Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 New Years Learning Resolutions

The New Year is around the corner! And here at Udacity, we’ve been talking resolutions and learning goals for 2013.  As we challenged each other, we thought it would be fun to share some of our (wide ranging) learning goals with our fellow Udacians.  

Everything from becoming better cooks, learning to be more artistic, pick up new sports, new instruments, new programming languages, new foreign languages, and becoming better teachers has come up.  Some excerpts from inside our company:

“How to become a master baker”

“Something artsy…like drawing or painting”

“Memorize and apply the major system:

“Even more cool dance moves”

“I want to finally learn how to whistle (motivated by my son who thinks this is the coolest skill ever)”

“I want to complete CS101!”

“How to find true, inner peace.”

“One new programming language (Scala? Haskell? Erlang?)”

As you look towards the New Year, we hope that you’ll include new skills from our courses on your list of resolutions. And we’ll cheer you on in 2013 if you share your goals with us on Twitter at #UdacityGoals!

Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you all in 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December Updates

Happy holidays, Udacians!  For those who may have missed our December newsletter, we had a few quick announcements. We know many of you have been anticipating the start dates for some of our newest courses.  Well, mark your calendars!

Intro to Parallel Programming - Feb 4, 2013 

HTML5 Game Development - Feb 4, 2013

Interactive Rendering - Mar 11, 2013

We had a great 2012 and are looking forward to the challenges that 2013 has to bring. We want to thank all of our students for taking courses, participating in the Udacity community and sharing stories. You’ve truly made it an exciting year for us.

With January around the corner, it’s time for New Years resolutions. We want to encourage you to make Udacity and lifelong learning part of your 2013 resolutions. Enroll in a course and share your goals with us at #UdacityGoals. We’ve put together some tips to help you stay motivated.  

In 2013 we look forward to hearing more from our students.  If you’d like to help shape the future of Udacity sign up for our feedback program.  Also, for the latest updates, follow us on Twitter, like us for Facebook or sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.

Udacious New Year to all and see you in January!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 Tips To Be a Motivated Learner in 2013

With 2012 coming to a close and 2013 just around the corner, a lot of us here at Udacity are starting to think about things we want to learn in the next year. I have to (sheepishly) admit that I set a few learning goals for 2012 that I didn’t quite finish.  So I have been polling friends, reading books, and browsing the web for ways to learn more in 2013.  I’ve picked up some great tips: 

Make Learning Personal

Make a formal commitment to yourself.  Write your learning goals down and set a timeline for accomplishing them. Whether its finishing Udacity’s CS101 or learning to play the harmonica -- set a specific goal, make a deadline, and measure your progress regularly.  Each week, assess how you are doing on those milestones and keep yourself accountable.

Public Accountability 

Tell the world what you plan to learn.  Write a blog post about it, tweet it, share it on Facebook, or YouTube … there are plenty of ways to let a whole lot of people know what you plan to get done.  For many people, this public declaration creates positive pressure to meet your learning goal. To really make this work be as specific as possible.  Like: “I am going finish CS253 in eight weeks; I will do one unit per week and take the final exam in the eighth week. Cheer me on!” You may be surprised by the cheerleaders who pop up along the way.  If you loop us in on your goals by tweeting them at #UdacityGoals, we (and hopefully the broader Udacian community) will root for you!

Buddy System

Pair up with a friend and share your learning goals with each other.  Check in with your ‘buddy’ regularly (every day or every week) and hold each other accountable for meeting the interim milestones you’ve set. I have really seen this work when I started running; getting up at 6am to run 5 miles is a lot easier to do when there’s someone waiting for you on the trail -- it keeps you accountable. 

Be Realistic

Whatever you want to learn, set reasonable, realistic goals for doing it. For example, if you want to learn the guitar, set a realistic goal of learning 5 songs and give yourself enough time to do it. If your goals are unrealistic, you’ll just get frustrated. For Udacity courses in particular, we know they can be challenging and can (will) make you sweat.  But set your own pace: take them one unit at a time and you’ll be amazed at what you have achieved at the end.

Study Something You’re Interested In

It is hard to stay motivated when you don’t really care about what you are trying to accomplish. That seems obvious, but far too often, we try to learn something that we think we should, rather than something we are really interested in. So pick something you can get passionate about and it’ll make it easier to stick to your goal! 

There are countless ways to stay motivated about learning and what I’ve summarized here is just the tip of the iceberg.  We’d love to hear about how you stay motivated to finish your Udacity courses or any other goal you’ve set. Join the conversation at #UdacityGoals.  Let us know your tips and tricks -- we’re looking forward to hearing from you! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Udacious High School Student Launches Company With Team; Featured on TechCrunch!

Perfect Menu LogoWe were really excited to hear about Andrew B., a 17 year-old High School student and Udacian.  As part of a team of six, he recently launched Perfect Menu and was featured in TechCrunch -- congrats!

Amazingly, Andrew’s only formal education in programming was from Udacity’s Intro to Computer Science (CS101) that he took as part of Da Vinci’s Lab, an initiative that has empowered high school students to take these college-level courses (thank you, Kevin English!).  As Andrew shared, he has been focusing his current studies in math and computer sciences and wants to pursue long-term careers in these areas.

And as for his CS101 experience, Andrew stated, “Udacity has helped me structure the way that I program.  Before I took the course, I had a very chaotic way of programming.  Udacity really helped with this.”

With that background, a few weeks ago Andrew participated at StartUp Weekend, in Bend, Oregon.   At first he was hesitant, but at the last minute he decided to go and ended up meeting Aviv.  Aviv came to the competition with a clear idea of Perfect Menu and wanted to form a team around this idea.  At the end of the weekend, their team won admittance to Founders Pad accelerator session. Not only did they see success at the end of the competition, but by the end of the weekend they also had their first paying customer! 

Andrew is surprised by how the company has taken off but is very proud of the team's accomplishment thus far and hopes the company will continue to grow.  Currently, he and the Perfect Menu team are enrolled in Udacity’s How to Build a Startup: the Lean LaunchPad course taught by Steve Blank.  Andrew is continuing his education with Udacity and is also enrolled in our Software Debugging course.  We will continue to follow Andrew’s story and wish the entire Perfect Menu team great success in all their endeavors!

Andrew’s story is a great example of a Udacity student that has taken charge of his own future and education. And if you are a Udacian that has a success story to share, please email us!

Friday, December 7, 2012

MOOCs, employment, and congrats to a student!

To close out the week, we’d like to do a spotlight on a fellow Udacian.  We want to congratulate Tamir Duberstein who recently landed a job at Square. Tamir completed a total of 6 courses on Udacity as he sought to transition into software engineering .  He received the highest distinction in Intro to Statistics, Intro to Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence for Robotics, and Design of Computer Programs.  He also completed two other courses Applied Cryptography, and Web Development.  

As a result of his hard work we were able to connect him with two employers in the course of a year.  Tamir was mentioned in an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education. To learn more,  here’s the full story.

And coincidentally, McKinsey & Co. just released a report on global youth education and employment.  A long read, but our long-term mission of advancing the education and careers of students by broadening access to higher education continues...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Local NJ News Profiles Udacity High School Challenge Student

In case you missed the results of the High School Challenge.  Here’s a great recap from one of our winners in their local NJ news, the Freehold Patch: Freehold High School students win Udacity Challenge

Congratulations again to the Freehold High School team who took 3rd place.  We are proud of this team who completed 750 units as a team.  

We are honored that so many high school students participated and took this opportunity to further educate themselves beyond the traditional classroom.  In total, 2,591 students took courses and 14,862 units were completed.  This is a great accomplishment and we hope to see further engagement from those in high school looking to get college-ready.  Stay tuned for future challenges!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Udacity November Updates

With November coming to an end, here’s a recap of a few things we announced in our monthly newsletter in case you missed it.  (To stay up to date on the latest Udacity news make sure you sign up!)

To get a taste of what launched Udacity and the MOOC movement, we are bringing back the original AI course!  We have re-launched it with some new improvements and you now have a second chance to learn the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence from Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig.  For a bit of history, we posted the back story on our blog last week.

November has also been our month of working to continue to broaden access. We’ve made all of our courses available for download and updated our terms of service to match.  The goal of this is to help students who have restricted access to YouTube or have slow internet connections.  You can download courses here.  

We have also signed with Amara to have 100% of our courses close captioned in English and make more of our courses accessible in different languages. And thank you to all of you who have already participated in our translation project and made our courses available in 45 different languages so far!  View each individual course for more the most up to date information for specific courses. For those of you would like to help us to make education more accessible in different languages, join the Udacity team on Amara

And last but not least, we were excited to see that TechCrunch has added a new Education Start-up category to their Crunchies Awards. Help us get nominated for a Crunchie Award by voting for us.

We have many things in the pipeline. To stay in touch sign up to receive our newsletters.

Continue to be Udacious!