Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online (NYT)

“Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.”

“The whole MOOC mania has got everyone buzzing in academia, but scaling is a great challenge,” said Bruce Chaloux, the executive director of the Sloan Consortium, an advocacy group for online education. “I have to believe that at some point, when the underwriting ends, to keep high quality, Georgia Tech would have to float to more traditional tuition rates.”

“The Florida Legislature has directed the University of Florida to start fully online bachelor’s degree programs and set the price for residents at three-quarters of the campus in-state tuition, or about $4,700. But Bernie Machen, the university’s president, said he had not yet decided whether to charge out-of-state online students the full $28,000 tuition they would pay on campus, in part because he wondered if online pricing models were changing.”

Dust must settle before we see what happens with tuition and online education. If the costs remain low (instructors’ salaries, benefits, the need and costs of physical space), and tuition skyrockets for MOOC degrees, what has been gained and what has been lost?

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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