The (hi)story of BORG : Study Companion

Borg - MOOC Study Companion and Downloader

It all started about two years back, when I started studying on coursera. I was really excited and the courses were awesome.

But where I live, the internet speeds are not very good, so I used to download a video while I watched a previously downloaded one. This process was cumbersome and I had to wait a lot before I could study.Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 12.18.36 PM

 

 

Then I came across a python script which could download and rename the files from coursera, I was elated.

But this too had its own problems, it could not resume downloads, it skipped broken downloads and there was no easy way to add new downloads or prioritize them, what I needed was something like JDownloader for coursera.

So, I decided to make one. I initially named it Ouroboros – because learning is infinite, but the name Ouroboros seemed too long, so it was renamed to BORG in later versions.

The application I had made was GUI based and easy to use, it could resume downloads, had a priority list, speed throttle and better naming and organizing capabilities than coursera-dl.

Thus, it became one of the most useful tools in my studies.

Now, after using it to make my studies better, I wanted more people, students like me who were studying from coursera to benefit from this. But as a plain old downloader it looked very small, and its utility limited.

So, I decided to turn this from a simple coursera downloader to a complete MOOC study tool.

Now BORG has many more features.

It supports courses from coursera, edx and nptel. You can add your own too.

It has a video player to watch online as well as downloaded course videos

You can take notes while watching, it pauses the video automatically while you write, and it saves the notes according to the video time-stamp.

Feel like doodling while watching videos? It has a drawing pad too.

It has time tracking features, it logs events and gives you the summary of which videos you have watched and how much time you have spent on what.
You can add your own events to the logger too.

If you are like me and keep forgetting to take a break, Borg has a break reminder too. You can set the time and duration of breaks.

I am also bundling many helpful utilities in Borg, which will help you in your studies.

  • ToDo List
  • Calculator
  • Countdown Timer
  • Event Logger
  • Flash cards
  • Drawing Pad

Its not just all work though, it will also have some games to help you unwind.

The best thing about BORG? It will be free for personal use.

and if you like it, you can donate towards its maintenance and development.
I too eat chips, cakes and drink coke, that costs money 🙂
[paypal_donation_button] You can send Bitcoins too.

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My goal with Borg is for students to benefit from this. As many students as possible.

Borg will be initially available for MacOS and Windows.

Planning to release it for iOS, Android and Linux too, depending on the availability of time and funds.

UPDATE :

The Borg website is live at http://gautamji.com/borg. Further updates, how to download and all other info will be available from there

 

Author: Gautam

I am a Human, MOOCer, Harmonica Enthusiast, Budding Polyglot and an Indie Game Developer. I develop apps and games for fun and profit. Wherever and whenever you see me, I am sure to have my harp in my pocket. Maybe if you say please I will play you a tune.

  • Jeff

    When will the app be released?

    • Gautam Jain

      Within this month.
      The Mac version is ready, I am working on the windows version.

  • Jeff

    Great, thanks. Will it work on the new sites where there isn’t a :Video Lectures” dedicated webpage? example: https://www.coursera.org/learn/principles-of-macroeconomics

    • Gautam Jain

      Yes, Borg does support the new “on demand” courses too.

  • Do you accept bitcoin for donation?

    • Gautam Jain

      Not yet, but I am planning to, I don’t know from where to start.

      Borg is still under development, I will start accepting donations again after Borg is released.

      • I can help you with that. Shoot me an email, and I’ll detail some steps out for you to start accepting Bitcoin donations. It should maybe take you 15 minutes, at max.

        The only reason I don’t do it here is because I don’t want to take over your wall.

  • rishabh ahuja

    This is wonderful! Please provide a download link for this wonderful program.
    Can this also download courses for which we have not paid for ?
    Please add support for Udemy too. Thanks!

    • Gautam Jain

      Unfortunately there has been another delay, but Borg is on its way.
      You can download those edx and coursera courses which you are enrolled for and all video based courses from NPTEL via Borg. (Nearly all of these courses are accessible free of cost, you only need to pay if you want a certificate)

      Udemy is currently not on the roadmap. But if there is enough demand and donations…

      • Rishabh

        To enroll you have to pay a fee .. My question was for example there is a course on coursera called Academic English which is for 196 dollar so can I download that ? … Without paying the price. Also in the market there is more demand for Udemy if you can make a program than can rip Udemy courses than you will get more donations and views as people prefer Udemy courses

        • Gautam Jain

          Most of the courses on Udemy are on very specific subjects and are more like tutorials than courses, and most of them are paid. Borg is a tool for helping people in their studies, not to help piracy.
          On the other hand most, if not all courses on coursera and edX are free to use and learn from, and have more of a university/classroom style of covering the topic. Only getting a certificate costs money, learning is free. Coursera also allows users to download videos, so there is no question of piracy in that case, as Borg just becomes a better download manager, among other things.

          The course you have mentioned, Academic English, is a specialization course consisting of many courses which are all free to study from individually, without certificate. Here is the link for the first course in that – https://www.coursera.org/learn/grammar-punctuation.

          Through Borg you can download any course that you are enrolled in. Edx and Coursera.

          • Rishabh

            Thank you for your reply please issue a release date for Borg we are waiting for it for a long time.

          • Gautam Jain

            Thank you for your continued interest. Borg will be releasing very soon. In a few days.
            I am working on some bug fixes and testing the product.

  • Chirag Arora

    Its a polite request, at least upload the beta version. We’ll obviously help in testing the product and notify you with any sort of bugs if encountered.

    • Gautam Jain

      The full featured first release will be available soon, I plan to release it by the 15th of this month if my health permits.

  • Peter Powl

    Could we have a launch date please?

    • Gautam Jain

      Thank you for your interest in Borg,
      Tentative launch date is the 15th of this month, if my health permits.

  • Coming in for a monthly check up on how progress is going. Still looking forward to this.

    • I see you’ve added the bitcoin option for donation, and happy about it! I’ll send you some chip money to maybe spark some energy.

      If anyone would also like to send bitcoins, but doesn’t know how, let me know and I can help.

      • Gautam Jain

        Thank you very much Corey, your contribution is very much appreciated. My health has not been good, so I have not been able to spend much time in front of a computer.
        Other than that Borg is progressing well and I hope to release it by the 15th of this month, if my health permits.

        • Tony

          Hi,

          How is it going the app?

          Brgds

  • hosney amr

    hello sir
    thanks for the great application
    i just want to know where and when you will release this great program

    • Gautam Jain

      Hi,
      Thanks for the interest in Borg,
      I am in the process of making it release ready, so should be very soon.

  • Arpan Mukherjee

    When will it be ready ?

    • Gautam Jain

      It is fully functional, and tested for Windows 8 and 10, Mac OS, Ubuntu 14.10. There are a few bugs in the download list UI, and I am working on the error handling and reporting.

      Early supporters will get Borg in 3 more days.
      For the rest, it will be available by the 10th of January.

      • Yao

        I am looking for your awesome software.

      • Great to hear!

        Hope all is well bud!

  • Joseph

    And another missed date.

    • Gautam Jain

      Sorry. Will try not to miss the next.
      And thank you for waiting patiently, despite the delays.

  • Dinesh

    Hello,

    When can we expect the release ?

    • Gautam Jain

      Within a few days. The people who got the pre-release version, found some bugs and suggested some changes.
      It should not have taken more than 3 days. Was working on that when I got sick.

      • Dinesh

        Can you share the beta version for WIN in the time being ? Also, please update the thread when you have released it.

        Get well soon, man ! Cheers. Happy Coding.

  • Amen

    How can I download BORG?

    Best wishes.

  • Gautam Jain

    It is not yet available for public release. If you interested in getting a pre-release version, send a message through http://gautamji.com/borg or http://www.facebook.com/borgmooc

  • laxmi iyer

    eagerly waiting for your borg. please provide beta version for the time being and beware of this Zika virus. get well soon

  • Marcel

    Hi,
    One question, I noticed that the videos downloaded from Coursera using BORG whether it is HD or Standard choice selected are actually in same standard quality. Can you put the fix on that? some would prefer the excellent HD quality video such as me lol.
    Thank you for the apps and keep doing great job!

    Best regards,
    Marcel

    • Oops, it seems like while solving all those bugs. I forgot to implement HD for coursera :D.
      Will surely put it in the next update. Thanks for reminding me.
      Do tell me if I miss something else. Or if you need a feature or enhancement.

      How has your experience with Borg been other than this? Is it to your satisfaction?

      • Marcel

        I can’t say anything yet, I just knew it and try it today. So far so good and it has fulfilled the goal to help student with their studies. At least, I can be sure that none other apps that offers superb features similar to BORG.

  • ALOK

    EXCELLENT TOOL !! KEEP IT up !!
    FORM EDX : WOULD IT POSSIBLE TO DOWNLOAD archived COURSES ?
    IN WINDOWS TOOL HANGS FOR ARCHIVED COURSE. DO YOU HAVE PLAN TO UPDATE NEXT RELEASE TO ALSO DOWNLOAD PDF/PPT ATTACHED WITH THE COURSE

    • Marcel

      Yes, It seems that we only get the transcription, but not the slides. So, we have to manually access the website again to get the slides.

      • Send me an example course, I will see if I can include resource download functionality.

        Borg is not an alternative to the course website.
        It is a tool to supplement your course.

        • Ashutosh Modi

          can you please have some option included for downloading slides and assignments in form of pdfs, this mainly for offline studying

          • I am planning to do that, and a lot more. Stay tuned.

  • ALOK
    • Supporting file downloading in that format would not be possible at the current time. You will have to manually download those files.