Recently, there has been a wave of amazing new online college classes offered for free. The frenzy started with Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence class in October 2011. Already, tens of thousands of high school students — some as young as 13 years old — have successfully passed college level computer science classes. Now, there are courses available in fields including physics, business, humanities, and statistics.
So, we decided to run a worldwide competition. At stake is an all-expenses paid visit to Silicon Valley and a tour of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence lab, where you will see the famed self-driving car! (And there might even be a chance to ride in a self-driving car!). Professor Sebastian Thrun will be welcoming the winners personally and showing them around.

Contest Rules

  • If you are a high school (secondary school) student, pair up with a friend from your high school. You two will be the team leaders.
  • Visit the Udacity contest page, sign up, and create your team name.
  • Sign up as many people as you can to take online college classes with you. These can be classmates, relatives, and even your teachers. You’ll have a special code for the sign up so that your team members can identify themselves as members of your team and get your team credit.
  • Recruit your friends over Facebook and encourage your team members to recruit their friends too! The bigger your team is, the better chance you’ll have at winning!
  • Start building your teams now to get ready for the June 25th start date!
  • Your team members then take as many classes as they wish; all courses are free. Any course unit that is successfully completed by August 26th will count as one point for your team. The goal is to get as many points as you can!

Team leaders from the top five teams will win a trip to Silicon Valley! If you are one of the winning teams’ two leaders, you and a parent can come to visit Silicon Valley. We realize that in some cases it may be difficult to visit (e.g. visa problems), in which case we’ll find something else for you to win. But we really are looking forward to meeting those high school students who managed to get the largest crowd to join the amazing experience of learning online.
Developing interactive online classes has been a thrill ride. Share the excitement of learning by taking classes with friends and family — and win a personal tour of Stanford. Start your team now!

Contest Q & A:

  • Why do we do this competition? To democratize education. Udacity firmly believes education is a basic human right and that it should be available for free. We’d like to share our excitement with as many people as possible, to help them gain the skills they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get.
  • I’m a high school student. What’s in it for me? Mostly, the opportunity to learn something fascinating. No matter what class you take you are poised to learn something new, to meet interesting new people online, and to build the coolest projects. What you learn might come in handy in college; in fact it may even help you to get into the college of your choice!
  • I’m not a high school student. What’s in it for me? Mostly, the same thing: learning the coolest skills and building the coolest projects this summer. Many online learners are working professionals and they, too, benefit from learning something new.
  • What courses are included in the score? Right now, we can only handle courses on Udacity.com. While there are many other exciting online courses on the Web, we don’t have the technology to integrate their final certificates into our system. But Udacity offers a range of exciting courses, including introductory courses to statistics, physics, and computer science.
  • What happens if my team members start a course unit but don’t finish by the deadline? In this case the unit will not count. Students have to finish each unit completely to get points.
  • Do I really need two team leaders? No, you just need one. but if you have two, you should have two times the recruiting power!
  • Do team leaders really need to be from the same high school? Yes. You and your fellow classmate get to become the community champions of free online education.
  • How about cheating? What if someone registers as multiple users, or writes a computer program that cheats? Don’t cheat! We actually have methods in place to detect cheating, and we will rigorously disqualify any team that shows signs of cheating. For the winning teams, we will check the identity of team members. We reserve the right to remove any team from the competition even if we can’t disclose our methods for detecting cheating.
  • Can we have an extension of the deadline? No. This contest has a hard deadline.