Georgia Tech Will Offer a Master’s Degree Online – NYTimes.com

May 21, 2013 at 1:34 am 17 comments

In case anyone didn’t see the various articles, Georgia Tech’s College of Computing will be offering a Udacity-based MS degree starting.  The faculty did vote on the proposal. I argued against it (based mostly on learning and diversity arguments), but lost (which led to my long winter post).

Faculty in the College of Computing have been asked not to talk about the online MS degree (which seems weird to me — asking faculty not to talk about their own degree programs).  Please understand if I don’t answer questions in response to this announcement.

Starting in the fall, the Georgia Institute of Technology, together with AT&T and Udacity, an online education venture, will offer a master’s degree in computer science that can be earned entirely through so-called massive open online courses, or MOOCs. While the courses would be available free online to the general public, students seeking the degree would have to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and pay tuition that is expected to be less than $7,000.

via Georgia Tech Will Offer a Master’s Degree Online – NYTimes.com.

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17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Max Hailperin  |  May 21, 2013 at 6:46 am

    “Faculty in the College of Computing have been asked not to talk about the online MS degree (which seems weird to me — asking faculty not to talk about their own degree programs). Please understand if I don’t answer questions in response to this announcement.”

    Mark- I will certainly never object if you choose not to answer questions, regardless of the topic — we, your reading public, do not own you. You can freely give as much or little of yourself to us as you like.

    However, I am troubled by your implication that there are topics that your own professional judgment tells you to address, but upon which you you might nonetheless remain silent purely because of the request made by some unnamed party, the actor behind your passive-voice phrase “have been asked.”

    If academic freedom means anything, it means that an internationally recognized expert on computing education can exercise his own independent professional judgment when writing about an innovation in computing education, even if it causes discomfort within his institution.

    Reply
    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  May 21, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Thank you for the supportive comments, Max. I got into a lot of trouble after my Swiki post awhile back, at both the College and Institute levels. All speech has a cost, in terms of impacts, ramifications, and retribution. Since the Swiki post, I’m trying to pick my battles carefully and decide where the potential costs are worth it.

      To be explicit, faculty were told: “Following the announcement of the OMS CS program, you may receive unsolicited calls/emails from the media seeking comment. We have designated spokespeople to discuss the program from the GT/CoC perspective, so please direct all inquiries to me and we will handle.” It’s not unreasonable to direct questions to informed spokespeople. It just feels more like a private company than a university.

      Reply
      • 3. Max Hailperin  |  May 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

        I hope that if the circumstances ever warrant, you will answer unsolicited inquiries from the media, rather than directing them to the designated spokespeople. However, that is in any case not what is at issue on your own blog. Most of us commenting on your blog are presumably not “the media,” and in any case, any inquiry we might make in our comments would not be “unsolicited” to the extent they are prompted by your posting. You could conform to the request you quoted without censoring yourself on your blog.

        Reply
  • 4. mimi recker  |  May 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Mark, I’ve been waiting to see your post on this wild development at GT…but it really wasn’t what I expected! Caveat emptor.

    Reply
  • 5. george munchus  |  May 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Keep Talking LOUD!!

    Peace,George Munchus

    ________________________________

    Reply
  • 6. Tucker Balch  |  May 21, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Mark, as GT faculty in your school I received that same email. For what it is worth, I did not interpret it in the same way. I took it as “hey, we’ve been thinking about how to respond and we want to get the message right.” Not “we want to oppress opposing views.” Besides that, the email was about media inquiries, not blog postings.

    You’re a full prof with tenure — blog on!

    (Disclosure: I’m one of the faculty strongly supportive of this new program, so perhaps I feel less oppressed. I’m also an associate prof and Mark will vote on my promotion to full someday. Bottom line: I feel that at GT we’re absolutely free to express our views.)

    Reply
  • 7. George Munchus  |  May 22, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Mark:

    As a African American male I am very much interested in racial diversity and learning. as well as the comments you posted.
    You did vote NO and this is so important. What is the current percentage of African American faculty in the Department of Computer Science as we speak?

    Reply
  • 8. Tucker Balch  |  May 22, 2013 at 10:23 am

    My view is that a vote of “no” is a vote to deny many more African Americans access to deeper education they may not otherwise have access to. So it makes no sense to me. In answer to your question George: The percentage of African American faculty in our college is about 1/70 = 1.4%. The percentage of African Americans who completed my MOOC was 1.4% (or 35 people). I have taught more women and more African Americans in my MOOC than I have taught at Georgia Tech in 10 years.

    Reply
  • 9. Tucker Balch  |  May 22, 2013 at 10:25 am

    BTW: I am pushing for our OMS degree to include interventions to increase diversity.

    Reply
  • 10. Tucker Balch  |  May 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Also BTW: Our Associate Dean, Charles Isbell, is African American, and he’s spearheading this effort. Obviously, he has a stake in the diversity angle.

    Reply
  • 11. Debbie Morrison  |  June 3, 2013 at 2:26 am

    So who is the person to contact if one has questions about the new MOOC degree? I am writing an article about the new degree, and am particularly interested in faculty viewpoints, as well as on-campus students in Master’s degree programs. Thanks.

    Reply
  • 14. MOOC roundup | Gas station without pumps  |  July 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    […] http://computinged.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/georgia-tech-will-offer-a-masters-degree-online-nytimes-… A brief reaction to Georgia Tech’s announcement of their Udacity-fueled online Masters degree: […]

    Reply
  • […] Bruckman has been doing a great job of finding the interesting issues in our on-line MS in CS degree program.  She’s doing innovative work in making project-based learning work in MOOCs.  In this blog […]

    Reply
  • […] Interesting where AT&T is making its investments: $1.6M from AT&T to expand access to software engineering curriculum in high school, in comparison with $2M to setup OMS at GT. […]

    Reply
  • […] (one of the founders of both cognitive science and learning science) declares MOOCs dead (including Georgia Tech’s OMS degree, explicitly), while recommending a shift to Mentored Simulation Experiences.  I find his […]

    Reply

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