Are Graduate Programs the Future of On-line Education?

MOOCIn case you missed it:  The New York Times had an article explaining that graduate education may be the future focus of on-line education, particularly MOOCs (massive open on-line courses):

From their start two years ago, when a free artificial intelligence course from Stanford enrolled 170,000 students, free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have drawn millions and yielded results like the perfect scores of Battushig, a 15-year-old Mongolian boy, in a tough electronics course offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But the courses have not yet produced profound change, partly because they offer no credit and do not lead to a degree. The disruption may be approaching, though, as Georgia Tech, which has one of the country’s top computer science programs, plans to offer a MOOC-based online master’s degree in computer science for $6,600 — far less than the $45,000 on-campus price.

Zvi Galil, the dean of the university’s College of Computing, expects that in the coming years, the program could attract up to 10,000 students annually, many from outside the United States and some who would not complete the full master’s degree. “Online, there’s no visa problem,” he said.

Graduate education is the logical home of MOOCs and other online options.  The students have already had experience with self-directed and collabortive learning through classes guided by flesh-and-blood instructors.  Thus, they are better prepared than undergraduates to handle the independence and initiative required for online learning.  “The disruption may be approaching.”  Great phrase.  The full story is here.

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