UDACITY is a brand new way to learn. It concentrates its focus on long term learning covering short course work that leads to developing job specific skills. This innovative thought on future education was born when Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered their online course, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” for free to anyone who had a computer and the internet. 160,000 people in 190 countries enrolled in the course. Hat’s when a light bulb went off that having one educational system that is lengthy and not always skill specific to the workplace maybe needs some tweaking in the 21st century.
Sebastian Thrun is a Research Professor at Stanford University and CEO of Udacity. Sebastian’s background in the tech world covers his time as the founder of Google X and as the Project Lead on Google Glass and the inventor of the autonomous car. Fortune Magazine has named him one of the 50 smartest people in Tech and Fast Company has named him the 5th most creative person in business. Time magazine focused on Sebastian and his inventions in their 50 Best Inventions of 2010 article.
Vish Makhijani is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Udacity. His background at Zynga, Yandex and Yahoo led him to develop great things at highly successful internet companies but his passion for improving education and making it accessible to all was always lying dormant.
Mission of Udacity
Udacity mission statement is to make education accessible, affordable, engaging and highly effective. Udacity believes that higher education is not just for young people but all people. With the average person having many careers in today’s world, continued skill-oriented education is important and there is a demand. In the old days, one person could make due with one education because it was more than likely they would have only one career. Not true in today’s world. Udacity focus will be to combine critical thinking with modern mathematical science coupled with a real world grasp on modern technology to make their graduates ready for a job skill-specific career.
The revolution in education
Nanodegrees will bridge the gap and not require the 4 to 5 years to learn like a conventional college or University. These Nanodegrees will take anyone from 6 to 12 months to complete determined by the students pace and how many hours they dedicate per week towards completing the modules. The Nanodegrees will be segmented to include five aspects of learning, from self assessment, course work, hands-on-design of projects, elective courses to solidify their background and specify their expertise, capstone projects showcasing your work, and Udacity sending out their resume to it’s industry partner’s recruiters.
All courses are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced. An example of a beginner course is “Intro to Computer Science.” It offers a two week, “love it or leave it trial period” and costs $99 per month. The course is estimated at 3 months in length if the student allocates 6 hours per week to study. All students can move at their own pace so a fast learner can most likely finish the course in one month if they devote 20 hours a week to the course work. In this course, you will learn out to build your own search engine and a social networking site. There is no prior computer programming experience necessary. You will also learn how to manage data, how programs execute, and how to solve programming problems with universal techniques.
Udacity is the type of education to help people who are downsized or lose their job due to technological advances and need the further education to regain their place in the workforce. This is not a one and done answer to education but a lifetime educational opportunity at a fair cost and the educational modules are short enough so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel from the start and not being bankrupt or owing tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.
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