The massive open online course format already has educators teaching classes from some of the most reputable colleges and universities in the world. But now you can actually earn a lower-cost degree, from a reputable university, after completing massive-online courses.
Georgia Institute of Technology announced this week that they are partnering with Udacity and AT&T to offer the first online master's degree in computer science. Beginning next academic year, a few hundred students will take part in this pilot program. After that, the program will look to grow gradually over the next three years with students paying $7,000 in tuition, a fraction of the cost of completing a similar degree program on campus. And, as Inside Higher Ed reports, the school will be able to dramatically reduce costs using the massive-online course model:
Georgia Tech expects to hire only eight or so new instructors even as it takes its master's program from 300 students to as many as 10,000 within three years, said Zvi Galil, the dean of computing at Georgia Tech.
The university will rely instead on Udacity staffers, known as “mentors,” to field most questions from students who enroll in the new program. But company and university officials said the new degrees would be entirely comparable to the existing master’s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech, which costs about $40,000 a year for non-Georgia residents.
AT&T will subsidize the program to make sure it breaks even in the first year.
"Because of this collaboration, anyone with a broadband connection will have access to some of the finest computer science instruction in the world," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We believe that high-quality and 100 percent online degrees can be on par with degrees received in traditional on-campus settings, and that this program could be a blueprint for helping the United States address the shortage of people with STEM degrees, as well as exponentially expand access to computer science education for students around the world."
At this time, Georgia Tech has no plans to offer massive-online degrees in other subjects.
Massive (But Not Open) [Inside Higher Ed]