Udacity to partner with San Jose State University

Jan. 16, 2013, 12:30 a.m.

Udacity announced a partnership with San Jose State University (SJSU), bringing the online course platform to a physical campus in a move that San Jose State president Mohammad Qayoumi hopes will be a “game-changer.”

The partnership, announced at a press conference Tuesday morning, involves the creation of entry-level and remedial courses.

Udacity is the brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, a former Stanford lecturer, and is one of the growing number of online course platforms with origins in the Farm.

Three courses will be offered at a cost of $150 each, expenses that are mostly for administration, with any profits to be split by Udacity and SJSU. The three courses will be pre-algebra, algebra and statistics and will be taught by five professors.

The pilot program is restricted to only 300 students, half from the University and half from local community colleges and high schools, with the program monitored by SJSU using National Science Foundation funding.

The course will be designed to take advantage of Udacity’s online infrastructure but will also include human interaction between its online lectures and quizzes.

“It’s easy to get lost in an online course,” said Ellen Junn, San Jose State’s provost.

Students will study their lectures at their own pace, and despite the promises the collaboration offers, Thrun emphasized that this remains an experiment.

“There’s a big ‘if’ here because we are very skeptical ourselves whether this actually works,” he said. “We set it up as an experiment of scale, but we don’t know if this is a viable path to education.”

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