OMS CS graduates a different kind of student: Work from Harvard Graduate School of Education

November 16, 2016 at 7:14 am 8 comments

This is the work that most impresses me about OMSCS — that it attracts a different group of students that might get a face-to-face MS in CS. I’m not sure that I buy “equivalent in all ways to an in-person degree,” but I do see that it’s hard to measure and the paper makes a good effort at it.

Previous research has shown that most users of online education look fairly similar to the average college graduate — suggesting that digital learning isn’t yet the great educational equalizer it has the potential to be. But in a study of Georgia Tech’s hugely successful online master of science in computer science (OMSCS) program, educational economists Joshua Goodman and Amanda Pallais and public policy expert Julia Melkers found that digital learning can tap into a new market of students by offering an online degree that is equivalent in all ways to an in-person degree, at a fraction of the cost.

Source: The Digital Bridge | Harvard Graduate School of Education

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Muvaffak Gozaydin  |  November 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    This is the solution for HE in the world .
    Education Technology by TOP schools, today ONLINE
    At low cost 1/7 of the oncampus price
    Capacity of the schools double if they provide 50 % of the required courses for a degree online .
    Georgia Tech proved that online version is as good as oncampus version . May be even better .
    It is amasing that this program appeals to a completely different students , that is mostly adults and working . So program does not compete with oncampus v ersion .
    Look up MIT ‘s Supply Chain Management Master degree online program . 50 % of the courses are online and cost is 50 % less .
    We need online coıurses from Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duyke, Princeton , Yale etc .at half cost .

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  November 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      To be clear, Georgia Tech did not prove that the online version is as good as the on-campus version. The Harvard study was done during the first years of the OMS CS program, when the homework and assessments were the same as on-campus. Now, the OMS CS classes are often developed by outside consultants who are made adjunct faculty in order to claim that the classes are “Georgia Tech.” Those classes don’t have the same curriculum, homework, or assessments. They’re definitely not the same as on-campus. Are they as rigorous? Are they better? To my knowledge, no studies have been conducted.

  • 3. gflint  |  November 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I think the difference between online and on-campus is the same as training vs an education. Using an online course lacks the versatility and breadth an on-campus course will have. The ability to ask questions is greatly limited in the online environment. Yes, it is possible to learn online, but I really do not think it is a good way to get educated in a field.

  • […] the importance of active learning. It’s disappointing that so much effort went wasted.  MOOCs do have value, but it’s much more modest than the sales […]

  • […] of those studies are relevant to the teaching of undergraduates.”  As I look at the OMS CS results and the empirical evidence about MOOC completers (which matches results of other MOOC experiments […]

  • […] point made below is that online education does work for some students. Our OMS CS succeeds (see evidence here) because it serves a population that has CS background knowledge and can succeed online. Not […]

  • […] practice and on the result of policy.  Can online classes help students?  Absolutely, and the OMS CS is a good example of that.  Can we build online classes that work better for students who struggle […]

  • […] changed. They’re a great way for experienced people to get a bit more knowledge. That’s where the Georgia Tech OMSCS works. But I still they that they are a terrible way to help people who need initial knowledge, and they […]


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