In 2011, Dhawal Shah was doing one of the very first MOOCs in Artificial Intelligence when he saw more being announced from Stanford University. He thought, then, how much he would like to see all the courses in one page and be able to sort them by start date.
So, he built Class Central just to do that, so that all information could be easily displayed. It took him 3 days, then he launched it and put it on Social Media. It wasn’t like a big plan, he was just at the right place at the right time. 3 months later, he found out more than 35,000 were visiting this site.
Class Central is a search engine that makes easier the process of finding online courses. MOOCs from all over the world are aggregated here, categorized and cured by quality.
It also provides a browsing tool, since in many cases people enter without still knowing what they want to learn, and that’s why they curate for quality: to show only good courses.
“I grew up and studied in India, and I could have not imagined some of the courses I’ve seen even existed. Some of them are really good courses by specific professors. So, I prefer the discovery experience, however, it´s also great if you already know what you want to learn. We provide both tools”, Shah mentioned to us.
Class Central´s features
The main difference between using Class Central and a simple search on Google is that the latter is focused on making business and most of the times they will show you only paid options, instead of quality free courses.
Besides, Class Central offers thousands of ratings for the courses being displayed. Or additional features like allowing you to follow certain University or providers so any time they add a new course or any related news, Class Central will send you monthly updates about it. So far, there are almost 7 million people using this `follow bottom´.
Depending on the topics you chose to learn, you´ll get emails when new courses are launched.
Making a course that really stands out
With all the options online to learn about almost anything you want, we asked Shah about how to make a course that excels from others:
“At the end, you just have to make good courses, we have ratings. Sometimes people try to title differently so courses get more attention. Titles actually matter a lot. Also, we did a survey and people said that after the topic, the second bigger criteria is University. However, I think that if you keep launching very good courses, you´ll stand out in the long term”.
The contribution of Class Central to the MOOC space
We approach to Shah, having participated in the first MOOC-Maker International Conference. Class Central has contributed to the MOOC movement by making it easier to find learning options, because often people find themselves overwhelmed with the great offer out there.
One of their main goals is to help students to find their first online course. There are significantly more people who has not done a course versus the people who actually has, “We want to make sure that the first experience they have is a good experience”, Shah said.
Class Central also provides data about the MOOC space like number of Universities, courses, students and they publish their analysis every year.
Now tell us, What has been your best MOOC experience?