The 21st-century learning setting has been marked by the heightened use of Internet-enabled platforms such as Skype, Twitter, or even Google Hangouts among others that connect people around the globe. Although these learning environments embrace the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) framework whereby tutors deliver contents to learners who are, in turn, expected to handle test assignments autonomously, this study presents a more advanced setting, namely, Uber-U, where learners secure Google Android nanodegree among other diverse credentials through one-on-one interactions with global instructors during problem-solving sessions. Android elements taught through this platform may not be available in any other learning institution. As revealed in this paper, the group behind this platform believes that this strategy is important. It has significantly influenced business and the society in a variety of ways as it will be discussed later.
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The Importance of Uber-U
In an interview conducted in 2012, Sebastian Thrun, Uber-U’s chief executive officer, offered a detailed explanation of why the trend (Uber-U) was important, especially bearing in mind the rapid transformation taking place not only in the education sector but also in other fields. Firstly, based on the scenario presented depicting Mike as a learner from an unknown location and a Chicago-based instructor, it is apparent that Uber-U is global platform that targets students from everywhere through an app installed in their mobile phones or personal computers. This platform is an upgraded version of the MOOC structure because learners such as Mike get the opportunity to have one-on-one sessions with qualified tutors whereby they can ask questions regarding their specific studies or courses in addition to detailed and guided ways of handling such tasks real-time. Uber-U is a shift from these outdated approaches that require students to listen to instructors as they deliver class materials before exams or test assignments are given to gauge their level of understanding. As the group’s CEO reveals, Uber-U emphasizes the “doing” aspect instead of “listening” since the latter cannot be used to tell whether learners have grasped what is delivered to them.
In addition, Uber-U is founded on the awareness that learners from around the globe have unique educational tasks, to some of which they wish to get immediate solutions, regardless of the time in their specific locations. With the MOOC model, instructors may be inaccessible or not ready to help, especially if the particular student is stuck on one or two of the tasks given. Conventionally, such a learner is left to struggle alone before getting a corresponding grade once the specific assignment is marked. Sebastian Thrun believes that instructors are tools that are meant to ensure that learners complete their respective courses while fully capable of handling corresponding assignments. Hence, Uber-U allows students to cooperate with tutors live in every step during problem-solving processes. Hence, learners who successfully go through Uber-U sessions are expected to be better off in relation to their counterparts who adopt the MOOC framework or other conventional learning mechanisms.
Influence on Business and Society
Contemporary learning institutions enroll students who are expected to spend a particular amount of money and time to pursue their preferred courses. Such learners are never guaranteed of understanding course contents, passing exams, or even benefiting from the course after finishing their terms. While such financial and time resources are usually high in almost all colleges and universities, potential students may be left with no option other than terminating their learning. From a business perspective, when prices of some services are high, or when it takes customers a longer time to access them, the rate of their uptake decreases, hence influencing suppliers’ profitability levels. Hence, despite being a new education opportunity initiated in 2012, Uber-U is a rather promising student-centered learning program that is expected to attract more learners. While the group is recording huge returns, despite its cheap services, rivals are realizing minimal returns after losing clients. The competitive and non-excludable nature of Uber-U gives it an edge in the global education sector. Regarding its non-excludable aspect, it is crucial to note that some of the contemporary education centers only welcome students whose age lies within a specific range or who can afford the required huge amount of fees. In addition to being reasonably priced, Uber-U accommodates learners of all ages and professions except a few careers such as tennis and violin where individual participation is elemental.
From a societal perspective, Uber-U acknowledges the fact that some members of the community miss opportunities because their age or level of income does not allow them to access opportunities in conventional learning centers, despite their talent potential. The entire world is assumed to be harboring a huge number of talented people who would have otherwise been working for renowned companies such as Google if they were introduced to such an affordable and promising teaching model. In fact, from the CEO’s sentiment, Google will soon be holding a conference where top-performing engineers from Uber-U will get an opportunity to meet experienced people working in the company. The platform is helping many people, some of whom have secured employment, thanks to the certification and hands-on experience obtained. Uber-U’s continued operation is expected to transform the global society by ensuring that people who could not be accommodated in other curriculums secure quality and worthy education.
Learners who use Uber-U are guaranteed of understanding the way to deal with study assignments at hand because they are actively involved in tackling them under tutors’ guidance, as opposed to conservative strategies whereby instructors are not interested in following up to know whether students grasp course contents. As revealed in this paper, the platform is expected to influence business and the society.