Udacity's first partnership with an institution of higher learning might not have turned out as well as it hoped, but a setback at San Jose State University won't cause the online learning portal to call it quits on college campuses. Quite the contrary, in fact. Today, Udacity announced the creation of the Open Education Alliance to "bridge the gap between the skills employers need and what traditional universities teach." The alliance is comprised of both Silicon Valley heavyweights like Google, AT&T and NVIDIA and educators including Georgia Tech and Khan Academy. The OEA's goal is to enlist the help of both companies and educators in building a new curriculum to help students learn what they need to choose and succeed in a modern career.
Here at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013, Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom discussed the need for a shift in our educational system, and consequently the OEA. "It's important to be creative about this," said Thrun, "we need to move away from an 'industry of drones' by enabling students to learn at their own speed." Naturally, accomplishing this task requires a combination of Udacity's online learning tools to give folks on-demand access to learning materials they need and a physical classroom environment to keep students on task. According to Newsom, "It's not mass education anymore, it's personalized."