- The Georgia Institute of Technology is playing it safe when it comes to its high-profile, fully online computer science master's program collaboration with MOOC provider Udacity, as it works to avoid the same fate as the Udacity-San Jose State experiment.
- There are key differences between the two collaborations: As a master's degree program, Georgia Tech's pilot isn't massive or open and its students already have undergraduate degrees and an average GPA of 3.58. By comparison, the San Jose State program's inclusion of at-risk students is cited as part of what sank it.
- The inaugural class of the Georgia Tech program includes 401 students selected from 2,300 candidates, and classes are taught by the school's professors and Udacity-hired "course assistants."
Georgia Tech President G.P. Peterson is understandably apprehensive, and goes so far as to refuse calling the collaboration an "experiment," describing it instead as a pilot because "experiments fail." Not only did the failed San Jose State collaboration become something of an embarrassment for SJSU President Mohammad H. Qayoumi, but a previous flop left egg on Peterson's face. Last spring, design flaws and technical glitches led the school to abandon a MOOC — ironically on online course design — operated with Coursera.