May 16, 2013

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Georgia Tech Takes MOOCs To The Next Level.

Georgia Tech announced yesterday that it is teaming up with Udacity, one of the leading providers of massively open online education, to offer a full graduate program in computer science. For a mere $7,000 dollars—or 1/6 the cost of the equivalent program offered on campus—students who meet the prerequisites can fulfill the requirements of a master’s degree entirely through open courseware.

This is a big deal. As the Washington Post notes, even MOOC-friendly colleges like Stanford, Harvard, and San Jose State have been reluctant to actually grant credentials for their online courses, preferring to use them as a teaching aids rather than as the foundation of a program. There have been the usual concerns about quality control, as well as worries that an all-MOOC degree could dilute the value of Georgia Tech’s traditional degrees, but Georgia Tech claims it has taken these concerns into account. . . . At $7,000 per student and with these kinds of enrollment numbers, this may be not just a boon for students but a good way of significantly widening Georgia Tech’s student base: 10,000 is a lot of students, and the open nature of MOOCs makes it relatively simple to scale up without dramatically expanding staff or administrative costs.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

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