An Elite College Gambles on a Low-Cost Option
No shortage of controversy has followed in the wake of widespread adoption of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in today’s postsecondary environment. After all, our understanding of education is primarily through the prism of traditional human-to-human interaction. But one high-profile college has shown that when created and used strategically, MOOCs might just have the ability to educate elite students en masse.
After five years in action, new data shows that Georgia Tech’s MOOC-inspired online master’s degree in computer science has been an unqualified success. As Lindsay McKenzie writes for Inside Higher Ed, enrollment has grown from 380 students in spring 2014 to 6,365 in the spring of 2018, making Georgia Tech’s master’s degree program in computer science the largest in America.
To make it happen, officials at the school worked with Udacity, a well-known open online course provider. A huge $2 million corporate investment from AT&T helped to kickstart the project.
Joshua Goodman, associate professor of public policy at Harvard University, co-wrote the report for Education Next. “People thought they were crazy,” he said. “They thought that Georgia Tech was going to cannibalize its own revenue stream. But the profile of people applying online is so different, there’s virtually no overlap.”
The MOOC model is still a work in progress, but Georgia Tech’s success in creating a high-quality education for an affordable price could be the next step in our education revolution.