Type of site
|Created by||Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, Mike Sokolsky|
|CEO||Gabriel Dalporto |
|Alexa rank||1,781 (September 2017[update])|
According to Thrun, the origin of the name Udacity comes from the company's desire to be "audacious for you, the student". While it originally focused on offering university-style courses, it now focuses more on vocational courses for professionals.
Udacity is the outgrowth of free computer science classes offered in 2011 through Stanford University. Thrun has stated he hopes half a million students will enroll, after an enrollment of 160,000 students in the predecessor course at Stanford, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, and 90,000 students had enrolled in the initial two classes as of March 2012[update]. Udacity was announced at the 2012 Digital Life Design conference. Udacity is funded by venture capital firm, Charles River Ventures, and $200,000 of Thrun's personal money. In October 2012, the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led the investment of another $15 million in Udacity. In November 2013, Thrun announced in a Fast Company article that Udacity had a "lousy product" and that the service was pivoting to focus more on vocational courses for professionals and "nanodegrees." As of 28 April 2014[update], Udacity has 1.6 million users in 12 full courses and 26 free courseware.
In 2014, the Georgia Institute of Technology launched the first "massive online open degree" in computer science by partnering with Udacity and AT&T; a complete master's degree through that program costs students $7,000.
In October 2017, Udacity along with Unity, launched ‘Learn ARKit’ program which could help developers improve their AR application building skills. In the same month, Google partnered with Udacity to launch a new scholarship initiative for aspiring Web and Android application developers. While not yet profitable as of February 2018, Udacity is valued at over $1B USD having raised $163M USD from noted investors included Andreessen Horowitz, Drive Capital, and Alphabet's venture capital arm, GV.
The first two courses on Udacity started on 20 February 2012, entitled "CS 101: Building a Search Engine", taught by David Evans from the University of Virginia, and "CS 373: Programming a Robotic Car" taught by Thrun. Both courses use Python.
Four more courses began on 16 April 2012, encompassing a range of ability and subject matter, with teachers including Steve Huffman and Peter Norvig. Five new courses were announced on 31 May 2012, and marked the first time Udacity offered courses outside the domain of computer science. Four of these courses launched at the start of the third "hexamester", on 25 June 2012. One course, Logic & Discrete Mathematics: Foundations of Computing, was delayed for several weeks before an email announcement was sent out on 14 August stating that the course would not be launched, although no further explanation was provided.
On 23 August 2012, a new course in entrepreneurship, EP245 taught by retired serial entrepreneur Steve Blank, was announced. Four new specialized CS courses were announced as part of collaboration with Google, Nvidia, Microsoft, Autodesk, Cadence Design Systems, and Wolfram Research on 18 October 2012, to be launched in early 2013. On 28 November 2012, Thrun's original AI-class from 2011 was relaunched as a course at Udacity, CS271.
|ID||Course Name||Primary Instructor(s)||Launch Date|
|BIO110||Tales from the Genome: Introduction to Genetics for Beginners||Matthew Cook, Lauren Castellano, Joanna Mountain, Uta Francke|
|CS046||Intro to Programming in Java: Learning Java||Cay Horstmann||3 June 2013|
|CS101||Introduction to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine||David Evans||20 February 2012|
|CS212||Design of Computer Programs: Programming Principles||Peter Norvig||16 April 2012|
|CS215||Algorithms: Crunching Social Networks||Michael Littman||25 June 2012|
|CS222||Making Math Matter: Differential Equations in Action||Jörn Loviscach||3 September 2012|
|CS253||Web Development: How to Build a Blog||Steve Huffman||16 April 2012|
|CS255||HTML5 Game Development: Building High Performance Web Applications||Colt McAnlis, Peter Lubbers||4 February 2013|
|CS256||Mobile Web Development: Building Mobile Web Experiences||Chris Wilson, Peter Lubbers|
|CS258||Software Testing: How to Make Software Fail||John Regehr||25 June 2012|
|CS259||Software Debugging: Automating the Boring Tasks||Andreas Zeller||3 September 2012|
|CS262||Programming Languages: Building a Web Browser||Westley Weimer||16 April 2012|
|CS271||Introduction to Artificial Intelligence: AI-Class||Sebastian Thrun, Peter Norvig||28 November 2012[n 1]|
|CS291||Interactive Rendering: Introduction to 3D Computer Graphics||Eric Haines||11 March 2013|
|CS313||Intro to Theoretical Computer Science: Dealing with Challenging Problems||Sebastian Wernicke||1 October 2012|
|CS344||Introduction to Parallel Programming: Using CUDA to Harness the Power of GPUs||John Owens, David Luebke||4 February 2013|
|CS348||Functional Hardware Verification: How to Verify Chips and Eliminate Bugs||Axel Scherer, Hannes Fröhlich||12 March 2013|
|CS373||Artificial Intelligence: Programming A Robotic Car||Sebastian Thrun||20 February 2012|
|CS387||Applied Cryptography: Science of Secrets||David Evans||16 April 2012|
|Design101||The Design of Everyday Things||Don Norman, Kristian Simsarian|
|EP245||How to Build a Startup: The Lean LaunchPad||Steve Blank||14 September 2012|
|MA006||Visualizing Algebra: Patterns and Problems||Susan McClory, Sandra DeSousa||30 January 2013|
|MA008||College Algebra: Animals, Architecture, and Innovation||Julie Sliva Spitzer||30 January 2013|
|PH100||Intro to Physics: Landmarks in Physics||Andy Brown||25 June 2012|
|PS001||Introduction to Psychology: The Science of Thought and Behavior||Susan Snycerski, Greg Feist||3 June 2013|
|ST095||Statistics: The Science of Decisions||Katie Kormanik, Sean Laraway, Ronald Rogers||30 January 2013|
|ST101||Intro to Statistics: Making Decisions Based on Data||Sebastian Thrun||25 June 2012|
Udacity announced a partnership with San Jose State University (SJSU) on 15 January 2013 to pilot three new courses—two algebra courses and an introductory statistics course (ST095)--available for college credit at SJSU for the Spring 2013 semester and offered entirely online. 300 SJSU students had the opportunity to enroll for 3 units of college credit at a fixed cost of $150. Additionally, like other MOOCs, anyone could enroll anytime for free.
This first pilot resulted in pass rates below the traditional in-person SJSU class for all three courses. One hypothesis was that many of the students who had enrolled online had already taken and failed the traditional course, and therefore were likely to fail again. The pilot was repeated in the summer semester with an increased enrollment cap of 1000. In addition, the pilot was expanded to include two new courses, Intro to Programming (CS046) and General Psychology (PS001). This time, pass rates for the statistics, college algebra, and programming courses exceeded those of the traditional face-to-face course.
Despite this, the partnership was suspended on 18 July 2013.
In June 2014, Udacity and AT&T announced the "Nanodegree" program, designed to teach programming skills needed to qualify for an entry-level IT position at AT&T. The coursework is said to take less than a year to complete, and cost about US$200/month. AT&T said it will offer paid internships to some graduates of the program.“We can’t turn you into a Nobel laureate,” Mr. Thrun said to a learner. “But what we can do is something like upskilling — you’re a smart person, but the skills you have are inadequate for the current job market, or don’t let you get the job you aspire to have. We can help you get those skills.”
Each course consists of several units comprising video lectures with closed captioning, in conjunction with integrated quizzes to help students understand concepts and reinforce ideas, as well as follow-up homework, which promotes a "learn by doing" model. Programming classes use the Python language; programming assignments are graded by automated grading programs on the Udacity servers.
Over the first several months of Udacity's existence, enrollment for each class was cut off on the due date of the first homework assignment, and the courses were re-offered each hexamester. Since August 2012, all courses have been "open enrollment"; students can enroll in one or more courses at any time after a course is launched. All course lectures and problem sets are available upon enrollment and can then be completed at the student's preferred pace.
Udacity had students in 203 countries in the summer of 2012, with the greatest number of students in the United States (42 percent), India (7 percent), Britain (5 percent), and Germany (4 percent). Udacity students for CS101 range from 13-year-olds to 80-year-olds. Advanced 13-year-olds are able to complete multiple, higher-level computer science courses on Udacity.
Udacity used to issue certificates of completion of individual courses, but since May 2014 has stopped offering free non-identity-verified certificates. In addition, beginning 24 August 2012, through partnership with electronic testing company Pearson VUE, students of CS101 can elect to take an additional proctored 75-minute final exam for a fee of $89 in an effort to allow Udacity classes to "count towards a credential that is recognized by employers".
Further plans announced for certification options would include a "secured online examination" as a less expensive alternative to the in-person proctored exams.
Colorado State University's Global Campus began offering transfer credit for the introductory computer science course (CS101) for Udacity students that take the final examination through a secure testing facility.
In 2015, Udacity started the Nanodegree program, it is a paid credential program. Udacity also offers Nanodegree plus, which is a bit more expensive, but guarantees a job, if they fail to provide a job, the course fee is returned, although it plans to cancel the program.
In April 2017, Udacity announced a spin-off venture called Voyage Auto, a self-driving taxi company to compete with the likes of the Uber ride-hailing service. The company has been testing its project, based on production consumer vehicles, on low-speed private roads in a retirement community in San Jose, California. In 2018, Voyage announced a ride-hailing partnership with The Villages, Florida, another retirement community.