One Down, Many To Go

Career College Central summary:

  • Administrators at the Georgia Institute of Technology are optimistic but “not declaring victory” after one semester of its affordable online master’s degree program in computer science. While the program has been well-received by students, administrators are still striving to solve an equation that balances cost, academic quality and support services.
  • “We’re not all the way there yet, but I couldn’t ask for a much better start,” Zvi Galil, dean of the College of Computing, wrote last month in an email to Georgia Tech faculty on the one-year anniversary of the program's announcement.
  • The initiative has been closely watched since last spring's announcement — and not just because of the dramatic savings it offers compared to the university’s on-campus program. A three-credit-hour online course costs less than a single credit hour of face-to-face education — $402 versus $472, based on spring 2013 tuition rates. The goal is to get much larger than a traditional program could sustain, but also much smaller than the average MOOC.
  • The savings gap may narrow as Georgia Tech scales the program. “We hope to be able to stick with this tuition, but whether this is the right tuition, we don’t know yet,” said Galil, who estimated an enrollment of a few thousand students could be enough to balance the budget.
  • The master’s degree program also represents an important investment for Udacity, the one-time massive open online course provider that has recently gravitated toward paid certificates and corporate training.

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