At Udacity, we believe you should be able to learn wherever you are, and whenever you want. Our goal is to make sure your mobile learning experience is always the best that it can be. So we are extremely excited today to introduce you to the latest upgrade of your Udacity App for iOS and Android!
Below you’ll find examples of some of the changes we’ve rolled out. We hope you love what you discover, and we can’t wait to receive your feedback! Your input is absolutely critical for helping us provide a world-class mobile learning experience.
The world of education is full of binary arguments, with perhaps the broadest and most tenacious being the ongoing debate around “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” systems. Other examples and variations include “academic” vs. “vocational”; “online” vs. “classroom”; “university” vs. “non-university”; and “public” vs. both “private” and “charter.” But when it comes to education, it’s not about “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” anymore, and true education disruption means going beyond the binary to promote lifelong learning for a learning economy.
Beyond The Binary
Many educational futurists would likely agree that these binaries are no longer truly relevant to the issues we face in education today. In a recent article by Dr. Liz Alexander (Co-founder, Leading Thought) entitled Women of Foresight: Changes in Education for Future Student Success, Anne Boysen (Founder, After the Millennials) refers to “an artificial boundary between theoretically and practically-based education”:
Young women of Chicago! If you are unemployed or underemployed, are struggling to pay for college, and have an interest in computer programming, freelance work, and the possibility of a technical career, you have a new champion of your cause, someone who is working just for you and wants to empower you through learning.
“It was a very good year.”
365 days. 12 months. 1 year. It shouldn’t feel so long ago, but somehow January of 2015 seems about as far away as Y2K. Was it really just the beginning of this year we were blowing your minds with data visualizations, and debating the merits of Python vs. R? And was it honestly just a mere two weeks after this year’s Valentine’s Day that we announced that all Georgia Tech OMSCS courses would be free going forward? Hard to believe, particularly in light of all the exciting news we’ve just had about GT’s first online graduates, but it’s true! How time flies…
Looking back at the year behind us, it’s hard to believe everything that’s been accomplished. Our students together comprise an incredible force for learning, and their dedication and commitment levels are other-worldly. Did you know, that if you add up all the hours that students together have dedicated to learning with Udacity, the total is over 450 years??? It’s true! Check our special Year-End Infographic if you don’t believe me!
Numbers like that are pretty staggering. One’s eyes almost glaze over thinking about it. When I get that feeling, it really helps to think about the students behind the numbers. The individual accomplishments just keep coming, and they’re all so special. As but one example, consider March of 2015.
Less than two years ago, Georgia Tech, AT&T and Udacity entered into a partnership to offer a groundbreaking online Master’s Degree in Computer Science. The first of its kind, this singular program continues to set the standard for innovative online education. It has been hailed by President Barack Obama as “the kind of innovation needed by the United States to address the rising costs of higher education.”
This week, the program (commonly referred to as OMS CS) celebrates a very special milestone. On December 11th, the first twenty students to complete their studies entirely through this curriculum will receive their degrees!
The program has been instrumental in opening doors to segments of the population that could not have earned an advanced degree previously. At a price of $7,000—almost a sixth of what a traditional on-campus degree can cost—the opportunity is a very real one for so many more students. As Georgia Tech puts it, the OMS CS represents “the best computing education in the world, now available to the world.”
To see these graduates join the ranks of Georgia Tech alumni is a dream come true for all here at Udacity. We are deeply committed to making high quality education available, accessible, and economically feasible at a global level, and as Georgia Tech Provost Rafael Bras has recently noted, the success of these graduates is proof that advanced education opportunities CAN be made available to a much larger student audience. We know by the example of these extraordinary students that if the opportunities are available, students will pursue them, and they will succeed.
To learn more about OMS CS, please visit the program’s website at: www.omscs.gatech.edu.
At Udacity, we’re constantly exploring ways to help our students succeed, and recently we’ve been focused on a couple key questions:
What would happen if we opened up new ways for our students to help each other?
Could students help each other achieve their long-term learning goals?
Every month, Udacity welcomes a new cohort of learners, each learner with a career goal in mind and a desire to master vital skills. They’re signing up for Nanodegree programs: 6–12 month hands-on learning experiences during which each student builds a portfolio of career-relevant projects. Upon finishing, a student emerges with a Nanodegree certificate, a credential that will open up doors to achieve their next career goal in tech.
Here’s the thing: Online learning is both incredibly rewarding and has moments where it can feel incredibly difficult. Most of our students are juggling one or more jobs and have a full plate of life commitments. We’ve heard from students that online learning can present similar dynamics to dieting or exercise —they know that their daily actions will get them to a long term goal, but it can be difficult to dedicate time to learning regularly while balancing other priorities. Success requires tenacity, energy, and patience.
Here’s the other thing: Most of our students who set a career goal do it on their own. They may share the goal with their friends or a significant other, but ultimately the day to day accountability can feel solitary. We know that it’s all too easy to tell yourself that today just isn’t the day or there’s a temptation to put off working on your Nanodegree project in favor of another commitment.
As a company devoted to democratizing education, we are always aiming to reach further and touch more lives. Driven by the mantra of “students first” and the desire to see every student we teach be in demand, our hope is to see Nanodegree programs growing all over the globe. A year ago, that was all this was: a hope. But today, we have over 10,000 students enrolled!
One of our fastest-growing countries in student engagement and interest is India. It is already our second largest student base; perhaps not surprising as India boasts the world’s second largest developer population with 3 million software developers. With the right resources and focus, India has the potential to have the #1 developer population by 2018. Which makes today’s announcement all the more exciting for us.