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An Examination of the Outcomes of a Brief and Innovative Partnership: SJSU and Udacity


In an examination of a brief and innovative partnership, we compared outcomes for two disciplines, Elementary Statistics and General Psychology, across three formats: online as part of the San José State University-Udacity partnership (termed SJSU Plus), face-to-face (FTF), and online in a redesigned course offering. We also examine predictors of student performance in the SJSU Plus courses. The first offerings of the SJSU Plus courses showed poorer performance compared to their FTF and redesigned online equivalents. Redesigned online courses and FTF courses had similar pass rates. SJSU Plus course performance was significantly improved in the second offering of the Elementary Statistics course. More completed assignments in the SJSU Plus courses were associated with higher exam scores and final grades. We conclude that mode of delivery did not contribute significantly to variations in pass rates.

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The SJSU partnership with Udacity was a pilot project funded in part by The National Science Foundation TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science) program and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Promising Practices for Course Redesign Grants awarded to Professors Laraway and Snycerski by the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University System provided additional support for this work. We would like to thank Cathy Cheal and Jennifer Redd for their technical and infrastructure support for the SJSU Plus and redesigned online courses and the personnel in the SJSU Center for Faculty Development for their assistance and training in the use of Canvas.

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Correspondence to Erin L. Woodhead.

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Woodhead, E.L., Brown, P., Snycerski, S. et al. An Examination of the Outcomes of a Brief and Innovative Partnership: SJSU and Udacity. Innov High Educ 42, 463–476 (2017).

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  • Massive open online Courses
  • MOOCs
  • Online college classes
  • Elementary statistics
  • General psychology
  • Orientation
  • Assignments