John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech
Zvi Galil has served as the John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech since 2010. In 2014, Dean Galil and the College of Computing teamed up with AT&T and Sebastian Thrun’s Udacity to launch Georgia Tech’s online MS in Computer Science (OMS CS, for short), the first advanced degree in computer science from an accredited university to be offered entirely through the ”massive online” platform. The three partners conceived and designed a program that enables students to earn their master’s degree in computer science for agout 7.000$ – a fraction of what on-campus students pay.
The Georgia Tech College of Computing is ranked No. 9 among U.S. graduate programmes in computer science and claims one of the highest percentage of female faculty among Top 25 computing programmes. In Spring 2016, the College enrolled some 6,000 students – including 3,358 in the OMS CS programme.
In just two years, the programme has grown to enroll nearly 3,400 students, and in December 2015 its first graduates received their Georgia Tech diplomas – with no mention of ”online” anywhere to be seen. Now other universities like the University of Illinois and MIT are following in Georgia Tech’s innovative footsteps, offering their own MOOC-related degrees.
At the Student of the Future Conference, Dean Galil will share his ideas about the future of education, including the changes brought about by advancements in technology and how universities can keep up and innovate to continuously attract a wide range of students from around the world.
In his own words:
The advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), web-based, open access educational courses, has been touted as the solution to both problems, with free online classes taught by star professors available on-demand. However, MOOCs, as a group, have been characterized by low completion rates (typically less than 5 percent), doubts about the quality of learning outcomes and an uncertain reception by employers. And yet, MOOCs’ promoters got one fundamental thing right: online learning, developed properly, can result in learning attainments fully the equal of in-person classes.
This critical insight was the genesis of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s online Master of Science degree in Computer Science (OMSCS), the product of pioneering collaboration between Georgia Tech and Udacity, a for-profit educational organization, and AT&T, which contributed $2 million to help launch the program. AT&T is tapping into the program to train employees for transition to a mobile- and software-centric business. More than 230 AT&T students have enrolled to date since the pilot launched in spring of 2014. The company will also utilize this channel as a new source of talent acquisition going forward.
The program’s classes are delivered using MOOC technology, but with a key difference: this is not a collection of online courses “based on” the Institute’s courses. These are Georgia Tech courses, and would lead to a Tech degree. There would be no question among students, employers or other academic institutions as to the worth of OMSCS, because it would be the same Georgia Tech master’s in Computer Science that is already recognized for its high quality and the accomplishment of its graduates. The tuition expense — $6,600 — is radically different from the $46,000 out-of-state tuition expense for an on-campus degree. Huffington Post
Zvi Galil, dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech said in an email that the biggest lesson they learned is that a degree is much more than just a collection of courses. “Students need ancillary services and support for things like advising, career services and development, etc.,” Galil said. “This is related to technology in that technology will have to play a role in scaling these services up to a much larger student population, but it also involves significant human resource questions. The technology can only take us so far.”
“Another lesson is that we need to set expectations for students,” Galil said. “Our first cohort is overwhelmingly comprised of students who work full-time, and many have not been enrolled in college for years. This program is difficult — and it should be difficult — because it’s a Georgia Tech master’s program.” Galil and the Georgia Tech team are now looking to answer questions about how to help students understand the commitment involved and they are working to adjust their curriculum and degree schedule accordingly. Ed Tech Times