Skip to main content

Script for downloading videos and naming them.

Project description

Coursera Downloader

Build Status Coverage Status Latest version on PyPI Downloads from PyPI Code Climate


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 numbers in them, but this does not correspond to the actual order. Manually renaming them is a pain that is best left for computers.

  2. Using names from the syllabus page provides more informative names.

  3. Using wget in a for loop picks up extra videos which are not posted/linked, and these are sometimes duplicates.

Browser extensions like DownloadThemAll is another possibility, but coursera-dl 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.


  • Support for all kinds of courses (i.e., “Old Platform”/time-based as well as “New Platform”/on-demand courses).

  • Intentionally detailed names, so that it will display and sort properly on most interfaces (e.g., VLC or MX Video on Android devices).

  • Regex-based section (week) and lecture name filters to download only certain resources.

  • File format extension filter to grab resource types you want.

  • Login credentials accepted on command-line or from .netrc file.

  • Core functionality tested on Linux, Mac and Windows.


coursera-dl is meant to be used only for your material that Coursera gives you access to download.

We do not encourage any use that violates their Terms Of Use. A relevant excerpt:

“[…] Coursera grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access and use the Sites. You may download material from the Sites only for your own personal, non-commercial use. You may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material, nor may you modify or create derivatives works of the material.”

Installation instructions

coursera-dl requires Python 2 or Python 3 and a free Coursera account enrolled in the class of interest. (As of February of 2016, we test automatically the execution of the program with Python versions 2.6, 2.7, Pypy, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5).

Note: We strongly recommend that you use a Python 3 interpreter (3.4 or later).

On any operating system, ensure that the Python executable location is added to your PATH environment variable and, once you have the dependencies installed (see next section), for a basic usage, you will need to invoke the script from the main directory of the project and prepend it with the word python. You can also use more advanced features of the program by looking at the “Running the script” section of this document.

Note: You must already have (manually) agreed to the Honor of Code of the particular courses that you want to use with coursera-dl.

Alternative ways of installing missing dependencies

We strongly recommend that you consider installing Python packages with pip, as in it is the current preferred method, unless directed otherwise by one of the project members (for instance, when testing or debugging a new feature or using the source code directly from our git repository). If you are using pip, you can directly install all the dependencies from the requirements file using pip install -r requirements.txt.

Alternative installation method for Unix systems

We strongly recommend that you install coursera-dl and all its dependencies in a way that does not interfere with the rest of your Python installation. This is accomplished by the creation of a virtual environment, or “virtualenv”.

For the initial setup, in a Unix-like operating system, please use the following steps (create/adapt first the directory /directory/where/I/want/my/courses):

cd /directory/where/I/want/my/courses
virtualenv my-coursera
cd my-coursera
source bin/activate
git clone
cd coursera
pip install -r requirements.txt
./coursera-dl ...

To further download new videos from your classes, simply perform:

cd /directory/where/I/want/my/courses/my-coursera
source bin/activate
cd coursera
./coursera-dl ...

We are working on streamlining this whole process so that it is as simple as possible, but to support older versions of Python and to cope with Coursera disabling SSLv3, we have to take a few extra steps. In any case, it is highly recommended that you always install the latest version of the Python interpreter that you can.

Installing dependencies on your own

Warning: This method is not recommended unless you have experience working with multiple Python environments.

You can use the pip program to install the dependencies on your own. They are all listed in the requirements.txt file (and the extra dependencies needed for development are listed in the requirements-dev.txt file).

To use this method, you would proceed as:

pip install -r requirements.txt
pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

The second line above should only be needed if you intend to help with development (and help is always welcome) or if a maintainer of the project asks you to install extra packages for debugging purposes.

Once again, before filing bug reports, if you installed the dependencies on your own, please check that the versions of your modules are at least those listed in the requirements.txt file (and, requirements-dev.txt file, if applicable).

Create an account with Coursera

If you don’t already have one, create a Coursera account and enroll in a class. See for the list of classes.

Running the script

Run the script to download the materials by providing your Coursera account credentials (e.g. email address and password or a ~/.netrc file), the class names, as well as any additional parameters:

General:                     coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> modelthinking-004
Multiple classes:            coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> saas historyofrock1-001 algo-2012-002
Filter by section name:      coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> -sf "Chapter_Four" crypto-004
Filter by lecture name:      coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> -lf "3.1_" ml-2012-002
Download only ppt files:     coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> -f "ppt" qcomp-2012-001
Use a ~/.netrc file:         coursera-dl -n -- matrix-001
Get the preview classes:     coursera-dl -n -b ni-001
Specify download path:       coursera-dl -n --path=C:\Coursera\Classes\ comnetworks-002
Display help:                coursera-dl --help

Maintain a list of classes in a dir:
  Initialize:              mkdir -p CURRENT/{class1,class2,..classN}
  Update:                  coursera-dl -n --path CURRENT `\ls CURRENT`

Note: If your ls command is aliased to display a colorized output, you may experience problems. Be sure to escape the ls command (use \ls) to assure that no special characters get sent to the script.

Note that we do support the New Platform (“on-demand”) classes.

On *nix platforms, the use of a ~/.netrc file is a good alternative to specifying both your username (i.e., your email address) and password every time on the command line. To use it, simply add a line like the one below to a file named .netrc in your home directory (or the equivalent, if you are using Windows) with contents like:

machine coursera-dl login <user> password <pass>

Create the file if it doesn’t exist yet. From then on, you can switch from using -u and -p to simply call coursera-dl with the option -n instead. This is especially convenient, as typing usernames (email addresses) and passwords directly on the command line can get tiresome (even more if you happened to choose a “strong” password).

Resuming downloads

In default mode when you interrupt the download process by pressing CTRL+C, partially downloaded files will be deleted from your disk and you have to start the download process from the begining. If your download was interrupted by something other than KeyboardInterrupt (CTRL+C) like sudden system crash, partially downloaded files will remain on your disk and the next time you start the process again, these files will be discraded from download list!, therefore it’s your job to delete them manually before next start. For this reason we added an option called --resume which continues your downloads from where they stopped:

coursera-dl -u <user> -p <pass> --resume sdn1-001

This option can also be used with external downloaders:

coursera-dl --wget -u <user> -p <pass> --resume sdn1-001

Note 1: Some external downloaders use their own built-in resume feature which may not be compatible with others, so use them at your own risk.

Note 2: Remember that in resume mode, interrupted files WON’T be deleted from your disk.

NOTE: If your password contains punctuation, quotes or other “funny characters” (e.g., <, >, #, &, | and so on), then you may have to escape them from your shell. With bash or other Bourne-shell clones (and probably with many other shells) one of the better ways to do so is to enclose your password in single quotes, so that you don’t run into problems. See issue #213 for more information.


If you have problems when downloading class materials, please try to see if one of the following actions solve your problem:

  • Make sure the class name you are using corresponds to the resource name used in the URL for that class:<CLASS_NAME>/class/index

  • Have you tried to clean the cached cookies/credentials with the --clear-cache option?

  • Note that many courses (most, perhaps?) may remove the materials after a little while after the course is completed, while other courses may retain the materials up to a next session/offering of the same course (to avoid problems with academic dishonesty, apparently). In short, it is not guaranteed that you will be able to download after the course is finished and this is, unfortunately, nothing that we can help you with.

  • Make sure you have installed and/or updated all of your dependencies according to the requirements.txt file as described above.

  • One can export a Netscape-style cookies file with a browser extension (1, 2) and use it with the -c option. This comes in handy when the authentication via password is not working (the authentication process changes now and then).

  • If results show 0 sections, you most likely have provided invalid credentials (username and/or password in the command line or in your .netrc file).

  • For courses that have not started yet, but have had a previous iteration sometimes a preview is available, containing all the classes from the last course. These files can be downloaded by passing the --preview parameter.

  • If you get an error like Could not find class: <CLASS_NAME>, then:

    • Verify that the name of the course is correct. Current class names in coursera are composed by a short course name e.g. class and the current version of the course (a number). For example, for a class named class, you would have to use class-001, class-002 etc.

    • Second, verify that you are enrolled in the course. You won’t be able to access the course materials if you are not officially enrolled and agreed to the honor course via the website.

  • If:

    • You get an error when using -n to specify that you want to use a .netrc file and,

    • You want the script to use your default netrc file and,

    • You get a message saying coursera-dl: error: too few arguments

    Then you should specify -- as an argument after -n, that is, -n -- or change the order in which you pass the arguments to the script, so that the argument after -n begins with an hyphen (-). Otherwise, Python’s argparse module will think that what you are passing is the name of the netrc file that you want to use. See issue #162.

Filing an issue/Reporting a bug

When reporting bugs against coursera-dl, please don’t forget to include enough information so that you can help us help you:

  • Is the problem happening with the latest version of the script?

  • What operating system are you using?

  • Do you have all the recommended versions of the modules? See them in the file requirements.txt.

  • What is the course that you are trying to access?

  • What is the precise command line that you are using (feel free to hide your username and password with asterisks, but leave all other information untouched).

  • What are the precise messages that you get? Please, use the --debug option before posting the messages as a bug report. Please, copy and paste them. Don’t reword/paraphrase the messages.


I enjoy getting feedback. Here are a few of the comments I’ve received:

  • “Thanks for the good job! Knowledge will flood the World a little more thanks to your script!” Guillaume V. 11/8/2012

  • “Just wanted to send you props for your Python script to download Coursera courses. I’ve been using it in Kenya for my non-profit to get online courses to places where internet is really expensive and unreliable. Mostly kids here can’t afford high school, and downloading one of these classes by the usual means would cost more than the average family earns in one week. Thanks!” Jay L., Tunapanda 3/20/2013

  • “I am a big fan of Coursera and attend lots of different courses. Time constraints don’t allow me to attend all the courses I want at the same time. I came across your script, and I am very happily using it! Great stuff and thanks for making this available on Github - well done!” William G. 2/18/2013

  • “This script is awesome! I was painstakingly downloading each and every video and ppt by hand – looked into wget but ran into wildcard issues with HTML, and then.. I came across your script. Can’t tell you how many hours you’ve just saved me :) If you’re ever in Paris / Stockholm, it is absolutely mandatory that I buy you a beer :)” Razvan T. 11/26/2012

  • “Thanks a lot! :)” Viktor V. 24/04/2013


Please, post bugs and issues on github. Send other comments to Rogério Theodoro de Brito (the current maintainer): (twitter: [@rtdbrito]21) or to John Lehmann (the original author): first last at geemail dotcom (twitter: [@jplehmann]12).

Bitdeli Badge

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

coursera-0.5.2.tar.gz (54.2 kB view hashes)

Uploaded source

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing and Security Sponsor Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page