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Course Hero Review: Big Scam or 100% Legit?

By Craig Brandes: Online Product Researcher

Research Time: 12 hours

Is Course Hero a true academic helper, or is it simply exploiting college students for personal profit? Read on to discover everything there is to know about the student’s favorite “cheat sheet.” The team at Doesitwork shares their findings with you.

About Course Hero

Invented back in 2006 by Professor Andrew Grauer, this educational program was initially made so students could exchange lectures, assignments, and class notes. The program became fully operational in 2008, and it offers access to 7 million uploaded academic documents.


In order to access those documents you have to pay for the Premium Access Membership. You could also upload 40 documents of your own and get access to 300 documents for free in the form of a 1 month membership.

The program has worked fine overall. Students and professors share their documents and data with the academic world with the help of this website. The website earns their commission, and everyone gets to access the needed information.

The Claim

Course Hero promises complete support for student education, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Among its services you will find college courses, live tutors that answer specific questions, flashcards that help with the learning process, and much more.

The aim of the website is to help students get better grades, learn with in-depth explanations, and make sure they study more efficiently. They achieve this goal by letting professors and students contribute to the pool of knowledge.

With so much information floating around, it’s amazing how they keep track of all documents available. What was more surprising to the team of Doesitwork, each document is checked for authenticity.

Does this website really deliver its promise? Read this article to discover what we found after one week of research.

How does Course Hero work?

There are two types of membership, the one you pay for, and the one you get for free. Of course nothing is free so you’ll need to give them something in return. In order to get one month access to their documents, you’ll need to upload 40 documents yourself.

And they all need to be approved by their staff. If you just wish to pay for the service, we discuss the rates below in the article. If you wish to truly make some progress with the online courses provided, you can choose to receive reminders by email.

Since 2012, over 40 courses are available to choose from. They will constantly test you until you master the subject. They are divided into the following categories:

  • Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Web Programming

If you manage to complete 5 or more courses in any category, you get rewards. A chance to work for them or a chance to pitch a business plan to an Angel Investor. They are investors based in San Francisco that could sponsor your ideas.

What can you find on Course Hero?

  • Hundreds of school subjects
  • Study guides, uploaded by different users
  • Practice exams
  • College courses that contain flashcards, quizzes, study guides, among other things.
  • Course lessons submitted by professors, and developed by the CH staff.

The good and the bad

The company responsible for Course Hero has been known for its generous “Books for Africa” program, where they donate books to schools abroad. On the other hand the website’s reputation has been troubled by copyright issues. Some of the college professors have recognized their own programs being sold online for profit and got upset over it.

Usually students that feel reluctant to ask their teacher to clarify the material turn to this program for help. But cheaters use it as a way to cheat as well. After the exam is over students upload the key to the exam on this website.

The Professors will of course find out their exams are sold online, together with the key. This could be seen as a great incentive for educational systems to keep creating new exams and questions. Still, it is illegal to spread those kind of files online, and we all know it.

Costs

This is how the different memberships look like:

  • 1 Year Premier Membership will cost you $119.40
  • 3 Month Package – $59.85
  • 1 Month Subscription – $39.95

There is a completely free option (not really) where you get flashcards and access to a tutor help desk. The tutor will answer any academic question within 3 days, but if you wish to know the answer you’ll have to pay up around $3-$75 per question. Depending if it’s a “basic one”, or an “advanced question”.

The tutor system has proved troublesome to say the least. The tutors don’t seem to answer in a timely manner, and sometimes answers with a question. Sounds rude at first, but if we look at the other side of the coin – sometimes people are unclear when they ask questions.

Here are some tips to ensure a good answer

  • Include specific instructions for your tutor, the more details you provide the better
  • Since you set the price for your question, make sure you’re being fair. Some projects are harder than others. Some great tutors are more expensive than others.
  • Explain your problem in detail.
  • You also have the option to browse popular tutors. After you’re finished don’t forget to rate them. That way you’re helping the person that comes looking for answers after you.

Common questions about Course Hero

  • Is Course Hero free? The only free service you get is the flash cards. If you need to use the tutoring services, you are charged per question. This is why in the Premium membership, people are offered up to $120 worth of tutoring per month.
  • Does it give me answers? Course Hero is a platform absolutely rich with information but it doesn’t come for free. When it comes to the different courses, people are usually satisfied. The tutors vary in terms of quality, they can be quite the hit and miss.
  • Is it cheating and can in get in trouble if I’m caught using the website? There is something called the Honor Code on their official website. It invites everyone to use the materials in order to study more effectively. Students should use the materials in a manner that follows their institution’s academic code.

On the other hand they ask you not to claim other people’s materials as your own, to refrain from stealing ideas, and to be aware of plagiarism tools that could monitor your work.

  • What are the best alternatives and competitors? Among the competitors worth mentioning are Textbooks, ProProfs, and eNotes. They all have good reputation among users. Especially ProProfs, known to be trusted by Sony, Dell, Yale and Harvard University. They’ve also received some positive mentions in Yahoo news.

Consumer Reviews

When it comes to Course Hero, the reviews are painfully conflicted. On one hand you’ve got the overly positive users that are happy with what they’re getting. They seem to think that there are no hidden costs connected to this service.

Everything is stated beforehand, and the users even have the liberty to set their own price for the tutors. Of course, you should expect better results if you’ve paid higher.

On the other hand there are many complaints on the BBB regarding customer dissatisfaction. The users feel they’ve been given too little, some of them never find the answers they were looking for. The tutors tend to miss deadlines, or give ridiculous answers that are not helpful at all.

The biggest issue people have with this website is the automatic renewal of the subscription. If you do not cancel your subscription it will automatically renew for as long as it used to be. Some people pay for a year, forget to cancel and get charged for another one.

Their Customer Support is not favored among users.

What we like

  • Finally the academic helper that the students have been waiting for. The material is well organized and available to use for Premium members
  • The website is quite popular among students
  • It is filled with useful information
  • Gives you the opportunity to finish academic courses from the comfort of your home
  • Offers the opportunity to hire a tutor

What we don’t like

  • The price for a 1 year membership is not student friendly
  • The website has been connected with copyright infringements
  • The data available on the website has been misused in the past as a “cheat sheet.”
  • College Professors despise the fact that someone else profits off of their effort.

Does Course Hero work?

It was super difficult to decide if this website really works. Some people find it quite useful and user friendly. Others say it’s unreliable to say the least. People have had bad experiences throughout the years, but we can’t really blame Course Hero, to be quite fair.

They offer you a service and charge you for it according to the package you choose. If you wish to stop paying you need to cancel the subscription, it’s how things work almost anywhere.

Some people are not happy with how the tutors work and we understand this issue as well. Not all tutors will be the professionals they claim to be. That is why they have the rating system. You wouldn’t hire a tutor with a 1 star rating, or would you?

The biggest issue we detected is people going on the website hoping to get information, but end up being charged for a subscription. Some people hope to get the document for free, but as soon as you open it, you are charged.

Our final verdict is – Course Hero is definitely useful but it needs to be a bit clearer with their terms of use.


1 Customer Review

  1. Mel November 16, 2017

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