I wrote yesterday about exciting educational reform in India and the UK (Grannies in the Cloud). Recent news from San Jose State University make it clear that online education is still a work in progress.
Earlier this year, SJSU teamed up with Udacity to offer remedial math and stats courses to anyone could paid $150. They have since suspended the experiment after the fail rates were off the charts. About 85% of the students that signed up actually completed the class, which is a high number, but the pass rates only ranged from 20-44%. Apparently about 75% usually pass the same courses in a non-online setting.
Forbes has a good article detailing some of the reasons that the program might not have worked so well. Ironically, the title of the piece is “Failing Fast,” which I assumed to be (cruelly) referring to the students who failed the course but actually refers to Udacity.
I’m glad that the university is going to work with Udacity to rethink the program and try again in 2014. A lot of the trouble with the courses seemed to stem from the fact that they were put together in a rush without adequate thought and preparation.