Online Degrees Through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

In 2013, the Georgia Institute of Technology announced that it was planning to provide students with an inexpensive online version of its master’s degree in computer science.  This past December, the first class of 20 students graduated from the program.  253 students in the first group are still enrolled and working on completing their degree.  While the computer-science program has 2,789 students enrolled online, 312 are enrolled on campus, and as with many programs, they have “experienced some hiccups—namely, that students are moving through the program at a slower pace that the school predicted.”

When the first MOOC was launched, everyone believed that they would continue to grow in popularity, but while many schools wanted to offer their courses through MOOCs, only a few agreed to give course credit.  At the Georgia Institute of Technology, the biggest selling point is the cost of an online master’s degree.  Enrolling online costs $7,000 whereas enrolling to attend on campus costs more than $38,000.

Georgia Tech “was on the forefront of an effort to harness the technology of massive, open, online courses […] to offer high-quality education a fraction of the cost of a traditional degree.”  Today, schools like Georgia Tech, including Arizona State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are continuing to work towards offering MOOCs as part of their for-credit program.  Right now it has become increasingly popular for schools to offer a hybrid-MOOC where students must meet certain admission requirements, pay for university recognition/receiving school credit, and sometimes even go to campus.

Online degrees aren’t for everyone.  Some people prefer to be on-campus.  However, many students that are employed out of state and enjoy online learning believe that their online interactions with their classmates are “Incredible,” specifically Mr. Agrawal as mentioned in the original article.

Even with the slow graduation rate, Georgia Tech believes that in 3 years they could potentially have 10,000 students enrolled in the program compared to the current 2,789.

For more information click here to read the original article, “Online Degree Hits Learning Curve” from the Wall Street Journal.