Just in time for Technapex’s upcoming MOOC Madness event, Georgia Tech announced on Tuesday that they will offer a master’s degree in computer science that can be earned entirely through online courses. To receive credit for the master’s, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in computer science (and $6,000), but the courses will be available online for free for the particularly motivated casual student.
The program is supported by AT&T (to the tune of $2 million) and run by Udacity, which is following the lead of previously established online graduate program 2U. Full enrollment is expected to be available by the fall of 2014, and Georgia Tech anticipates 10,000 students will sign up. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Georgia Tech’s provost Rafael Bras explained the current problem: “we’re turning down people that are probably capable. We just can’t handle them.” The online program, however, offers a way of, “reaching out to the world through a different medium. There’s a lot of people out there that will have this great opportunity.”
It’s another big step for MOOCs and their providers as they seek to integrate into established higher education. When California introduced a bill opening the potential for online courses to replace oversubscribed entry level classes in the UCs and CSUs a couple of months ago, we speculated on the good that it might do. But any changes in California are dependent on the bill’s passage–Georgia Tech, on the other hand, has dived into the deep end by introducing an official program. Given that out-of-state tuition for Georgia Tech typically runs in the $26,000 range, it looks likely that it will take off.
Is this the
beginning of a major adoption of online education in traditional university programs? It’s hard to say, although the signs are certainly pointing that way. Georgia Tech told the Chronicle that it has no plans to expand the program to other subjects, but it’s hard to see other schools not adding programs like this in the future, or expanding current online educational offerings to encompass complete degree courses. For better or worse, online education is coming to universities near you…making Technapex’s panel on Monday quite relevant, wouldn’t you say?