Students may be increasingly opting to get their degrees online but universities still dismiss them as a fad. “Udacity does have one partnership with a research university—Georgia Tech,” Udacity’s vice president of business development Clarissa Shen said on December 16, 2014 at the Center for American Progress. “They have grown their program four fold.” For most brick and mortar universities, enrollment drops are the norm.
It turns out that, although online courses are not capital intensive in the traditional sense of real estate to support brick and mortar classrooms, they do not come cheap. At the CAP event, Anne Wintroub of AT&T, which partners with Udacity, said that her corporation laid out $1.5 million for three nanodegree programs.
Nevertheless, Udacity and Shen have proven themselves more in touch with what employers are seeking in employees than most of the oldest established universities. “In an academic environment, when you collaborate, that’s called cheating,” Shen said. “In the work place, it’s expected.”
As well, Udacity, to an infinitely greater degree than traditional universities, stays remarkably ahead of the curve of the latest innovations in the marketplace. “When Android released its latest program, we were teaching it that day,” Shen said.
Shen herself, “co-founded a K-12 start-up,” according to her company bio.