SMALL DEGREE IN A BIG MARKET: Udacity expanded on two fronts on April 18. First, the company made 100 free computer science courses available at youdaxue.com to aspiring Chinese developers and providing localized support for its "nanodegree" program. In the latter program, would-be engineers earn credentials in specific areas of engineering that prepare them for software engineering and other technical jobs.
The nanodegree programs cost RMB 980 per month. The programs typically last six to nine months, and students who graduate are refunded half their tuition.
The company has opened up support for some of its most popular Nanodegree programs—Beginner iOS, Android Developer, and Machine Learning—so that Chinese students will have access to coaching, a student community and one-on-one reviews in Chinese by Udacity's team. Udacity is hoping Asian markets will play a large role in its business; the company opened courses in India in 2015.
It has also launched a career-focused meetup service, Udacity Connect, or UConnect, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, with first sessions starting on May 9, 2016. UConnect aims to mimic a professor's office hours or a study group. Nanodegree students meet up with other in their courses to set goals for themselves and work on problems with session leaders. Udacity conducted a pilot of the program and claims that students in it were three times as likely to complete their nanodegree. Nanodegree students who wish to enroll in Udacity Connect should do so soon. From now until June 30, they will receive one month at no cost. After that, the program will cost $100 per month.