Enthusiasts of online education are forever gushing about the prospects for high-quality, low-cost education, delivered to masses of students sitting at a computer.

In January, San Jose State announced a partnership with a firm called Udacity, and the results to date have been a disappointment. Udacity is funded by equity investors as the next new big thing. Technically, the Udacity program is not a MOOC because it is neither “massive” nor “open,” but it is a trial of the concept of online learning.

“According to the preliminary presentation, 74 percent or more of the students in traditional classes passed, while no more than 51 percent of Udacity students passed any of the three courses….The spring courses – a remedial math course, a college algebra course and an introductory statistics course – were chosen in part because of the wishes of Bill Gates, whose foundation gave the effort a grant,” university officials said.

The university will make improvements in the courses and try again. Udacity is expanding to Georgia, where “the company recently signed a major deal with the Georgia Institute of Technology to eventually offer a low-cost online master’s degree to 10,000 students at once.”