The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a considerably larger number of applications for its MOOC-inspired online computer science master’s degree than applicants for its on-campus counterparts combined.
Over an enrollment period of 21 days, 2,359 people applied for Georgia Tech’s online computer science master’s degree program, a survey of the course found.
The total number of enrollment for all traditional, campus-based computer science master’s degrees for the entirety of last year was 1,806.
“[That’s] very strong application numbers with virtually no marketing,” Georgia Tech noted in a summary of the survey.
That doesn’t mean the program has gone without publicity.
The program is based on – and uses the technology behind – massive open online courses (MOOCs) built by Udacity, but differs in that none of the courses are free.
In total, the program would cost a student more than $6,500, which is still a deep discount when compared to the $44,000 price tag for on-campus students.
That discount, and that the program is the first MOOC-like degree of its kind, inspired a flood of national news coverage when the experiment was announced in May.
See Page 2 for a more detailed breakdown of what the applicants are like.
Also generating press, as well as debate, was the somewhat unusual arrangement of the telecommunications company AT&T offsetting much of the program’s cost.
Even U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan weighed in on the news, saying that the program could be a model for how campuses, MOOC providers, and corporate entities can partner to provide low-cost education.
“This new collaboration between Georgia Tech, AT&T and Udacity, and the application of the MOOC concept to advanced-degree programs, will further the national debate — pushing from conversations about technology to new models of instruction and new linkages between higher education and employers,” Duncan said.
Five hundred and fourteen of the program’s applicants are AT&T employees.
Georgia Tech’s survey also found that 75 percent of those working toward the degree are employed full-time, with 82 percent working in computer or IT fields.
The online degree program will be available to about 10,000 students over the next three years, the university said.