Chegg: Unique Online Learning
PC Magazine|August 2021
Chegg is an online learning service and app that offers students help in a few ways.
JILL DUFFY

First, it sells and rents out textbooks, used and new. Second, it has subscription services for helping students with math, homework, and writing. Third, it offers a flashcard app, which is free. Finally, it lists internships and scholarships and has a section on financial advice aligned with students’ needs.

Chegg

PROS

Variety of services for students. Very good for solving math equations.

CONS

Pricey for subscription content. Strict device limitations lead paying users to being locked out of accounts easily. Book prices aren’t always competitive. Services are disparate rather than neatly unified.

BOTTOM LINE

Chegg is a compendium of online services for students, from textbook rentals to help solving math equations. Some of the services are quite valuable, but the subscription price is high for students.

The services feel disparate and fractured rather than unified under Chegg, in part because some are available only via the website, and some have their own mobile apps. Even so, a few of the services are uniquely useful, particularly those focused on math. The paid services are priced high for the student market, and a strict two-device limit for paying customers seems excessive.

Among apps for student learning, Khan Academy is an Editors’ Choice winner, though it doesn’t offer the same kind of individual help for specific problems that Chegg does. For flashcard apps, we like Quizlet more than Chegg: It’s easier to use and has great multi-language support, meaning you can use it to study in tandem with a language-learning program. For help with writing, Grammarly is a wonderfully useful tool, especially for writers whose native language isn’t English, although—like Chegg—it’s expensive for the student market.

GETTING STARTED WITH CHEGG

When signing up for a free Chegg account, you have to indicate that you’re a student or educator; and if you’re a student, your level (high school or college) and additional details, such as which college or university you attend and your year. As far as we could tell in testing, no one verifies this information. You don’t need an email address to sign up, for example; you can use any old email and password or authenticate with Apple, Google, or Facebook.

Inside the site are several sections: Books, Study, Writing, Flashcards, Math Solver, Internships, Scholarships, and Money. (Chegg’s tutoring marketplace is being phased out this year.)

It would be remiss not to mention Chegg’s ethical quandaries. Is it considered cheating to pay Chegg or other similar services to get answers to questions found in textbooks? You can always make the case that whether a student is cheating comes down to how the student uses the information they obtain. If they’re paying for answers and passing them along as their own work, that’s cheating. If they’re using Chegg to understand how to arrive at answers, which is part of what Chegg provides, then it can be a fruitful exercise with positive learning outcomes.

CHEGG APPS AND DEVICE LIMITATIONS

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