My introductory statistics course was one of the first MOOCs (massive open online course) that took the edtech world by storm in 2012. Since launching on January 30, 2013, over 70,000 students have enrolled. When it first launched, Udacity was piloting a partnership with San Jose State University (SJSU) to allow students to receive 3 units of college credit for $150. It was highly successful, with pass rates in the online course exceeding those of the traditional course. While the partnership (and ability to complete the course for college credit) has ended, the course continues to serve people all over the world.

As the instructional designer and course developer, I worked with SJSU professors Ron Rogers and Sean Laraway to determine the high-level curriculum. I then wrote detailed lesson plans which I recorded in the studio. All course content is hand-drawn or spoken by me (see “Behind the Scenes of a MOOC” in the press section below for more details on how I created the course). I then built all content into Udacity’s custom learning platform.

The course has since been split into two. Visit the course homepages for Part 1 or Part 2, or see screenshots and sample videos below.


Hi Katie,

I just wanted to send you an email to thank you a million times for your work on Udacity’s Intro to Descriptive and Inferential Statistics.

These are the best courses I’ve followed in a long time. It made stats as easy as Sal Khan made maths easy for me on Khan Academy.

And that’s coming from a 25 year old who hated maths at school.

Once again, thank you. This was awesome.

I just finished your awesome Udacity Descriptive and Inferential Statistics courses. I even wrote down the Hypothesis Testing Song Lyrics! Wanted to personally say thank you for the quality videos and exercises. It must have taken you ages to prepare. (I did statistics in school but things never seemed to make sense. It makes so much more sense now after the Udacity course). I particularly like your teaching styles – the way you talked and drew pictures really helped me understanding the course materials. It is inspiring to me. So once again, thank you!!!

I want to express my sincere gratitude to the professors for this wonderful class. Katie and other professors made a fantastic effort to explain this complicated subject in a very accessible and fun way. Thank you for your work!!!

Katie Kormanik’s style of teaching makes my learning efficient and fun. There is no trace of boredom in her voice when explaining the concepts. There is no impatience either she is also very thorough. She sounds as thought she cares about her teaching. All of these qualities are infectious. They make me pay attention. Her patience gives me ‘permission’ to be patient with myself. Her thoroughness is an example to me which I try to take on board.

I am thoroughly enjoying this course. The visuals, the clarity/flow of your presentations, the interactive nature … its all fantastic. I like that I can watch it over and over. I find this kind of learning so much better than the traditional classroom approach. Often, I would lose track of the instructors flow just trying to digest/copy down/keep up with the previous topic. At this stage in my life, I don’t have time to go to a classroom. Late nights on the computer are the only way for me. I am very grateful for this course and think this MOOC/online business is amazing, enriching, and a significant enhancement to education.

All of you are brilliant! I have never seen material or lessons plans so well thought out. I have completed 4 degree programs and have had a lot of experience with and in education and engineering and this course is the best I have ever experienced.

The Udacity course on statistics with Katie Kormanik has lots of well designed problems to work on as she taught various statistical concepts. This helped make sure that I really understood what was being taught and strongly cemented the concepts in my mind. That being said, this particular course is very well designed and it was clear that the instructor had actual experience _teaching_ (she has a M.Ed. from Stanford).
(From YCombinator thread)