Redmond Proficiency Academy (RPA) will be offering high school credit for courses by Udacity. It is believed that RPA is one of the first high schools in the nation to do this, if not the first according to David Evans at Udacity.
Udacity is one the leading massive online open course (MOOC) providers in the nation. Udacity and its founder Sebastion Thrun, a leading researcher of the Google self driving car, have been featured on 60 Minutes, PBS and in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Udacity currently offers courses in computer science, engineering, mathematic and physics.
RPA will be offering the courses in an augmented / hybrid version called 21x. In the 21x format students meet two times per week with an instructor while concurrently working through the on-line content provided by Udacity. The first two course to be offered by RPA in the 21x format are Physics 100, Landmarks in Physics and Statistics 101, Making Decisions Based on Data.
Jon Bullock, the director of RPA, remarked that “21x courses put the students back in control of their learning. The results with MOOC based courses has been encouraging with students performing as well, if not better, than their in class counter parts.”
This opportunity was facilitated by Kevin English of Da Vinci’s lab. Da Vinci’s lab is a start-up non profit with the mission of providing unique educational opportunities for high school students in applied math and science through public/private partnerships.
English was one of the first people in the nation to facilitate a high school course using Udacity curriculum as the foundation of the course. He remarked that this new medium has incredible potential to supplement current high school curriculums by providing curriculum and expertise that most high schools do not have access to today.