Let me start by saying that if anyone told me that there would be a “super-cheap online master’s degree” program in Computer Science I would jumped at the opportunity (Khan G). Georgia Institute of Technology is “offering a new master’s degree in computer science, delivered through a series of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for $6,600” (Khan G). This is amazing because the schools traditional computer science master’s degree costs about 4 to 7 times more for in-state and out-of-state respectively.
When looking at an opportunity like this I tend to weigh the pros and cons of the MOOC experience. It appears that competition is one of the extrinsic motivators that sparked this movement. Khan states that “Yale, Harvard, and Stanford have put many of their classes online for anyone to take, and for free. But there is no degree to be had, even for those who ace the courses” (Khan G). Additionally, Khan goes on to say that the Georgia Institute of Technology ‘s computer science department is ranked in the top 10 according to the U.S. News & World Report ranks among the nation’s top 10. The prestige alone may be a big enough check in the pros category to get them to opt for the MOOC.
However, according to my prior MOOC research, the cons can be a little scary. Take for instance the fact that less than 10% of students actually finish the MOOCs they sign up for. Khan mentions the abundance of cheating. Then there’s the problem of teacher student interaction. Zvi Galil (head of Georgia Tech’s school of computing & who is launching the new program) ‘guesses that some students might be willing to pay extra for the in-person contact or the chance to connect with corporate recruiters visiting campus’ (Khan).
While this is true, the initial lure is the bang for the buck! $6,600 for a master’s degree from a prestigious university may be difficult for some people to pull away from irrespective of the degree. I applaud Khan for providing a glimpse of what the future holds and might be the norm for our society. I advise you read this article because Khan does provide a method (and an end result) to this MOOC madness going on at the Georgia Institute of Technology.