What degree do you choose? What school do you choose? Why? An exciting change has come to a popular answer. First, some background. For the last few years, computer- and mathematics-heavy fields, such as Computer Science, have filled many of the top spots in lists of best careers. And, Georgia Tech’s Computer Science program consistently ranks in the top 10. As you can guess, the program draws a lot of attention and applicants. The school is great, the program is renowned, and the job prospects are wonderful. But, that was before. Georgia Tech is the first school to take the next step in higher education.

Many have heralded a new trend in higher learning: Massive Open Online Courses, Udacity, Coursera, and big universities have provided classes, sometimes offering them very affordably and from the best professors in the world. They offer certifications and provide learning on in-demand topics. These classes are especially popular for people in non-traditional education settings (not full-time students and generally not recent high school grads). They are still not quite ideal because the certificates don’t carry enough weight, and they don’t really string together into a “program” like a college degree program. Sometimes a class or two could be substituted into a normal online degree curriculum. But, the question was, when will this new trend actually break some of the problems with higher education, like affordability, accessibility, and practicality?

I think George Tech just did it. And what is that next step? Georgia Tech has just made widely available a new online Computer Science master’s degree. Remember, this is an in-demand career field and a top 10 program. The total cost is $7000. Which, if I may say, is less than the cost of a semester at most other top 25 programs. The future success of this program could cause a real shift in the accessibility and cost of higher education.

(NY Times link)