Emerging education startups like Udacity are popularizing a new type of online class called an MOOC. As it targets massive amounts of students and claims to be sustainable, it might open new opportunities for companies to find talents online.
Online education, once deemed the territory of for-profit colleges and ambivalent students, has been transitioning to mainstream use with its adoption within the university system. In another step in its evolution, we now see the adoption of the massive open online course, or MOOC. The general definition of a MOOC is that it is open and scalable - free to participate, no registration or institutional affiliation necessary, and often designed to support a “massive” number of students. One evangelist of MOOCs, Sebastian Thrun, co-founded Udacity with 2 other roboticists. This startup aims to offer university-level education that began with their first class, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.” As MOOCs seem to be finding sustainable business models, they could also represent new recruiting opportunities for companies.
Open courses for massive amounts of students
The Palo Alto-based education site now offers 14 free classes, and supports a community of over 112K students and instructors. Udacity’s current course offering is centered around computer science, math and science, but their diverse hiring strategy indicates future classes in everything from geography to English and philosophy. With the possibility of low cost and location-independent education being supported by a growing group of members, its possible that MOOCs will become a viable sector within the education system.
New recruiting opportunities for companies?
Udacity also offers a partner company program, where high tech companies or recruiters can access student resumes. This program is free for students, and places them in IT- or development- related positions. Udacity has built a system that distinguishes high achieving students on a scale of distinction that can boost their candidacy. While classes are free to take, Udacity has constructed some paid features into its business model. Students can certify their skills online or at an in-person testing center for a fee. Udacity has partnered with Pearson VUE to provide these testing services, which are in over 170 countries.