Online Learning Update

August 30, 2013

Fewer Students Fail After Udacity Changes

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:12 am

by Geoffrey A. Fowler, WSJ Digits

After a disappointing spring semester, San Jose State and online education startup Udacity reported Wednesday that their massive online open course pilot fared much better during the summer semester.  While pass rates for courses in their initial spring experiment ranged from 24% to 51%, in the just-completed summer semester those same courses witnessed pass rates of between 30% and 83%. In the case of the most successful class, Elementary Statistics, the 83% pass rate for the online course even exceeded the 76% pass rate for the class with regular in-person instruction. In an interview, Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun acknowledged the different student populations made comparisons difficult. Still, “I am very confident that things are getting better,” he said. What changed? Based on data from the spring, Udacity made adjustments throughout the courses in how it presented the material that most challenged students.

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