Georgia Tech Begins First MOOC-Based Degree Program

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News
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Georgia Tech is offering a first-of-its-kind master’s degree program in computer science.  Classes for the program are taught entirely through Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs.

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Several U.S. colleges offer MOOCs to undergraduates. The online classes are free and students can’t earn credit for them. Critics say that’s why many students don’t finish the courses. But Dr. Zvi Galil, the Dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, says this program is more comprehensive.

“We have an entire infrastructure to help students and actually we’ll monitor them and we hope not to lose many of them,” Gailil says.

Students pay about $6600 dollars in tuition, compared with $45,000 for the same, on-campus degree.

Associate Dean Dr. Charles Isbell teaches one of the courses with another professor. He says the format differs from a traditional degree program.

“What we decided to do was to treat the class like more of a podcast,” he says.  “So, rather than lecturing, each time that the student hears a lesson, one of us is taking the lead, and the other person is playing the role of an interested student.”

Isbell says the idea is to prompt critical thinking. He says students can submit their own questions through online forums monitored by professors.

About 400 students are enrolled in the new program. If it’s successful, Galil and Isbell hope to expand it and offer additional MOOC-based degree programs.