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New Degree Program Is Big Test For Mooc-Style Higher Ed

By PBS NewsHour

September 3, 2014

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A new online masters degree program in computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is showing potential as a model for success with a massively open online course (MOOC) curriculum.

MOOCs became popular after elite institutions such as Harvard University began making online courses from some of their most prominent faculty available, but MOOCs have seen little success, with high dropout rates, faculty support on the wane, and slowing growth. However, the Georgia Tech program is different; faculty and students say those taking the course are much more engaged and committed to the program.

Georgia Tech's MOOC students also are different from the average MOOC user: they tend to be slightly older and are working while taking their courses. The entire program also comes with a several-thousand-dollar price tag, which some students say gives them a stake in completing it.

Previous research on similar paid online programs at community colleges found they have completion rates between 68 and 82 percent, compared to 5 percent for those who registered for the first MOOCs offered by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year.

From PBS NewsHour
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