Coursera Downloader

Posted by Jeffery Yee | 9:21 PM

Today I would like to introduce a python tool, Coursera downloader. Yes, you may already have your own ways to do this, but this python tool makes it much easier for you, especially for people who love python. Go and try it out. 
Coursera is arguably the leader in massive open online courses (MOOC) with a selection of more than 300 classes from 62 different institutions as of February 2013. Generous contributions by educators and institutions are making excellent education available to many who could not afford it otherwise. There are even non-profits with "feet on the ground" in remote areas of the world who are helping spread the wealth (see the feedback below from Tunapanda).
This script makes it easier to batch download lecture resources (e.g., videos, ppt, etc) for Coursera classes. Given one or more class names and account credentials, it obtains week and class names from the lectures page, and then downloads the related materials into appropriately named files and directories.
Why is this helpful? A utility like wget can work, but has the following limitations:
  1. Video names have a number in them, but this does not correspond to the actual order. Manually renaming them is a pain.
  2. Using names from the syllabus page provides more informative names.
  3. Using a wget in a for loop picks up extra videos which are not posted/linked, and these are sometimes duplicates.
DownloadThemAll is another possiblity, but this script provides more features such as appropriately named files.
This work was originally inspired in part by youtube-dl by which I've downloaded many other good videos such as those from Khan Academy.

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