CourseTalk Launches A Yelp For Open Online Courses And What This Means For Higher Education

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One of the most popular topics in education technology these days is the subject of MOOCs, otherwise known as “Massive Open Online Courses.” Thanks to the buzz around MOOC platforms like Coursera, Udacity and edX, there are few universities and colleges that aren’t currently struggling with whether or not they should hop on the bandwagon.

Whether or not you’re long or short on MOOCs, it’s clear that, in the near term at least, they’re here to stay. However, as colleges, universities and more begin toying with open online courses and an increasing number of students and learners take to their virtual lecture halls, the signal-to-noise ratio has the potential to get pretty unfavorable. It’s for this very reason that Jesse Spaulding decided to launch CourseTalk.

The former trader and serial entrepreneur tells us that his interest in MOOCs was spurred after taking a couple of open classes: “Machine Learning” on Coursera and “Programming A Robotic Car” on Udacity. Spaulding said that he had a positive experience in both classes and, knowing that he wasn’t alone in this regard, began considering the cascading effects that MOOCs could have on higher ed. So he created CourseTalk as a way to help learners find signal in the noise of an ever-growing lineup of open online courses.

Today, CourseTalk is what you might expect — an early stage Yelp for MOOCs — a place for students to share their experiences with these courses and a way to discover new courses they’d enjoy. Given that it’s still nascent, the platform’s design is simple and its user experience is straightforward: Visitors can use the general search bar which is front and center, or peruse through “Top Rated,” “Popular” and “Upcoming” verticals, or search by category, like Business, Computer Science, etc.

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