Keynote: Some Lessons Learned while Creating a Real MOOC-based Masters of Science

Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr.

Senior Associate Dean, College of Computing
Professor, School of Interactive Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology

Date: Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Time: 8:30 am - 10:00 am


Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr. received his B.S. in Computer Science in 1990 from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998. After four years at AT&T Labs/Research, he returned to Georgia Tech to join the faculty of the College of Computing. Charles' research interests are varied, but recently he has been building autonomous agents that engage in life-long learning when in the presence of thousands of other intelligent agents, including humans. His work has been featured in the popular media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as in technical collections. Charles also pursues reform in computing education. He was a developer of Threads, Georgia Tech’s new structuring principle for computing curricula. Recently, he has assumed the role of the Senior Associate Dean for the College.

Abstract: Georgia Tech's online Master of Science in Computer Science (which I shall refer to as the OMS CS even though there is no distinction between the on-campus and online degrees) represents the first attempt by an accredited so-called top tier U.S. university to offer an advanced degree program exclusively through the massive-online delivery format. Created in 2013 in collaboration with Udacity and AT&T, the OMS CS is intended to greatly expand access to elite computing education through both its delivery mechanism and its greatly reduced price of less than $7,000 for most students. The first OMS CS students began pursuing the degree in January 2014, taking courses ranging from Machine Learning to Software Engineering, and we have recently finished the first semester. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the program—from conception to execution—and share some of the lessons we have learned in the last year and the implications of this instructional model for universities, students, and employers