity XR and Virtual Reality Specialization. In objectively comparing these virtual reality courses to ours, we’ll outline where each educator excels and fails.
Coursera works as a subscription service. Each month you pay to access to learning materials. The faster you learn, the shorter your subscription. Courses listed have estimated completion times, but if you’re a fast learner, you can finish the programs early. However, if you’re a slow learner, you may get the short end of the stick.
These programs use video tutorials and guides to teach you virtual reality development. These can quickly become out-of-date with how quickly technology and the VR industry changes. Further, there’s no guidance or help should you get stuck on a concept. The longer you take to learn and process the information, the more money Coursera makes in their subscription.
Circuit Stream offers both augmented reality and virtual reality development with Unity in a single 10-week course. Students attend two classes each week held live online with instructors from the VR industry. The course is taught live by real people, meaning feedback and answers are given immediately; there’s no time-consuming googling or trial and error.
In addition to two weekly classes, students have one-on-one sessions with instructors to work on their individual projects. Dedicated time means dedicated development on your project, not just class assignments.
VR Course Comparison
Coursera’s two virtual reality programs are unique in and of themselves. Unity XR: How to Build AR and VR Apps is offered direct through Unity with Coursera acting as the intermediary. The estimated length of the program is three months part-time. This program includes three courses that cover mixed reality foundations, VR mobile app development, and AR mobile app development. Over the three courses, you’ll develop a product brief that plans further development of your idea.
The second program is Virtual Reality Specialization certificate, offered through the University of London. The suggested length of the program is six months part-time. This program includes five courses that give you an introduction to VR, manipulating 3D models and interactions, building social VR, and developing a VR game prototype. This course is specifically emphasizes VR game development over any other type of application. By the end of the program, you’ll have a prototype of your game.
Circuit Stream’s 10-week course has no prerequisites, and introduces students to the basics of C# programming, development with Unity, and the steps involved to develop for VR and AR. Though instructors follow a syllabus, they customize examples and course materials to be relevant to what students want to develop. Because the course is project-based, there’s no emphasis on VR game development; we teach you how to build the application you want to build.
|Circuit Stream||Unity XR||VR Specialization|
|Course length||10 weeks||3 months||6 months|
|Time commitment||4 hours/week||6 hours/week||5 hours/week|
|Tuition||$2,500 USD (inclusive)||$230 USD (3 month subscription)||$285 USD (6 month subscription)|
|Open to beginners||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Introduction to C# programming||Yes||Yes||No|
|Covers VR app development from beginning to end||Yes||No||No|
|Final project for portfolio||Yes||No||Yes|
|Instructor engagement with students||Yes||No||No|
|Courses up-to-date with technology||Yes||No||No|
|Instruction in variety of VR/AR devices||Yes||Yes||No|
The Bottom Line
Coursera’s VR courses have no customization, interaction with instructors, and leave students with no guidance when problems arise. At the end of the programs, you’ll have knowledge under your belt but no prototype to show for it. Further, you risk paying for outdated materials due to the programs’ reliance on video tutorials.
With no instructor, you may find it difficult to stay motivated in working through the course material. Fast learners can keep their costs low by limiting the length of their subscriptions, but if you have difficulties with the content, get stuck, or lost motivation, your subscription length and cost goes up. However, if you’re confident in your abilities to understand virtual reality development material on your own, then consider Coursera.
Circuit Stream prioritizes engagement with students and ensuring you understand the material you’ve paid for. The length of the course is significantly less, and you’ll have a working VR or AR prototype to include in your portfolio. We continually update the course with industry trends, customize it to best fit our students’ goals, and work with you each week to keep you on track in development. We are accountable to you for your success.
Coursera’s priority is access to information while ours is your understanding of that information. Which will better support achieving your virtual reality development goals?
If you’d like to learn more about Circuit Stream’s AR and VR courses, download our syllabus below or get in touch with us here.