Udacity drops free certificates

MOOC certificates could cost students up to $150 per month

brokeresizedThe massive open online course (MOOC) platform Udacity will no longer offer completion certificates for free, the company announced this week.

While students can still take the courses for free, Udacity is discontinuing its “non-identity-verified” certificates. Anyone hoping to earn a certificate proving they mastered material in a MOOC must instead pay for a verified certificate. Students can keep the certificates they have already earned.

The change, effective May 16, is to help employers take MOOCs more seriously, Udacity’s founder Sebastian Thrun said in a blog post Wednesday.…Read More

Udacity says pass rates rising in SJSU MOOC experiment

When San Jose State University partnered with massive open online course provider Udacity to provide low cost MOOCs for credit, it was heralded as a “game changer” by California’s governor.

Sebastian Thrun

One semester later, the initiative was suddenly “paused” after as much as 75 percent of students were failing some of the courses. Now, SJSU Plus, as the program is called, is making an apparent comeback less than two months after it stalled.

Pass rates for the courses sharply increased during the summer semester’s attempt, Udacity co-founder Sebastian Thrun announced in a blog post, with some rates even surpassing those of their on-campus counterparts.

“To all those people who declared our experiment a failure, you have to understand how innovation works,” Thrun said. “Few ideas work on the first try. Iteration is key to innovation.”…Read More

Udacity CEO says MOOC ‘magic formula’ emerging

After weathering a round of negative publicity, Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun believes vindication is at hand, InformationWeek reports. “The thing I’m insanely proud of right now is I think we’ve found the magic formula,” he said in an interview last week. “Had you asked me three months ago, I wouldn’t have said that. I’m not at the point where everything is great. There are a lot of things to be improved, a lot of mistakes we’re making, but I see it coming together.” Formerly a Stanford University professor as well as the founder of the Google X Labs, which created the famed self-driving car and the Google Glass wearable computer, Thrun co-founded Udacity in 2011 to explore the possibilities of massive open online courses (MOOCs). The success Thrun claims to be on the verge of is actually outside the realm of MOOCs, if you define MOOC as a free online course with a huge enrollment. Instead, he is claiming an early victory in Udacity’s partnership with San Jose State University (SJSU) to offer $150 courses for which students would get credit for a passing grade, just as if they had attended on campus.

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Georgia Tech to offer MOOC master’s degree on the cheap

The program’s core curriculum will be available to everyone online.

Georgia Tech will offer an online master’s degree in computer science for about one-sixth the cost of a traditional master’s degree through a partnership with AT&T and Udacity, a leading massive open online course (MOOC) platform based in Silicon Valley.

The online degree program will be available to about 10,000 students over the next three years, the university said in an announcement. The first students to take Georgia Tech’s web-based computer science master’s degree class will be selected from university and AT&T affiliates.

AT&T is offsetting much of the program’s cost, according to the school.…Read More

Popular video forecasts the end of traditional higher education

Sams says certificates and badges will soon replace degrees.

In Bill Sams’ future, only the children of the ultra-wealthy will attend on-campus college courses, the student loan industry will collapse, and Google will build an omniscient online educational system while Apple and Amazon team up to create a learning resource leviathan.

And all of that comes to pass by 2020.

Sams, an executive in residence at Ohio University, made the web video, “EPIC 2020,” grabbing educators’ and technologists’ attention with brave predictions of how the college campus will cease to be a learning hub, and online schools will become the new standard in a world where Stanford, MIT, and Harvard don’t much matter.…Read More