Poor planning appears to be a factor in the disappointing outcome of one Udacity pilot program.
San Jose State suspends its project with Udacity to offer low-cost, for-credit online courses after many students fail to pass them.
San Jose State University is suspending a highly touted collaboration with online provider Udacity to offer low-cost, for-credit online courses after finding that more than half of the students failed to pass the classes, officials said Thursday.
Preliminary results from a spring pilot project found student pass rates of 20% to 44% in remedial math, college-level algebra and elementary statistics courses. In a somewhat more promising outcome, 83% of students completed the classes.
The San Jose State experiment with online education was being closely watched by other universities as they begin to step farther into the virtual classroom.
Udacity, a private Silicon Valley education group, and San Jose State announced jointly that they have agreed to pull the courses this fall to examine results in greater detail and fine-tune many aspects of the project.
“There are many complex factors that relate to student performance, and we’re trying to study the factors that help or hinder students in this environment,” said San Jose State Provost Ellen Junn.
Since the pass rates for students in traditional classes was not disclosed, it’s unclear how the online classes fared in comparison.
Udacity students were not typical San Jose students.
… Fewer than half of the Udacity students were enrolled in San Jose State; many were high school students from low-income communities.
Many Udacity students did not even have access to a computer. Yeah, that might be a problem.
Provost Junn admitted the pilot program had some difficulties.
She acknowledged that educators did a poor job of explaining upfront what students should expect.
“We learned that we could have prepared them better about what it means to take an online course and that this is a university course with real faculty teaching for university credit,” Junn said. “Maybe some students didn’t take it quite seriously.”
It appears San Jose State rushed into this new venture unprepared. After changes are made, San Jose State will again offer the Udacity online classes next spring.
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