Online course experiment between Udacity, San Jose State falls short

San Jose State’s experiment with online course provider Udacity produced disappointing results, according to an article in Inside Higher Ed.

Students taking Udacity math courses this past spring did not perform as well as students taking the same courses in the classroom. The university is halting the program to allow time to determine why no more than 51 percent of Udacity students passed any of the three math courses compared with a 74 percent passage rate in traditional settings.

The university has not decided to end its relationship with Udacity, San Jose State Provost Ellen Junn told Inside Higher Ed. “I think the commitment is to look at the data carefully and make adjustments,” she said.

The university is planning to offer the revised courses again in the spring. The student population taking the online course may differ substantially from the classroom student, said Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun, a Siicon Valley entrepreneur who invented the self-driving car. In addition, professors and Udacity staff were rushing to develop the course as students were starting to take it.

Amid much fanfare, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the partnership between Udacity and San Jose State during a press conference on the San Jose State campus in January. Thrun said at that time that the online approach would expand access to classes and lower costs. The classes, which were developed in concert with university professors, cost between $100 and $150.




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6 Responses to “Online course experiment between Udacity, San Jose State falls short”

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  1. Jeff Collins on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm07/25/2013 10:09 pm

    • 000

    Thanks for highlighting the online course experiment. The information will surely encourage many readers to join online classes to obtain knowledge at their own pace and convenience.

  2. Susan Frey on Jul 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm07/25/2013 1:26 pm

    • 000

    I checked with San Jose State University’s provost office, and they said the data regarding the statistics and other two math courses quoted in the article are accurate.

  3. MOOC_Insider on Jul 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm07/21/2013 4:54 pm

    • 000

    For some reason, no one is telling the whole story. No one is giving course-specific data…everyone is talking about the pilot program as a whole. The statistics class (Stat 95) is actually doing REALLY well! It’s just the two other courses that are dragging down the numbers…and that’s probably because of the reasons in the article. I don’t get why they’re putting the statistics class on hold too…it’s probably just political reasons! There’s obviously more to this story than Udacity or SJSU want to release.


    • navigio on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:56 am07/22/2013 3:56 am

      • 000

      the article says no more than 51% passed any of the courses, compared to 74% of classroom takers. that appears to indicate that it wasnt only two classes that were doing badly. is the article wrong?

      • CarolineSF on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:05 am07/22/2013 10:05 am

        • 000

        Are the statistics about the statistics class wrong?

  4. ava on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:09 am07/20/2013 8:09 am

    • 000

    We can all learn from this, taking online course is not as easy as it seems. Learning from a distance has its benefits but then at the end of the day whether freemium of premium courses success rate depends on its system and student profiles.

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