Udacity And SJSU Partner To Upgrade Online College Learning

What if you could take an online course from a third-party site (not necessarily a university), and get college credit for it? Wouldn't that be ideal? In today's take on "Living In The Future," we're seeing a Silicon Valley start-up partner with San Jose State University in order to make those kinds of dreams come true. Udacity is in the business of creating online college courses, while SJSU is in the business of handing out degrees to those who complete coursework, and preparing the younger generation for the working world ahead. Udacity falls into the MOOC sector -- also known as "massive open online course." In general, these are frowned upon, seen as "not real" schoolwork. But in the Internet age, who says we need to show up to class to actually learn something?

The deal between the two entities is huge, and groundbreaking in many ways. It's a major leap of faith for SJSU, and it could be the deal that finally breaks the stigma associated with MOOC program. In other words, SJSU students can take Udacity courses and get SJSU credits. Not bad, huh? To start, the Udacity pilot program will include "a remedial algebra course, a college-level algebra course and introductory statistics." Obviously, neither of these courses are high-level biology courses or the like, but you have to start somewhere. At first, the courses will be restricted to 300 students, half of which come from SJSU and half from surrounding community colleges and high schools. The tuition will be lowered during the pilot, with the cost of each three-unit course being just $150.

It's hard to say what this will mean for universities on the whole. Hopefully, it'll go over well for everyone involved, and finally open the door for Internet learning to stop being a second class citizen.