Educating the Next Generation of Roboticists

Ryan Keenan
Udacity Inc
Published in
3 min readJul 13, 2017


A humanoid robotic hand, being developed by Udacity Robotics Nanodegree program student Glenn Cameron

Udacity goes to TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics at MIT in Boston!

In my role as curriculum lead for Udacity’s Robotics Nanodegree program, I spend my time working closely with a small team of engineers from our content partner company Electric Movement, and other developers at Udacity, to build the projects and lessons for this exciting program. It’s intensive work, and I love it, and when I do get the opportunity to venture out to be with the larger robotics community, it’s a real joy. It reminds me all over again why I do what I do, and it’s energizing to be around the innovators and creators who are powering this field forward.

That’s why I’m so excited to go to Boston next week for TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics at MIT!

WORKSHOP: Educating the Next Generation of Roboticists

I’m especially excited because I’ll be speaking as part of a workshop focused on education. Moderated by TechCrunch writer Ron Miller, the workshop is entitled “Educating the Next Generation of Roboticists.” I’ll be joined by Professor David Barrett, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Olin College, and Dr. Robert McMahan, President of Kettering University. Together, we’re going to share our views on the best ways to train the next generation of globally competitive roboticists and engineers.

The Udacity Robotics Nanodegree Program

At Udacity, our mission is to support lifelong learners all across the globe who want to empower themselves through education. By offering this kind of program, we believe we can make the world of Robotics accessible to every aspiring engineer who wants to build a career in this space. Because we’re specifically focused on connecting our learning experience to jobs, we feel ideally positioned to train the next generation and beyond, and so I’m really looking forward to speaking to the TechCrunch Sessions audience, along with my colleagues at the workshop, about our Robotics Nanodegree program.

Hiring Partnerships

One thing I definitely expect to get asked about is our hiring partnerships, which include leading companies like X, iRobot, Megabots, Bosch, Kuka, Lockheed Martin and Uber ATG. With 800 students already enrolled in our program, and nearly 5000 program applications received since we launched in March of 2017, our partners are really excited about connecting to a new pipeline of qualified talent.


I also look forward to sharing information about our Robotics Nanodegree program curriculum. I wrote in depth about our Term One curriculum here, and while I don’t expect to get into that level of detail during the workshop, I do know I’ll talk about how we use our project-based approach to give students the opportunity to work both in simulation and on real hardware.

Udacity will have a table at the event, and I’ll be there with my team members from the Robotics Nanodegree program, including Dan Reuter and Brandon Kinman, CEO and CTO respectively from our partner, Electric Movement.

If you’re planning to attend, please come say hello, we’d love to talk to you. Plus (spoiler alert!), one of our students will even be there with his robot on display! His name is Glenn Cameron, he’s a Robotics Nanodegree program student, and he’s working on his own humanoid robotic hand that’s being programmed to work with the Robot Operating System (which we introduce in Week 2 of the program).

See you in Boston!