Categorization of MOOC courses

Recently we added support of mapping courses in our directory to categories. Now it is possible to view categories list on the site Categories of Online Courses.

It is difficult task to map 5400 courses to categories. It is not possible to do this manually. We asked your users to help with mapping courses to categories . And we are grateful for your help.

How we do categorization of MOOC courses.

On first step we mapped categories for part of courses manually (and our visitors helped with this).

Then we used some categorization techniques to map rest courses automatically. We get descriptions of already mapped courses and used them to train N-Gram-Based Text Categorization tool. For every unmapped course we used trained tool to find best category. For now this works successfully in  80% cases. Soon we expect to get better results and then new MOOC courses will be classified automatically.

Why categorization is not easy to do?

MOOC vendors don’t provide some standard description for their courses. Not all vendors have courses categorized. Even if a vendor has categories and the list of categories is different from vendor to vendor. We aimed to create unified list of categories.

5575 courses from 15 vendors – now we are the biggest MOOC courses directory.

After we added MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) and Open Yale to our directory total count of courses in the directory are 5575. 3911 among them are free online courses. This makes online courses directory the biggest list of MOOC courses in the Web.

Other update we did recently is functionality to map courses to other similar courses – alternatives. And yet another function is Prerequisites courses management. We want to map prerequisites for courses where it is possible (if one course from the directory can be used as prerequisite to other course, even from different vendors). We will try to build the graph of online courses using “prerequisite” and “alternative” relations. You can help us with this.