Global Education,  Innovation

Udacity, Georgia Tech and AT&T – Vision and Revolution Come Together

By The Editors

In the last few days, a so-called “bold move” has generated lots of discussion in the higher education community – someone (or more than one) says that the “bold move” has actually generated shock.  Others call the move “revolutionary”.

Question: What is the “bold move” we’re referring to?  Answer: A very special announcement.

Georgia Tech and Udacity, in collaboration with AT&T, will offer a sought-after graduate computer science degree, traditionally offered on the Georgia Tech campus, through online instruction.  What brings shock, though, is not the online format, but the cost — the degree (a fully accredited Georgia Tech degree) will cost about 80% less than the current on campus curriculum (we’re talking about $ 7,000 versus about $ 40,000).  The program will be offered for the first time in the Fall of 2014. Yes, the partnership of Georgia Tech, Udacity and AT&T is innovative, but more innovative is the cost.

And, for what the global fool is concerned, online + low cost will make the program global.

The Georgia Tech College of Computing OMS CS brand new website starts with the following sentence: “The Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity and AT&T have teamed up to offer the first accredited Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) that students can earn exclusively through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivery format and for a fraction of the cost of traditional, on-campus programs.” — yes, the cost factor is in the first sentence…..

It goes on to say:  “This collaboration brings together leaders in education, MOOCs and industry to apply the disruptive power of massively open online teaching to widen the pipeline of high-quality, educated talent needed in computer science fields.” (bold and italics are mine)

In few more sentences, the description manages to communicate the “revolutionary” aspect of this enterprise.

The announcement by Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder of Udacity, is for sure worth reading – he compares this moment to the one he proposed to his wife.  The entire announcement, though, conveys how the individuals involved in this enterprise feel like true visionaries and revolutionaries – and perhaps they are.

Between vision and revolution, the higher education community is shaken.



  • Jbruno1

    Astonishing! That’s taking a leap into progression. Too many times have i been unable to register or take a class during the time i needed because it was over capacity. However, Georgia Tech addressed this problem and they allow more students than the classrooms could ever hold. The only factor that makes this better is that they made this significantly cheaper than the any other degree on Campus. I read their website and although they do not have any current plans of expanding this to other degrees i have high hopes that will soon change. This being the first trial run will hopefully influence others degrees if not universities to mimic the same approach. Thank You Georgia Tech for the initiative.

  • Alejaaa21

    This is a great initiative these three groups have taken on! I agree with bcastro3, many of the times students do drop out of college due to the fact that tuition prices are too high. I believe that every student has the right to receive the same type of education regardless of the institution they attend. As a Georgia native I know how expensive tuition at Georgia Tech is and I also know of people who have chosen other institutions due to the fact that tuition was something they just simply couldn’t afford. I believe that this opportunity that Georgia Tech, Udacity, and AT&T is providing to those interested in computer science will be sought for by many students and the low cost will be a key factor! I hope that the outcome of this program will motivate other leading institutions to provide similar online degree programs to students as well. This is the type of change that is needed in our institutions so that every student has the right to receive a proper education regardless of their financial situation!

  • bcastro3

    wow… This is really awesome. With many students dropping out of college because tuition gets more expensive every year, its really considerate on behalf of GT and their partners to offer such interesting and successfully major at such low price. I have a couple of friends that have actually graduated from GT with computer science degrees and Im sure they will be shocked when I inform them about the new program. Hopefully other schools for example, GSU is able to partner with different companies/universities to offer options like those to their students. Lastly, this news makes me happy for the near future, this will be the start of many new programs that will benefit many student, I hope.

  • Haley M

    I agree with the other posts on the ideas that this will be beneficial financially and also the flexibility of an earning an Kline degree is ideal. Getting up and dressed for class everyday is not as easy as it sound especially when most students also have to go to work in order to pay for school because it is so costly,. Now students can make there own schedules and learn without much conflict. The only downside is that student will have to show maturity because it can be easy to fall behind if one is not constantly reminded of deadlines by professors.

  • nicole_v23

    I think this is awesome! Hopefully more universities will take the same initiative and expand who they are able educate. I know that many people aren’t able to receive the education they want or deserve due to the costs associated with particular institutions, especially those out of state or out of country. Georgia Tech has not only expanded their horizons nationally, they have done so globally and I honestly believe that it’ll be a success.

  • cdao22

    universities will get in competition with each other even more, and this will lead to major improvements as it will provide them the impetus to finally modernize their classes and make their programs more appealing, who wants to be in traffic every day when you can get things done at home? and hey, if all colleges add on these programs, I’ll have a choice among many degrees and virtual campuses

    get started world, I want more of these!

  • littlesusie

    it was about time for new things to come up – I can’t even say let’s wait and see if the Georgia Tech program will be successful – I know 100% is going to be
    I live in Missouri and would be thrilled to earn a Georgia Tech degree from here
    price is an important consideration, but what I think is even better is the endless choices we’ll be having soon, choices among degrees and universities

  • wilsy65

    This is all great news, the higher education models are changing very fast; for us in Europe this is an OK model to follow, although the cost is not the problem. It’s the partnerships and the technology involved that are innovative. For US academia, I guess this is a wake up call. Many US institutions need to move on from their outdated model of on campus classes that students overpay for.

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