From Thrun’s blog, explaining why the Udacity approach didn’t work well for SJSU:
The traditional-semester pacing of the classes didn’t work well with the lifestyles and time-demands of the students in the program. In fact, 30% of our students worked 30+/hours per week in addition to coursework. Another 40% worked at least part-time. Work, families, other classes, and high school schedules demand a more innovative approach to pacing and we’re committed to figuring that out with SJSU over the fall.
Thrun has been telling us how he is going to revolutionize education for a couple years now. Yet last week was the first time he learned that students work substantial hours while going to school. His education on this issue isn’t quite complete, because he still thinks this is some weird “nontraditional” behavior. Eventually one hopes he’ll go into the NCES data to find out his “nontraditional” student is not that far from the median student at a state institution.
Interestingly, his reaction to finding out students work is to complain that you can’t possibly teach working students in math in as short a time as a semester. (!!)