Five Years of Graduate CS Education Online and at Scale

Joyner, D. A., Isbell, C., Starner, T. & Goel, A. (2019). Five Years of Graduate CS Education Online and at Scale. In Proceedings of the ACM Global Computing Education Conference (CompEd). Chengdu, China. ACM Press.

Abstract: In 2014, Georgia Tech launched an online campus for its Master of Science in Computer Science program. The degree, equal in stature and accreditation to its on-campus counterpart, offered a notably lower cost of attendance. Its design emphasized flexibility in both geography and time, allowing students from around the world to earn a highly-ranked MSCS without taking time off work or moving to campus. Five years later, the program enrolls over 8000 students per semester and has graduated 1500 alumni. It is believed to be the largest program of its kind and has received recognition from national organizations on professional education. Existing research on the program has focused on challenges and opportunities to scale that are agnostic to the content itself. In this reflection, we look at the creation and growth of the program as it relates to graduate-level CS instruction. In particular, we note a unique and powerful unity of content and platform: the online delivery of the program dovetails with the technical skillsets of the professors and students that it draws, putting both in the position to contribute and innovate.

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