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Cleveland, Ohio

Bruce Bolton of CourseBuffet

Meet Bruce Bolton, founder of CourseBuffet, a company that offers a selection of free courses available from top colleges and universities in sequential order for students looking to earn their degrees online. Located in downtown Cleveland, CourseBuffet has three employees.
How is CourseBuffet different than online universities?
We are a course catalog for online learning. Most online sites have Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offerings, where there may be the coursework but no assignments or tests. If you want to do substantial learning, we do what is the equivalent to traditional college. All of the courses we list are given a course number so you can compare similar courses on similar levels. You can read course descriptions, ratings and reviews, and then pick the right one for your needs.
After completing a course, you can take a test from a certified examiner to earn a certificate. In one click, you can lay out your degree from the 500 college courses we offer. It’s much more affordable than private online universities that can cost $40,000 for a degree.
What other courses will you offer in the future?
We plan to offer continuing learning classes for companies that want to offer the opportunity to their employees.
Why do colleges offer free online courses?
It’s a combination of opportunity and fear. Opportunity: It’s getting the college’s name out there. If the college is online, new people, who may not have heard of them, will. Fear: If another university is offering it and you’re not, you might get left behind.
Why did you move your offices to Ohio from Seattle in February?
We were looking at different business incubators and found Bizdom. I applied, and here I am. I had never been to Cleveland, or Ohio, or even the general area before February. I was actually in India at the time and flew from India to Cleveland. I’m from Seattle, but I moved around a lot.
What surprised you about Ohio?
You don’t realize the magnitude of the Great Lakes until you see them. I’ve seen them from the air, but I had never seen them from land. It’s kind of like oceanfront property. Also, not being from Cleveland, I never realized how many universities are here. Riding the RTA HealthLine to work, I pass at least three universities.
I chose to live in Little Italy because it is close to the Rapid, but I also ride my bike to places like CWRU (Case Western Reserve University) and the Cleveland Museum of Art and I love the interesting architecture and old churches.

Interview by Karin Rice

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