Public Affairs, The California State University

SJSU and Udacity Explore New Options for Online Higher Education

By Erik Fallis

Speakers address questions from the community and media about the SJSU/Udacity partnership.  From left to right: California Governor Edmund G. Brown, SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, SJSU Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn and Udacity CEO/Co-Founder Sebastian Thrun.

San José State University and Udacity Inc. have launched a pilot program of for-credit online courses expanding access to higher education and confirming California State University’s leadership role in what CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White called “the vanguard of technology initiatives.”

“This partnership represents a step forward in using technology to enhance the learning environment for our students, wherever they happen to be,” said White during the announcement to 200 members of the campus community and media at San José State on January 15, 2013. 

This partnership marks the first time that a broad and diverse range of students, not just matriculated students, will have access to online college classes for credit from an accredited university.  The courses, Algebra, College Algebra and Elementary Statistics, will be offered at just $150 per course, about the same as a course at the California Community Colleges.

“Our aim is to focus like a laser on the entry-level classes that can be so tough for students the first time around,” said SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi.  “Our faculty members are working with Udacity to create the classes and our faculty members will be the instructors of record from day one through final exams.”

With the chancellor and president, the announcement of the partnership featured California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Udacity CEO/Co-Founder Sebastian Thrun and SJSU Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn.  The governor was particularly excited about the opportunity to explore a new model for expanding educational access for Californians.

“Millions of people are not going to college and countless kids dropping out of high school or not taking A through G [CSU and UC required] courses,” said Brown.  “We are talking about our society, our future and how we can all improve our skills, exercise our imagination and come to understand this great learning environment called California.”

Video from the program announcement and press conference is available here.