Seriously I don’t, but why not? A new venture, Udacity.com, wants to solve our college education problem by offering a Master degree for $100. In this new social networked world, Udacity and what it requires of its students may just be the ticket for success, and the solution to our education problem.
College education is overpriced, and ineffective. Let’s look at some numbers: Only 50% of college grads work in the field they trained for. The other 50% can’t find a job or are flipping burgers at Mickey D (source Huffington post 4/22/12). Furthermore, 65% graduate on average with $25,000 of debt (source CBS 6/12/12). It means 2.5 years of 100% burger flipping income assuming they don’t eat, drink, or have a life.
George Anders from Forbes reports today that a Google genius will solve this problem. Sebastian Thun is the guy behind the Google car that can drive itself, even in traffic. After having taught at prestigious universities (Stanford, Carnegie Mellon etc), he launched Udacity.com and aims to offer an online graduate degree for $100. Yes that is a graduate degree as in a Master, and yes that is $100.
Of course because it is online you will not get the “college experience”, the backing of a prestigious university, nor the network of alumni ready to offer you a job. Or will you?
The college experience: sex, parties and study hall? It is 2012 and we have social networks and dating site. You want sex? Go on POF.com and hook up with some one local in an hour. You want a study group? Set up a meetup at your local library. You want to party? Create an event on Facebook and invite friends.
The backing of a prestigious university: unless you are going to an ivy league school, there is no backing. Who cares that you have an MBA from Coastal Carolina University or from Edison State College? Most employers have not heard of any at the national level. Employers may be more interested that you met the standard of Google geniuses.
The network of alumni: does it really work outside of top universities? In France for example, most job ads specify the top school you must have graduated from to even apply. There are small “old boy networks “ . On the other hand, Udacity.com gives final exams every 8 weeks. How fast will you have a network of tens of thousands of peers in the job force? Peers who worked as hard as you to graduate.
It is online, it is hard work. It is distance learning, and it requires discipline. It means forging a go getting attitude, and superior social skills to make it. Because it is online it also means that it is cost effective. Even if you pursue the wrong degree and end up flipping burgers you are only out $100. In 2 weeks of burger flipping you could start over with right degree. Try to do that at any other university.