One of the boldest experiments in computer education these days belongs to Georgia Tech, a respected university that’s now offering a master’s degree program at an unheard of low price.
Georgia Tech (GT) is no secret in technology circles. Its graduates have gone on to major positions in U.S. companies, and U.S. News & World Report has lauded it for having one of the top ten computer science departments in the nation.
Higher Ed Disrupter
A few years ago, the school decided to break with other elite colleges who charge anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 for a master’s degree in computer science. Georgia Tech’s degrees cost approximately the same if you go to their campus for classroom learning. But If you want to take their computer science master’s online, it costs only about $7,000. in total.
Large, older schools like Georgia Tech have tended to resist the trend toward online education, fearing that it would damage their reputations and, perhaps more important, their business model. But GT has decided that with high quality online video production, a system that locks down a student’s computer with a camera during tests to check for cheating and other cutting edge techniques, it can provide teaching that’s as high quality as classroom learning,
Of course, you need to get accepted to the program. Georgia Tech is a selective school, and you’ll need a good quality college grade average to get in. But the online option seems to be expanding access to the school. Only 300 students attend its computer science program on-campus, while the number of online students taking the same degree has swelled to 4,000.
Favorite Of Adult Learners
The program has attracted many older students. The average age in the online program is 35, but a considerable number of students over 45 and even over 50 have also signed on. The school refers to it as a MOOC, or massive online open course, but most MOOCs do not confer accredited degrees. This online program does result in the student getting a full master’s degree. It is referred to officially as an OMS or online master’s, but it’s essentially on a par with what on-campus students receive.
It will be interesting to see how far the school is willing to go with such a low cost option, and how many other schools will follow its lead. It’s unlikely that Georgia Tech will see any downturn in applicants to its far more expensive on-campus program because it’s such an elite school. But other computer science schools may be a bit more hesitant to risk losing their highest-paying students by opening the floodgates to cheaper online degree programs like this.
Click here to read more about GA’s online master’s program.