Former students say that Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak's $13,200 coding bootcamp is 'broken' and sometimes links to Wikipedia

Woz U
  • Last fall, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak launched a coding bootcamp called Woz U.
  • But course materials were of low-quality and many students felt like they did not get enough value out of the bootcamp to justify the $US13,200 it cost to enroll, according to a new CBS report.
  • One person told CBS that “lots of times there’s just hyperlinks to Microsoft documents, to Wikipedia.”
  • Wozniak told Business Insider that he is “not involved in any operations aspects” and that he doesn’t “know anything about those aspects” because he hasn’t seen the report.

It’s hard to imagine a better sponsor for a coding bootcamp than Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple and one of the driving forces behind the personal computer.

But his coding bootcamp, Woz U, has serious problems, according to a new report from CBS News, with former students complaining about sloppy errors and typos in lesson plans, pre-recorded lectures, and even hyperlinks to Wikipedia.

It’s not a cheap course. The 33-week program costs $US13,200, according to the report, and enrollment is fuelled by salespeople – “enrollment counselors” – who are pressured to sign as many people up as possible.

Woz U launched last fall to fanfare. At one point, the plan for the company was to set up 30 physical schools around the United States. The idea was that, without proper training, many jobs in the American workforce are going to be replaced by robotics, artificial intelligence, and careers in computers.

So Woz U would provide high-quality curriculum teaching skills in fields such as “software development, cyber security, and data science,” according to the bootcamp’s website on Monday.

In an email to Business Insider, Wozniak downplayed his role in the company, and said he had not seen the CBS report.

“I’m not involved in any operations aspects so I can’t answer your questions,” Wozniak said.

“I don’t know anything about those aspects. I heard LATE last night that Woz U did respond well to a large list of questions so I’m sure that will come out.”

CBS reports that after reaching out to Woz U president Chris Coleman for comment, he “acknowledged errors in course content, and said they had implemented a quality control system to catch them.”

When it launched last fall, Woz U promised to fill in the gaps and provide training in relevant skills at a lower cost than a four-year university. However, at launch, the company wouldn’t discuss how much its courses cost. A spokesperson said at the time that the “cost of tuition would vary.”

“If you’re excited and you want to work for it, you’ll do very well,” Wozniak says in a video on the Woz U website.

“You and I, we’re no different. I changed the world and so can you. But it starts with making a change for yourself,” he continued.

There are lots of coding bootcamps and online coding resources that usually combine some level of in-person instruction and online education. Some are valuable, like New York’s General Assembly, which sold for $US413 million earlier this year. Udacity, which offers free online courses, is valued at over $US1 billion.

The website says that the next Woz U class starts on October 15. Woz U didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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