May 16, 2013


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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