April 10, 2015
Let’s talk MOOCs! As someone who could have stayed in college forever (purely for the pursuit of knowledge, lest you get any other ideas), I am a hardcore advocate of Multiple Open Online Courses. However, the playing field is pretty well saturated by now, and the offerings can get a little overwhelming. Also, if I’m any example of your average MOOC-er (is that a thing? It’s a thing now) there’s probably a fairly high dropout rate. I’ve been known to sign up for a course, sit through the first couple lessons, quickly realize it was nothing like what I was expecting and lose interest.
Cleveland based CourseBuffet is one of a few MOOC aggregators out there, yet they say they do it better. They find and aggregate courses from over seventeen platforms and over two hundred universities. They organize classes based on subject matter and use their own classification system to give users a clearer idea of what they’re signing up for. According to the website:
“We examine every single course and classify it using the CourseBuffet classification system. We show you the approximate level a course would be at a traditional university and which courses are roughly equivalent. This allows you to easily compare courses and know which order to take them.”
In the process of building this platform, the founders have learned some lessons of their own. Co-founder Bruce Bolton says that one of the hardest lessons they’ve had to learn is to reach out and form relationships with their competitors. He mentions one competitor in particular that he wishes they had reached out to, as this competitor ultimately shut down and CourseBuffet could have benefited from some of their assets.
Another lesson Bruce has learned personally, is to focus on one task at a time, and that it’s okay to delegate tasks to teammates.
“There are so many challenges to tackle but taking them on all at the same time can lead to sub optimal resolutions. Drill down to what challenges you personally must deal with and decide which can be taken on by other teammates. Trust in others that they can do it.”
Their ultimate goal is to create the gold standard for online higher education course listings. Down the line, they also want to enable students to take free (or steeply discounted) courses for real college credit. It would eventually (hopefully) dramatically lower the cost of online education across the board.
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