The un-massive MOOC

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s master’s degree in computer science program based on massive open online courses (MOOCs) started this week with a head-count that’s not all that massive.

moocMore than 2,300 people applied for the program, a number that out-paced all of Georgia Tech’s on-campus computer science master’s degrees. Just over 400 were accepted, and only 375 enrolled.  

“The United States and the world need more computing professionals, and I’m proud that Georgia Tech and our college are leading the way to help educate them,” said College of Computing Dean Zvi Galil in an announcement. “We will treat all of our OMS CS students, and especially this first cohort, as partners in helping to optimize the courses and infrastructure required to support them.”

The courses will eventually function like other MOOCs, opening the material to any student with internet access, but only those officially accepted into the program will receive credit. The program has been billed as the only one of its kind: a fully-accredited degree based on MOOC technology.

The program differs from a traditional master’s degree in other ways, as well.

Of the 375 students, 330 are from the United States, while ninety percent of those enrolled in the on-campus computer science master’s at Georgia Tech are international students.

At 34, the average age of the students is 11 years older than that of their face-to-face brethren.

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