At least five more American research universities will launch a low-priced master’s degree during 2019, following the success of Georgia Tech’s OMSCS (Online Master’s Science in Computer Science), with over 8,000 students. This will be an increase of 50%, from the existing ten institutions offering MOOC-based degrees.
The author of this prediction is Richard Garret, Encoura’s Eduventures Chief Research Officer: “The trend is clear: top brand, low price”. “Low-priced programs beyond data science, cybersecurity, and MBAs—perhaps accounting or healthcare management—will feature in this new class.”
“Georgia Tech is the leader here, launching its prototype $7,000 online master’s in computer science back in 2012, and going on to enroll over 8,000 students to date. Indiana University, University of California, San Diego, and University of Texas, Austin have followed suit on the edX platform, along with two more offerings from Georgia Tech. Coursera is flying the flag with University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and Arizona State.”
Richard Garret highlights the fact that universities jumping into these MOOC-based degrees must be R1 (or research; there are 130), due to the “same admission standards, same rigor, same faculty, but mass enrollment at a low price.” “I also predict that at least one of the five will be private—all pioneers have been public so far.”
While flagship universities reimagine their brand with these initiatives, “for less prestigious institutions, low price may be mistaken for low quality or desperation”.
As of today, there are ten research universities managing MOOC-degree programs (all of them in Coursera, edX or Udacity), according to the data compiled by IBL News. These are: Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Indiana University, University of California, San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, University of Notre Dame.
Another prediction for 2019 made by Garret says that a group of colleges or universities will announce an innovative co-development and licensing model, and top-notch courses could be licensed across the system.
• IBL News: 44 MOOC-Based Master’s Degrees Worldwide