Udacity Review

Posted by admin on June 23, 2012 under Review | Be the First to Comment

udacity reviewsUdacity was formed by three men who have a goal of making education democratic. They are of the opinion that education is far too expensive in the modern era and it seems as if hundreds of thousands of people in America and all over the world agree. In 2011, free computer classes were offered in Stanford University and an estimated 160,000 students took advantage of the opportunity. Two courses were launched by Udacity in February 2012 and attracted a further 90,000 students. Sebastian Thrun, one of the co-founders, saying that he hopes 500,000 students enroll in the six classes currently being offered. Thrun has funded the project personally to the tune of $200,000 to date.

Education Standard
Yet even half a million students for the six courses is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Udacity’s ambition. Thrun hopes that they can eventually teach 200,000 students per class. He was previously a professor at Stanford University and taught approximately 200 students in every class. In his opinion, education is not something that should be a privilege, it should be a right. Udacity uses a free online platform which uses available technology to provide free education to everyone in the world who is interested. Unlike traditional free classes which are of a low standard, these classes will be taught by education professionals like Thrun and will be university standard classes.

The first two classes were ‘CS 101: Building a Search Engine’ which was taught by Professor David Evans of the University of Virginia. Thrun taught the second class which was entitled ‘CS 373: Programming a Robotic Car’. Both classes used a high level programming language called Python. The following four courses were introduced in April 2012:

  • CS 212: Design of Computer Programs
  • CS 253: Web Application Engineering
  • CS 262: Programming Languages
  • CS 387: Applied Cryptography

Steve Huffman, co-founder of Reddit and Hipmunk, is the course instructor for Web Application Engineering while Google Inc’s Director for Research, Peter Norvig is another high profile course instructor. The course format includes video lectures with text along with quizzes and even homework assignments. The purpose of the quizzes is to help reinforce ideas and better understand the concepts taught on the course. Once you have finished the course, you will receive a certificate of completion which is signed by all the instructors.

Verdict
For now, Udacity is focusing on computer and technology related courses which are not to everyone’s tastes. However, the format essentially means that this project has unlimited potential. Most of the courses last a couple of months at present but students claim that a huge number of topics are covered in that time. It’s easy to forget that regular college courses in some countries often only have approximately 12-16 hours of course material to cover. Instead of a long, drawn out process, Udacity allows you to quickly cover ground. Although it is only new, Udacity is already a remarkable achievement. Plans for expansion are already being made with an additional eight courses on the 2012 curriculum. The founders of Udacity deserve an immense amount of credit for bringing university level education to the masses.

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