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26 July 2013

MOOC train wobbles

Venture-backed online course provider Udacity wobbles as more than 50% of students at San Jose State University using its courses fails their courses.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Stanford startup Udacity, one of the big three providers of the much-hyped massive open online courses, has had a setback as San Jose State University suspends the platform’s courses.

The University had entered into collaboration with Udacity in January to offer five science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) courses at $150 a class to its students. However, failure rate of the courses has ranged from 56 to 76 percent, leading the University to re-evaluate the arrangement.

The problem seems limited to Udacity, as rival platform edX, spun-out of MIT and Harvard, also provides courses to San Jose. In the case of edX, the non-profit’s students have been outperforming regular San Jose students.

Udacity, founded by Stanford professor and Google Fellow Sebastian Thrun, is backed by $20m from venture firms Charles River Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. 

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