Edit: digging a bit further, course buffet has a good writeup of what they are trying to do differently on their about page:
> We know there are other sites listing MOOC courses but they still leave it up to you figure out which courses are similar. That is time consuming and frustrating. Remember we want to make it easy to compare. That is why we have a CourseBuffet Classification System which we use to classify every course.
> No more needing to figure out which specific courses from Coursera is a near equivalent to a specific Udacity, Saylor, edX, etc course. One click and you see all your choices next to each other. We also list if a course has video, audio, or a textbook so you can choice based on your learning style.
I like their idea. Will be happy to see them be successful at it.
So what are we doing? Well there are many sites that aggregate courses out there. That is easy. What we are aiming to do is create a simple standard. You can see what a course would roughly be if you took them at a US university.
The US doesn't have a set standard but most universities classify their courses with similar numbering. For example business students would take Introduction to Financial Accounting then Introduction to Managerial Accounting. Both would usually be 200 level (2nd year) courses.
This standard also allows user to make apples to apples comparisons between courses.
There are few errors on CourseBuffet, we are working on them. Thoughts, criticism, comments, please share! thanks!
I am not sure if you already have this planned but I would love to see an open curriculum or sorts. Basically a curated list of courses (that have proper video lectures) that I can take to get a degree equivalency.
If for example I wanted to learn everything an undergraduate in business learns at a university, I can take the courses in your list in the order you suggest and get an equivalent education. (These courses should be recordings of actual classes and not dumbed down short videos).
I think this curation of courses will go a long way in how open courseware is perceived.
I've been trying to 'create' a syllabus for teaching myself math but it is a pain to be able to get this info and then find the courses for it. I go to MIT and 1/2 of the classes are available on video, then I try to search for the ones that aren't in other Unis but they have different names which makes it all the more confusing.
I actually ended up just going to my old uni syllabus and just buy the required reading books and try from there, but having this compiled would be such a great help
As for degree equivalency ...stay tuned.
A suggested feature, and one I've considered doing myself, is to have a sort of timeline of classes. So that if I sign up for a class from November to January, and one from December to February, it would show that they overlap during December and January. One of the biggest problems I have is biting off more then I can chew, and what I like to do is visualize each class as a per week load and stack them on top of each other. That way I can find bottle necks where several classes might overlap in the final and beginning weeks leaving me with an expected work load of 30+ hours.
All and all it looks great.
Some (slightly superficial) feedback: In the LHS navigation/filter, when opening one of the option menus (eg 'By Universities') they can have too many options to fit on the screen. The LHS pane doesn't scroll so you can't get to the lower options. Also the '>' arrow should really be clickablabe and point down when opened.
Thanks a ton for doing this! It's wonderful :)
Thanks. The classifying is what took (still taking) a lot of time. Looking to give everyone the most accurate idea of how a course would be classified at a university.
So, thanks again and I'll be sure to give some input once I have the time to browse around :)
FYI, this may not be a universally-accepted numbering system. At Berkeley, lower-division courses have two digits (1A, 55, 64), upper-division courses are in the 100s, and graduate classes are in the 200s.
Edit: Actually, you've got a slightly worse issue... as I resize my browser window, as soon as it reaches ~1000 (1024?) pixels the header jumps and the buttons disappear outright, even though they would fit on the screen just fine. I don't really care what happens to the buttons, but there is no indication elsewhere on the page that one can make an account.
See: img.logo width and max-width attributes.
Then enjoy clicking "Load More", "Load More" forever. The UI seems to be mobile-optimized, but very bad usability on desktop. Is there are "Show All" button instead of clicking Load More all the time?
1. You should list all of the subjects on the home page not just 6 of them!!! The only way to view classes by subject is via search. But I want to be able to browse! Search is too much effort. Use this as an opportunity to list the highest rated classes by each subject. Put your data to good use.
2. The only way to browse all classes by subject is by un-checking the subject box in a search results page, but if your browser width is over 1200px the filter results tab becomes static and you can't see all of the subjects and filters :(
3. What is the main benefit of signing up? Add a CTA in between the search box and browse courses section of the homepage. Maybe also add a screenshot of the learning path, so I immediately know what benefit I am getting/why I shouldn't just use your site to find courses on coursera or udacity.
4. Have landing pages per subject with a CTA to sign up.
PS I wouldn't have taken the time to write this if I wasn't absolutely in love with your site and what you are doing.
1. You are right. We need to add more/all to home page.
2. This is a problem. Clearly we need to fix this!
3. We are working on the learning path and want to keep it under wraps for now. But a better CTA is needed. I always want site to provide me a good reason if I am going to give them my email address. We don't right now. same with #4
I had posted once or twice in comments of other stories about CB but was waiting until we got some of our site issues worked out before trying to get on the front of HN. Well the OP decided the time is now and hey I am not complaining.
I think you will find our offerings in the future to be much improved. Email me email@example.com and I will keep you updated and any other thoughts would welcome.
The direct matches from the front page are much better, though those miss courses that aren't so clearly named ('Learning from Data')
CourseTalk: Reviews for Udacity, Coursera, and edX (coursetalk.org)
I'm using coursetalk when I pick up a class. Some of reviewers are giving really valuable feedbacks.
Leave a review if you wouldn't mind!
These are the courses we have examined at and determined they are all beginning computer science courses even though the names of the courses are not the same. For example one is entitled Fundamentals to Computer Science another Introduction to Computer Science, etc. Now you don't have to figure out which specific courses are comparable in an "apples to apples" way. It is done for you. If you go on other sites and enter computer science all the computer science courses are listed with only basic grouping leaving it up to you to take your time and figure out which ones you should be comparing.
This also gives you a basic idea in what order you might want to take the course. We have figure that out for you and made it easier to mix and match from different providers.
I grant an upvote for doing it better than it has already been done.
To decently organize different subjects you won't be able to stay at the course level for long - too large a grain size. Maybe you can stay at university subject and undergrad/grad distinction, but you'll quickly find edge cases may outweigh standard cases when you define further. You're going to have to start parsing the syllabi of individual courses, which means you're going to have a crash-course on the subject. It'll take time, and you won't get much faster at it in another subject. This is assuming a practical approach rather than a more research driven approach, which would take a lot longer.
That's the first challenge. The second challenge is that tons of colleges are entering the fray and a LOT of courses are going to get put up soon. So the 700 courses becomes 1500 becomes 5000. You may think this is an opportunity but its at least as much a burden. And once you classify them, they'll change, and you'll have to update them. And you won't have access to critical feedback loops on why they changed or their quality.
Between those two challenges you're going to have to find a sustainability model fast. As you note, many others have started to do this, and although they didn't do the particular feature you're talking about w/ matching courses, there's probably a lot to learn from them. I think everyone was going 'platform!' but that involves a LOT of building audience before getting any possible leadgen revenue.
At a much higher level, college itself is going through a pretty big rethink. Its worth asking yourself the question: "why isn't there a standard way that colleges organize their courses today?" (hint: its structural, not just pre-internet). Its also worth thinking about how MOOCs are adjusting their offerings (e.g. shorter lengths, highly multidisciplinary content, topical content, etc), and whether or not standardizing across traditional college schemes is today's and tomorrow's problem, not just yesterday's.
I think its worth learning a bit about library sciences (the nature of classification), talking to MOOC instructors about their experiences, talking to other course listing startups, & talking to colleges about how they think about what makes a college education (or at least read what they have to say). This probably won't require code (gasp, I say this on HN), it's more a get-out-of-the-building problem. Code is kinda your enemy right now, it'll trick you into thinking you're making progress.
The desire to tackle organizing it is noble, but the scope is big. There's lots of other edtech problems out there if you're interested in the space.
And all that said, feel free to prove me wrong!
Source: a long time in edtech, a lot of time spent classifying (e.g. edsurge.com/products), and been involved in lots of discussions with open courseware folks about these very problems.
The classifying is a challenge. While doing it at the course level is a pain we think without doing this the value added is small. We have found the more courses are classified the easier it gets. This being said the edge cases can take a good deal of time to figure out and are frustrating.In the future we would need someone full time just to work on this.
As for "...is today's and tomorrow's problem, not just yesterday's"
This could be the case no doubt but some revolutions take longer than initial planned. HN readers might know about MOOCs, gamifying education with achievement badges, etc there are a lots of people who don't, almost surprisingly so. A few months ago we talked with a local prof who didn't know about MOOCs. Millions of people grew up with a traditional college courses and semesters and millions are take traditional college courses. We think that replicating (or near enough) the current setup is easier for people to grasp. There are others who think points/badges are the way to go.
We will have to read more about library sciences As as you point the as MOOCs become less like regular college courses the more our classification standard will be challenged.
I had seen edsurge before but now will have to follow it more closely.