I was inspired today to read about Georgia Tech’s new online (MOOC) course. They have announced the creation of a three year, Masters in Computer Science degree at the staggering discount of $7K. This equates to a game changing product offering that should either A) scare the hell out of OR B) inspire universities to rethink their fundamental business model. Unfortunately, I think its going to be more A than B.
GT has taken a low hanging piece of fruit. Computer science, by its very nature, lends itself very well to an online format. For one, its a technical degree. It requires students to learn a skill by practicing problems that have right answers. Additionally, those interested in computer science will embrace the technologies required for delivering online education. And finally, masters students require less hand holding and experience management. In other word, they are there solely for the education. Give it to them and get out.
Future online degrees must address issues that GT hasn’t had to. More subjective disciplines require more face to face interaction. Also, some learners will not do well in an all online environment. They will struggle to follow curriculum if left on their own. And mostly, the 18-22 year olds of the the undergraduate world still need to go somewhere. Society isn’t ready for them and the their parents want them out of the house. For now, this will keep undergraduate programs and business schools safe from radical innovation….. for now.