Online education platform Udacity is hosting the first Android development certification created and certified by Google. The program consists of six course, with the Nanodegree taking 9-12 months to complete.
According to Fortune.com, Udacity and Google are planning to offer three more Nanodegrees on Web Development, Cloud Computing and Entrepreneurship. They're expected to launch later this year.
Google made the announcement for its Android Development nanodegree at the 2015 I/O conference. Sebastian Thrun, Udacity co-founder and CEO and former Google roboticist, focused on the democratization of education:
"Education is the single most important thing on the planet, yet education is medieval," Thrun said. "The idea of one-time learning is insufficient and the cost of access has grown twice the inflation rate. We're democratizing and using modern technology to make it fun."
Udacity begun as a MOOC platform, but now is shifting its focus toward courses and certifications that teach students and professionals technical skills. Thrun confirmed the refocus of Udacity on courses with employability potential during his talk at the I/O conference:
"The thing[s] we're probably never going to do [are] philosophy or art history. Or if we do itâ¦I want to do it in a way that the people coming out of these humanities classes are absolutely employable by Facebook and Google and tech companies because I think there is a great shortage of great humanities thinking in the tech field."
The announcement of Google offering the Android Nanodegree via Udacity came as no surprise to many given Thrun's ties with his former employer, edSurge observes.
Those taking the Udacity course and passing the examination will become Google certified Android developers. This and all other Nanodegrees offered by Udacity are assessed by an international team of mentors.
Course feedback and mentoring in Udacity's courses are two aspects of online learning that encourage more students to complete their online training. Thrun observes:
"MOOCs had a 2 percent finishing rate, and a nanodegree course with feedback and mentoring has 90 percent"
A learner taking a Nanodegree pays $200 a month and learns at his own pace. Nate Swanner from The Next Web writes that Udacity's Nanodegrees have a different idea about how online learning should work. The intensive courses have neither attendance requirements nor social distractions.
Courses are not divided by semester, either. Nanodegrees offer pure knowledge with the possibility of a certification upon completion.
During an interview, Thrun told The Next Web that when a learner becomes a certified Android developer they are employability-ready. As to the level of skills acquired, Thrun said:
"An entry-level Google developer is completely consistent with this education."
Thrun envisions 21st century education to be mobile, on-demand and in smaller sizes than conventional university degrees. Upon completion of the Android Development course, Google will invite the fifty top performing students to a three-day career summit at Google's headquarters.