This was the first course I took on the Coursera platform, in July 2012.
Professor Kaul’s Finance course was challenging. It involved some difficult math at times, but the challenge became part of the fun when it was overcome. I actually learned the concepts behind financial concepts by spending time each night doing difficult homework problems, getting them wrong, and then figuring out what I did that was wrong. That might not be fun for everyone, and certainly the coursera forums seemed to have enough people admitting defeat (quitting) because of the difficulty. But there were also lots of people offering their help and explaining concepts to other students. The forums were integral to the success of this course.
It did seem that, on one or two occasions, Professor Kaul did not clearly explain a financial concept in a straight-forward manner. That’s not a criticism of him or the course, just that I found myself wondering why he didn’t explain things in the same way I would. But here’s the thing: he’s a University Professor of Finance, and I’m struggling to calculate the value of a simple mortgage part-way through it’s term. So it’s probably not as simple as I think it is. He’s gets the benefit of the doubt on those.
Even if Finance is not really your career or your future, it is probably helpful to know how mortgages work, when its a good idea to refinance and when it’s NOT a good idea to refinance, and understand key concepts such as the present value of money. These are things that help you make real life decisions. You don’t have to be a stock trader to want to know how much a lifetime of annual future payments is worth in today’s dollars.