MOOCs, now with formal degrees

We’ve all witnessed many significant events in the online learning space over the past couple of years. From coordinated plays by prestigious universities to tiny groups springing up around niche subjects, there exists a plethora of wonderful material out there today to learn from. For free. For anyone with access to a half-decent internet connection.

And being the curious and self-motivated learner that I am, I’ve already started to pick up a great deal on a variety of subjects of interest to me from what’s already out there. And as an adult who already has a few academic degrees, I don’t need anything more to show for my learning.

But yesterday’s announcement from Udacity and Georgia Tech that they were going to unite to offer an accredited, fully online Master of Science at a fraction of the cost of the traditional on-campus program, is a big deal.

As the video above suggests, is this going to be perfect and wonderful and mirror all aspects of a traditional Master’s program at a decent brick-and-mortar school? Quite unlikely, at least initially. But I think a better question to ask, is whether this move will reach a whole new crop of students, who otherwise might not have had access or motivation to learn, and provide them a certificate of their learning that they can use to confidently take out into the world to get gainfully employed. And I think we all know the answer to that.

I wish I were a young student again.