Udacity, SJ State Univ offer online classes for Credit

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Udacity, SJ State Univ offer online classes for Credit

Postby Eric » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:05 am

Udacity, San Jose State University offer online classes for credit.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-575665 ... or-credit/
So you've graduated from high school and been accepted at a four-year college. But when you arrive on campus you find out that you can't pass college entry-level courses, so it's back to remedial classes. That's the fate of half of all freshman at San Jose State University, according to Provost Ellen Junn. Add to those woes decreases in funding for higher education across California, higher tuition fees, and greater competition for college admission.
Those are just some of the reasons the university has partnered with Silicon Valley startup Udacity to offer San Jose State Plus, online courses for academic credit. These types of classes are called MOOCs (massive open online courses), and San Jose State administrators say this new program marks the first time a MOOC is being offered purely online for credit.
Udacity began offering MOOCs in early 2012. Wondering how massive a "massive" open online course is? Udacity currently has 250,000 people enrolled in one of its computer science offerings.
Eric

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Re: Udacity, SJ State Univ offer online classes for Credit

Postby SteveFoerster » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:08 pm

That's an interesting development overall, but I wonder whether these online courses are really MOOCs. The term has had so much hype that it's lost a lot the specificity that originally defined it.

Besides, online courses (MOOCs or otherwise) for credit are no solution at all for the need for remedial courses, since remedial courses are not for credit.
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Re: Udacity, SJ State Univ offer online classes for Credit

Postby Hungry Ghost » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:30 pm

SteveFoerster wrote:That's an interesting development overall, but I wonder whether these online courses are really MOOCs. The term has had so much hype that it's lost a lot the specificity that originally defined it.


Part of it is just trendiness, I think. Governor Brown is a CSU trustee, he's heard of "MOOC's" and apparently has the sort of messanic view of them that Silicon Valley always seems to have for any cool new technology. (It will change everything and solve all the world's problems!) So Brown has been pushing hard at trustee meetings for CSU to incorporate the hip new "MOOCS". (He will back off pretty quickly when the teacher's unions start to oppose him on this.)

I guess that the "MOOC" title is justified from SJSU hiring Udacity (the original "MOOC" people) to design and deliver the remedial English and mathematics classes that students are required to take when they fail to pass the exams administered to all incoming freshmen upon entrance. I'm guessing that these classes will be totally automated and will no longer require the attentions of a human instructor, thus lowering costs. Students will get credit for having passed them if they successfully pass some automated and computer-graded exams. And they will be massive by conventional university class standards, since half of all incoming SJSU freshmen will be required to take them, apparently. The classes will only get more massive if this initiative works at SJSU and the thing is scaled up and extended to all the incoming freshmen in the entire 23-campus CSU system who fail the CSU entrance exams.

Besides, online courses (MOOCs or otherwise) for credit are no solution at all for the need for remedial courses, since remedial courses are not for credit.


I suspect that it isn't literal transferrable university credit that they are talking about here, but rather credit for having taken and passed the remedial English and math classes. Passing the entrance exam or passing the remedial classes is a prerequisite for enrolling in most of the university's other classes, which do carry university credit. Perhaps this is how Brown is sneaking the idea past the professors, who won't be happy if machines start replacing them in teaching conventional university credit classes.
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Re: Udacity, SJ State Univ offer online classes for Credit

Postby SteveFoerster » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:06 pm

Well, the Udacity guys weren't the first ones to do MOOCs, George Siemens and Stephen Downes were. But Thrun and company were among the first to commercialize the term and have been the best at hyping the everliving shit out of it, so I suppose there's that.

Remedial courses are the last ones that should be automated, particularly for math. But I suppose they're running the experiment, and we'll see what their results are. If the data tell a different story, I guess I'll say sorry.
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Re: MOOCs - certainly no panacea...

Postby johann » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:28 pm

SteveFoerster wrote:... But Thrun and company were among the first to commercialize the term and have been the best at hyping the everliving shit out of it, so I suppose there's that.

Indeed they have been the best at hyping, Steve - and I was 'WAY over-optimistic when I first heard of 'em - and made glowing mention of Dr. Thrun's efforts in these pages. I've changed my tune. I still view MOOCS as a good idea but some can very easily go bad. And I don't view them as a "cure" for anything, although there have been serious inroads made on the assessment side, which was said by some at the outset to be severely lacking. Many MOOCs now come with serious testing etc. and some (not all that many, so far) are already approved for degree credit. One of the most apt remarks I've read was on DI - to the effect that MOOCS are the academic equivalent of the Kardashians - all hype and very little substance. OK. I'm good with "very little." So far, anyway.

I've pinched a quote from a link I found on another forum - all about a MOOC-gone-awry:

"The problem is that almost anyone can set up an online course and thousands of people will enroll. Unfortunately, there’s no guide to tell you who’s good and who isn’t."

Here's the whole thing: http://digital.hechingerreport.org/cont ... ashed_371/

SteveFoerster wrote:... Remedial courses are the last ones that should be automated, particularly for math.

Indeed. It staggers me that 50% of the incoming student body needs remedial work in the basics. I can't help thinking that at least some of these students might be happier, earn more and be more productive (and less debt-laden) if they were to do something other than attend college for four years. We need more people who can DO stuff, BUILD stuff, MAKE stuff, provide competent, skilled services etc. There's a darn decent living to be had from vo-tech programs. Meanwhile, the US has - last I read - around 360,000 people with graduate degrees on food stamps!

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/15/152751116 ... ood-stamps

I'm far from the first to say that we've erred with the concept that everyone not only has the right to a degree but must earn one, whether he/she likes it or not. Tuition at traditional schools has skyrocketed, yet a Bachelor's degree seems worth what a high school diploma was, a generation or two back. Now "revolutionary" concepts like MOOCS will aid in making degrees practically free to anyone. So what will the average degree (assuming there is such a thing) be worth -- THEN?

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Re: Udacity, SJ State Univ offer online classes for Credit

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:49 am

Pretty much what a new J.D. from an average law school is worth...bupkes. Worse; bupkes with $150,000 in student loan debt.

And yet, and yet...there are plenty of smaller cities in the rural areas of my state, at least, where that J.D. can be made to pay. But good luck convincing the Entitled Generation to move away from the East Coast or California to come here. Believe me, I have tried.

That's not entirely fair of me. We DO have jobs and work for new lawyers. We DON'T pay the six-figure starting salary that these kids need to service Sallie Mae and still have a life. Eventually, yes, but the first few years would be pretty lean. Leaner than actual unemployment? I don't think so but I'm not THERE and THEY are not HERE so nobody seems to know.
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