email – 09/08/2019

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am following up on my communication sent on the 23/07/2019 to support@udacity.  As you will appreciate I have not received a response to this correspondence so I am contacting you again to inform you of my current state of thinking on all matters with some updates in connection to some of the main issues:

  1. At the beginning of the course it took 8 days before I was able to contact my tutor because there was apparently a problem with the messaging system.  It was shortly after Jun 26 before I had my first videoconference with my Tutor.
  2. I had a problem with AWS educate credits, which took until June 28th to resolve.  This prevented any attempt to launch a Db instance because my free tier AWS service had already lapsed on my own AWS account, which prevented me doing the practical elements of the course.
  3. When I did resolve the AWS educate credits issue I ran into a configuration issue on my AWS account, which prevented me setting up a postbird connection with the postgreSQL database.  I tried to get this issue resolved on the studenthub, which extended over the course of 5 days at the end of Jun/start July.  Students did provide valuable responses but nothing worked.   Simultaneously I requested my tutor’s help who committed to resolving the issue.  We were able to narrow the issue down but we couldn’t fix the issue either. Finally I resorted to AWS technical help but they could not provide any insight because they do not provide technical support under the free tier option of AWS.
  4. I tried to advance through the course but I was not able to do the practical elements of the course with the postgreSQL in place.
  5. I subsequently resolved the issue by setting up a new vanilla AWS account using my wife’s details, which worked without a hitch.  (I believe my AWS account – set up a number of years ago – may have config settings that are not compatible with Udacity’s cloud developer course). My main concern however is that the only functioning AWS account available to me is an account I have set up using my wife’s credentials which presents potential authenticity issues when I am making my project submissions? Her account does not have the educate credits which may become more significant if the course projects prove to be more resource intensive towards the end of the course. I would therefore prefer to go back to AWS and ask them to set me up with a vanilla account on my own account settings so that I can progress with the course anew using my own credentials.
  6. This is not meant to be critical of my tutor but I agreed to weekly meetings with him after our first meeting.  I very politely expected him to be setting up these meetings but several weeks past before I escalated the matter. It was only then that I was made aware that I needed to instigate these meetings.  This was not something I was made aware in Udacity’s initial programme orientation.  I can’t help feeling that ‘one-to-one meetings’ with tutors is not promoted inside the course because there are potential resourcing issues and that it naturally reduces overall unit profitably.  On reflection I failed to pick up on the rubrics around using calendly and zoom because I assumed that Udacity would not be using third party software to conduct what I would consider its core differentiator ‘1-2-1 mentoring’.  I expected this aspect to be more tightly coupled into the Udacity learning experience.  I can remember thinking at the time that my tutor was being a maverick using external software to facilitate our first meeting.(Udacity needs to put out a video in its pre course orientation materials indicating how the onus is on the student to initiate meetings; also a short demo is required  on the interdependence between calendly and zoom.   The assumption is made that by sending a calendly link that this accesses someone’s online schedule.   On reflection I thought the calendly link was a direct link to the video conference and that this link would expire and therefore was not something I would return to. There needs to be links to both zoom and calendly indicating to students how they should use this software.  This would highlight the reliance on using third party software and therefore what students need to do to fully engage with the mentoring service.)
  7. I also have issues with the career guidance service that is presented as part of your service offering however I would like to resolve the issues above first before I embark on the detail of this.

As you appreciate I am less than satisfied with the non-response I have got from Udacity so far in relations to the issues above.  I have set up two meetings with my tutor since I sent my email on the 23/07, with the intention of revising my course study schedule based on new timelines assuming I would be moved to a later course presentation as previously requested.

I have completed courses through pluralsight and Udemy and, I have also completed an MBA and degree in ‘computing and IT’ through the Open University online. I hope this illustrates that I am prepared to work through problems and that I am a proven committed lifelong learner – I don’t give up easily.  However like all learners I need to recognise that there is a community working to resolve any issue that I have in a timely fashion which to date is not the case.  I do still want to complete the cloud engineer nano-degree program however I feel that Udacity needs to give me the time to resolve my AWS difficulties and then to reintroduce me to the next course presentation with my three months in tact so that I can begin the course afresh with a renewed sense of commitment from Udacity.