A wealth of massive open online courses (MOOCs) are now available, and while this makes education easier and more affordable, it can also make it hard to find exactly the course that you want and to make long-term education plans.
CourseBuffet is a free organizational service that brings together and classifies university-level MOOCs to enable people to work more efficiently towards their educational goals.
CourseBuffet not only aggregates but classifies MOOCs by subject and level, according to the CourseBuffet website. For example, introductions to a subject are classified as “101″ courses. Freshman-level courses are in the 100s, sophomore-level are in the 200s, junior-level is in the 300s, and senior-level courses are numbered in the 400s. Graduate level courses are in the 500s. This numbering system can help users more easily compare courses and find what’s best for them and both work up to and contextualize the knowledge they need.
According to the CourseBuffet blog:
The whole point of CourseBuffet is to organize free online college courses available in a way that you can see all your options quickly and get the most value from them. …We assign a subject and level to every course similar to what is done at many leading universities. Courses that cover the same or similar material will have the same CourseBuffet subject and number. This enables you to know which courses are directly comparable.
This also means you can see which courses generally are introduction courses and equivalent to first- and second-year university courses and which course are upper level more advanced courses. This allows you to plan your learning by taking courses in a way that builds on previous learning. With this system you can also take courses from different universities and platforms yet still build on previous learning.
CourseBuffet includes more than 500 courses from platforms like Coursera, Udacity, edX, OpenCourseWare Consortium, Saylor, First Business MOOC, FutureLearn, Iversity, MRUniversity, Novoed, NPTEL, Open2Study, OpenupEd, Santa Fe Institute, the Writing University, and YCombinator. All of the courses come from a university, professor, or other recognized authority. Short tutorials, YouTube videos, and other resources that are not roughly equivalent to courses are purposely left out of the service.
A CourseBuffet account, which can be created with Facebook or email, allows you to save the courses that interest you.
Currently, the only bachelor’s-equivalent degree paths available are in Computer Science and Management, according to Bryan Clark of the Next Web. Another in Finance is being planned.
Each degree path is divided up into 10-13 segments, with 7-10 core courses in the degree’s subject, and other courses like Math, English, and Communications.
A computer science degree will include everything that a student would get in a traditional university, from introductory material to algorithms, programming languages, and databases, writes Melanie Pinola of LifeHacker.
In the future, CourseBuffet hopes to aggregate and classify online courses that might be harder to compare to traditional college courses, like offerings from CodeAcademy. They also plan to include statistics for each course, like the time it takes to complete it, its difficulty, and how many people are taking it.
None of these courses or degrees will transfer into college credit, though for some, certificates are available.