The Way of the Future: Georgia Tech and Udacity Announce $7,000 MOOC Masters Degree

May 15, 2013

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Georgia Tech has partnered with Udacity to provide a $7,000 Masters Degree in Computer Science to 10,000 students. Check it out here. At one-sixth of the usual price for such a degree we are officially moving closer to this prediction:

Imagine if students in Bangladesh could earn a Princeton math degree, or a theology degree from Notre Dame for free, or more accurately for the time, computer and internet cost. The marginal players of the American academy would squeal as they are forced to reinvent themselves from making buggy whips, but this is a small price to pay for bringing opportunity to the world.

The only question in my mind is how long it will be until an elite player has the necessary vision to defect from the comfortable cartel. Several universities have the means to do this, and could receive philanthropic help to do so. Attention Oxford and Cambridge: it wouldn’t require an American university to pull this off. A British university could put out a low-cost version of this, and unlike their American counterparts, they aren’t swimming in resources.

Georgia Tech’s move does not qualify it as the defector, but things are moving quickly and in this direction. The loud noise that just shook the windows was the sound of the higher education cost bubble popping.

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