I have been wondering how long it would take for this to happen!
[box] The Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing announced today that it will offer the first professional Online Master of Science degree in computer science (OMS CS) that can be earned completely through the “massive online” format. The degree will be provided in collaboration with online education leader Udacity Inc. and AT&T. All OMS CS course content will be delivered via the massive open online course (MOOC) format, with enhanced support services for students enrolled in the degree program. Those students also will pay a fraction of the cost of traditional on-campus master’s programs; total tuition for the program is initially expected to be below $7,000. A pilot program, partly supported by a generous gift from AT&T, will begin in the next academic year. Initial enrollment will be limited to a few hundred students recruited from AT&T and Georgia Tech corporate affiliates. Enrollment is expected to expand gradually over the next three years.[/box]
Georgia Tech is a very reputable school of technology, and this is a giant leap forward in terms of the cost of a Master’s degree, and the format in which that degree is offered. I was actually doing research for a post on “Why Online Programs Are So Expensive” when I stumbled across this news release. It made my heart happy.
We have all bemoaned the high cost of education and wondered how we could work to lower that cost and make education more accessible. This is an excellent step towards that goal.
Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
The curriculum of this entire program will be delivered through the massive open online course format. As many other colleges have done, Georgia Tech offers these open course online for anyone to access for free. The students who are enrolled in this Master’s program will simply have access to additional support service and actually earn a degree from the curriculum.
Allowing anyone to access this course curriculum is a wonderful way of getting back to the roots of education in my opinion. This places the focus back on teaching and learning and away from profit generation that we see so rampant among online programs.
This also gives you and I the opportunity to access the exact same curriculum that the students at Georgia Tech will be accessing. You could essentially earn a Master of Science in computer science (without the degree to prove it) online for free, by participating in these courses.
A Trend for the Future?
I think this trend will continue well into the future. In fact, I think this may BE the future of education. The Internet has revolutionized every other aspect of our society, why not allow it to permeate and revolutionize the way we view education as well?
Would you participate in a MOOC and earn an online degree in this format? Would you access these classes for free even if you were not trying to earn an online degree?