Udacity and San Jose State put partnership on hold

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Just six months into the partnership between Udacity and San Jose State University, the experiment has been officially put on hold. While the partnership between the two remains intact, SJSU Provost Ellen Junn called the temporary suspension a “breather.”

Udacity, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), provider has admitted that most students that sign up for the service don’t pass the final exam. According to Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun, the current failure rates on final exams for are between 56 and 76 percent. Five courses were apart of the program and included elementary statistics, college algebra, entry level math, introduction to programming and introduction to psychology. Thrun also noted that 83 percent of students finished the courses, but it remains unclear why they did not pass or complete the final exam.

Officials have suggested the data shows that many of the students who enrolled in the courses had either little college experience or held jobs while attending class. Program officials are looking into whether offering more flexibility by extending the semester length can improve the outcomes for success.

The San Jose State program with Udacity was created back in January. It was praised by California Gov. Jerry Brown for reducing student debt and helping to offer a fast track to graduation. Students enjoyed a much cheaper alternative with SJSU Plus courses at $150, compared to about $620 for similar in-class based offerings.