Working alongside college professors at San Jose State, online course start-up Udacity will launch a pilot program for remedial and college-level algebra. Importantly, these classes won't simply result in a nice certificate, but genuine college credit. Students will have to stump up $150 for each three-unit course, with the intake limited to 300; half will come from San Jose State, while the remaining places will be given to those attending nearby community colleges and high schools. The online course start-up, founded by former Stanford professor Sebastian Thurn, says that its own mentors will assist university staff in administering the course, which will include instructional video and web-based quizzes.
MIT and Harvard's similar EdX course saw promising results during its own pilot tests at San Jose. While 40 percent in the traditional class arrangement got a C grade or lower, only 9 percent using the blended online course picked up the same grades. California Governor Jerry Brown hopes that the courses might help reduce barriers to college education entry -- more than 50 percent of entrants are unable to meet the college's basic requirements in math and English.