Monday, August 19, 2013

Georgia Tech to offer masters degree for $6600

Many schools have developed MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that have attracted vast followings.  But most students who start a MOOC never finish and those who finish rarely get academic credit. 

What would happen if a well-respected research university decided to offer an entire degree based on MOOCs?  We are about to find out, as Georgia Tech is launching an online masters in computer science in January.  They expect to attract up to 10,000 students annually, mostly from countries with low per capita income levels.   The tuition will be a very modest $6600 for the entire degree, well below the on-campus cost of $45000. 

NYT reports that the courses actually will be offered free to everyone.  Those who pay tuition will be able to "take proctored exams and have access to tutoring, online office hours and other support services." 

The key to success will be whether Georgia Tech can scale up from its regular academic faculty to a much larger team that can engage students.  My guess is that the online students will not have as rich an academic experience as the on campus students, but given the cost savings they will be fine with that. 

And no, although NC State's Jenkins MBA is looking to grow its online program, we have no immediate plans to launch any MOOCs. 

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