Script for downloading videos and naming them.
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Coursera Downloader

Coursera is creating some fantastic, free educational classes (e.g., algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing, SaaS). This script allows one to batch download lecture resources (e.g., videos, ppt, etc) for a Coursera class. Given a class name and related cookie file, it scrapes the course listing page to get the week and class names, and then downloads the related materials into appropriately named files and directories.

Why is this helpful? Before I was using wget, but I had the following problems:

  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 forloop picks up extra videos which are not posted/linked, and these are sometimes duplicates.

DownloadThemAll can also work, but this provides better names.

Inspired in part by youtube-dl by which I've downloaded many other good videos such those from Khan Academy.


  • Intentionally detailed names, so that it will display and sort properly on most interfaces (e.g., MX Video on Andriod phone).
  • Regex-based section (week) and lecture name filters to download only certain resources.
  • File format extension filter to grab resource types you want.
  • Tested on both Linux and Windows.


Requires Python 2.x (where x >= 5) and a free Coursera account enrolled in the class of interest.

  1. Install any missing dependencies.

    • Beautiful Soup 3
      Ubuntu/Debian: sudo apt-get install python-beautifulsoup
      Other: easy_install BeautifulSoup
    • Argparse
      Ubuntu/Debian: sudo apt-get install python-argparse
      Other: easy_install argparse
    • easy_install
      Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
  2. Create a account and enroll in a class. e.g.

  3. Login to that class with your web browser.

  4. Locate or export your Netscape-style cookies file with a browser extension.
    Chrome: Cookie.txt Export
    Firefox: Export Cookies 1.2

  5. Run the script to download the materials.
    General: coursera-dl saas -c cookies.txt
    Filter by section name: coursera-dl saas -c cookies.txt -sf "Chapter_Four"
    Filter by lecture name: coursera-dl saas -c cookies.txt -lf "3.1_"
    Download only ppt files: coursera-dl saas -c cookies.txt -f "ppt"


  • If it's finding 0 sections, you most likely have an invalid cookies file.

    • It's possible the cookies are already expired. This can happen very quickly. Try recreating your cookies.txt by logging in and re-copying the cookie file (step 3-5 above).
    • If you get the error: "ValueError: need more than 1 value to unpack", the process or text editor you used to copy the cookie.txt probably converted the tabs to spaces.
  • If you've tried recreating your cookies.txt and still have problems, please post to issues.


Post bugs and enhancement requests to issues. Send any other questions or comments to:
John Lehmann: first last at geemail dotcom or @jplehmann