Followed by last week's blog, I would like to write MOOCs again because I found the potential new star in MOOCs yesterday. This is "Nanodegree" provided by Udacity, one of the big names in MOOCs. Unlike Edex and Coursera, two big names of MOOCs, Udacity have a close relationship with industries, such as AT&T, Facebook and Google. Therefore "Nanodegree" courses will provide project based programs and make participants be ready to be hired. According to the blog of Udacity, AT&T is offering 100 paid internships to top graduates of the nanodegree program and will consider students with nanodegrees when there is a potential job match. Nanodegree is a trademark of Udacity.
Comparing other courses that I took before in MOOCs, nanodegree might have advantages to them.
1. It is focused on "being ready to be hired"
It is always said that current higher education cannot meet the demand from industries so there is a gap between knowledge and skills of college graduates and ones required by employers. Although the details of the courses are not disclosed, it is expected to be based on activities and operations in industries, rather than academics. From the standpoint of employers, it is good that Nanodegree is created for the needs of industries, so that It has far less mismatch to the needs of the industries.
2. It is not free, however, still far cheaper than on-campus courses.
It will cost $200 USD per month and it takes from 6 to 12 months to complete the courses. Compared with the on-campus courses, it is much cheaper. I think one of the reasons not to be free is that coaching is available to participants during the courses. It is considered to be necessary for participants to learn the courses effectively and be motivated through the courses.
3. It takes less than one year to finish the courses and obtain the certificates
According to Udacity, it takes from 6 to 12 months to complete the courses when participants use 10 hours per week for the course. So it may be completed less than 6 months when participants use more than 10 hours per week to learn the course. It is very good, especially for participants who are already working. Although course sequences are also available In Edex and Coursera (X-series in Edex, Specialization in Coursera), some of them can not be completed within 6 months. Business environment changes so quickly so the shorter the course is, the better it is for participants.
According to Udacity blog, nanodegree is expected to start this fall in 2014. There will be five courses, front-end web developer, back-end web developer, iOS mobile developer, Android mobile developer and data analyst. I would like to take one of them and obtain the expertise of it. It must be exciting!