Seeing Udacity students in fulfilling careers is what motivates us. It’s our passion, and our mission. We believe rewarding employment is the destiny of every Udacity student. Why? Because of the education and support our students receive. We believe our students emerge from our programs the best equipped, most prepared, highest skilled candidates out there. We actually know this from firsthand experience, because one thing we learned very early on is that Udacity graduates make AMAZING Udacity Project Reviewers!
Project Reviews are a critical component of our Nanodegree programs, and we maintain extremely high standards, with an emphasis on both the qualitative and the quantitative. Oliver Cameron, Udacity VP of Engineering & Product, recently described the early days of building our project review system in a post on Medium:
Our challenge was to scale project reviews while fulfilling two objectives. The first was that we had to give quality personal and human feedback to all of our students. We’re a teaching company, so this has been embedded in our DNA from day one. The second was that it had to be fast, meaning that if a student submitted their project on a Sunday at 10AM, they would have their project reviewed by noon that very same day. Fast feedback loops are essential for effective learning.
One of the early experiments we engaged in was recruiting Udacity graduates. While initially just one group among four targeted demographics, it quickly became clear that Udacity candidates were outperforming everyone by wide margins. Oliver, writing in that same Medium post, had this to say:
The Udacity graduates provided not only the highest rated reviews, but also the fastest turnaround time. This group — in many cases with limited programming experience — outperformed software engineers at Microsoft!
It was a clear and easy choice: We would double down on Udacity graduates as our main source of Project Reviewers. I vividly remember the moment we went all-in with graduates, it was by far the most energizing and fun day I’ve ever had at Udacity.
We launched this new model in February of this year and the results have been truly remarkable:
- Our average project review turnaround time is now two hours. Two hours from a student submitting their project to having an email in their inbox saying it has been reviewed!
- Our top Project Reviewer for the month of March earned over $11,000! Many earned well over $3,000
- The students’ average rating of a project review is 4.7/5.0 stars
- We now have hundreds of Project Reviewers, all around the world, and growing!