MOOC: Udacity – Audacious for you, the student.

moocs providers-julia lawrenceMOOC is catching imagination of everyone in the higher education. A large number of students register for several MOOCs, as there are readily available hundreds of university-style courses for free for anyone who cares to take anytime, and anywhere in the world. But who are the MOOC providers? why do they make courses free? Getting to know MOOC providers will help you to choose your online courses and plan strategies to successfully complete your online courses freely.

I plan to devote a series of posts on MOOC providers highlighting what sparked their origin, what drives their passion and what makes them stand apart in the multitude of online courses. In this post, I would like to begin with the story of Udacity.

Udacity_Logo.svgFounded in 2011, Udacity,  is an outgrowth of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence course (2011). It has the charming idea of being “audacious for you, the student”, as stated by Sebastian Throne, the co-founder and CEO of the company, and also named the 5th most creative person in business . The other co-founders include David Stavens and Mike Sokolsky. Though it’s a for-profit company supported by venture capital firms like Charles River Venture and Andreessen Horowitz , it has the vision to reach out to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world, to make high quality university-style courses free, and to usher in a new style of pedagogy other than one-way-chalk-and-talk lectures. Its strong mission is equally fascinating, as stated in its web site’s home page: “Our mission is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective higher education to the world. We believe that higher education is a basic human right, and we seek to empower our students to advance their education and careers.”

Prompted by the effectiveness of reaching out to a huge number of students who otherwise would not be reached, Udacity offers courses mainly in  data science, web development, software engineering, and non-tech courses. It combines course materials with coaching and realtime projects in leading tech-companies.  Its nanodegree programs is something to you may want to try out. It has a duration of 6-12 months. You can choose a skill level you want – new to tech, beginner, intermediate and advanced.

However I must caution you that you require to pay fee of about $199/month if you want to receive personal coaching, realtime projects and certificates.

Feel to free to share your experience with me on Udacity’s MOOCs.

Image source: Julia Lawrence

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