Thursday, July 18, 2013
Udacity effort at San Jose State University on "pause"
San Jose State University's has announced its plan to place on hold its collaboration with Udacity, an online MOOC company, after spring semester testing showed students using the online program performing more poorly than peers in traditional classes. The experiment, announced in January by Gov. Jerry Brown and encouraged by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, showed that only 51% students in Udacity's developmental mathematics courses passed compared to 74% of those in the regular courses. These results were announced by the university's vice provost at a meeting of fellow California State University provosts last month and shared with the Inside Higher Education news publication by the California Faculty Association, whose members have been critiquing the university's plans to adopt MOOCs as a way to cut costs rather than improve educational quality. By contrast, the university's EdX MOOC experiment, designed as a course supplement rather than a course replacement, is going relatively better. University leaders are attributing some of the Udacity course problems to its rushed creation last winter and selection of particularly high risk students. They plan to absorb the lessons learned and continue design work with Udacity in the spring of 2014.