The American University in Cairo (AUC) and online educational platform Udacity are partnering to bring tech curriculum onto campus next year.AUC President Francis J. Ricciardone announced the partnership at the RiseUp Summit on the Greek Campus Saturday, noting that it is in line with the University’s mission to be a global, forward-looking institution that benefits the country.“Egypt is a positive, strong, dynamic, energetic place," said Ricciardone. "Yes, it’s about the past; it’s where mankind civilized. The past is terrific and it’s marvelous -- but it’s really about the future and that’s why all of us are here today at the RiseUp Summit. We have a certain global brand, and so does Udacity. Putting us together will be the essence of any great partnership. It’s not simply additive -- doing what we already do and what Udacity does -- but it’s transformative. We want to use Udacity’s know-how in the field of artificial intelligence, online learning, blended learning, machine learning -- the way learning is going in the future.”
The partnership -- whose official launch date is forthcoming -- is called Connect @ AUC. It is Udacity’s first partnership with an educational institution in Egypt and the MENA region. The company aims to offer AUC students in-person access to events and programs that mirror Udacity’s connect sessions, which are hybrid, blended-learning model courses that connect students with tech companies.
This program will combine online curricula with physical classrooms, with an initial focus on data science and mobile development. These courses allow students to learn skills in demand in the tech industry, according to Clarissa Shen, COO of Udacity. “We want to bring the power of Udacity together with AUC so that we can bring many more amazing industry-relevant training and skills to the AUC community,” she said. “Our team in Egypt has worked to make our services and products available in Arabic to increase access to these programs. We have made significant investments to bring the right leadership and team to this initiative to build the jobs of tomorrow in the region.”
Udacity currently offers nanodegree courses in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, as well as app and web development and digital marketing. The company collaborates with corporations including Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Mercedes-Benz to design curricula that prepare students for careers of the future.
AUC is also a pioneer in blended learning. The University has trained 68 faculty members in designing blended courses, delivered four blended courses and introduced five Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). More than 15 blended courses are in the works this year.
This partnership marks yet another step in AUC’s mission to advance the possibilities of blended education.