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Demand for High Quality Online STEM Education: Georgia Tech’s Online M

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1 Demand for High Quality Online STEM Education: Georgia Tech’s Online M
Demand for High Quality Online STEM Education: Georgia Tech’s Online M.S. in Computer Science Joshua Goodman Amanda Pallais Harvard University Julia Melkers Georgia Tech APPAM November 7, 2014

2 Motivation MOOCs have been heralded as having the potential to transform higher education, particularly in STEM. Promise of increased access to disadvantaged students, of lifelong learning, etc. To date, most MOOCs have yielded disappointing results: Extremely high attrition rates. Most who enroll already have degrees. High failure rates when replacing on-campus courses. Some of this may be driven by most studied MOOCs being: Free or low-cost Of unclear quality We study the only MOOC equivalent to a prestigious STEM degree.

3 Our study We study GA Tech’s new Online M.S. in Computer Science (OMSCS). GA Tech’s computer science department, one of the top 10 in the nation, announced last year it would offer A fully online version of its prestigious master’s degree For one-seventh of cost that out-of-state students pay for its on- campus degree ($7,000 vs. $45,000). Now open to all with relevant B.A. and GPA of 3.0 or higher. Extensive media attention because it’s first with high quality institution, low cost and degree that won’t say “online”. Department is staking its reputation on making the educational experience a serious one. In first year, N~1,800 makes it 3X larger than largest on-campus C.S. program in the U.S. (Carnegie Mellon has ~600 graduates per year).

4 Research questions Who does demand for high quality online STEM ed come from? We compare characteristics of applicants to OMSCS and GA Tech’s on-campus master’s program. Does it increase access to any groups of students? Conditional on acceptance, who enrolls in the online program? For accepted students, what characteristics predict enrollment? What are the educational (and labor market) impacts? [SOON] What educational programs, if any, does OMSCS replace? For capacity constrained early cohorts, we estimate this with regression discontinuity on applicants’ GPAs using NSC data.

5 The Student Experience: Dashboard

6 The Student Experience: Video Lectures

7 The Student Experience: Lesson Slides

8 The Student Experience: Problem Sets

9 The Student Experience: Final Project

10 Data Full application, admission and enrollment data from applicants to: OMSCS’ first two cohorts (spring and summer 2014) On-campus program (fall 2013 and 2014) For each applicant, we know: Race, gender, age, residential location, citizenship College attended, major, GPA (non-US colleges complicate this) Current employer (if any) Admissions and enrollment status (re GA Tech) Will soon have NSC data on enrollment anywhere in the U.S. On-campus program : 3,086 apply, 15% get in, 9% enroll (N = 271) Online program : 3,951 apply, 51% get in, 45% enroll (N = 1,768)

11 Citizenship (On-campus Program)
For on-campus program: Only 10% of applicants and 25% of enrollees are from the U.S. India (and China) account for nearly all of the remaining pool.

12 Citizenship (Online Program)
For online program: Nearly 80% of applicants and enrollees are U.S. citizens India (and China) account for half of the remaining pool.

13 Age Distribution (On-campus Program)
Applicants to the on-campus program are 24 years old on average. Very few are older than 30. Most are in college or early employment (50% list employers).

14 Age Distribution (Online Program)
Applicants to the online program are 35 years old on average. Many are in their 40s and 50s; even some in 60s and 70s. Nearly all are employed (90% list employers).

15 Other Measures of Diversity
Major: On-campus – 62% CS, 27% engineering, 11% other Online – 40% CS, 27% engineering, 33% other Online applicants have more diverse set of majors (somewhat less so if limited to U.S. citizens). Gender: On-campus – 25% female applicants (16% in U.S.) Online – 14% female applicants (13% in U.S.) Gender imbalance due largely to non-U.S. applicants. Race : Among U.S. citizens, about 17% of applicants are black or Hispanic in both programs. Online - 17% of applicants, 14% of enrollees from AT&T (partner). Conditional on admission, GA residency is strongest (and nearly only) predictor of enrollment (6 pp for online; 56 pp for on-campus).

16 PRELIMINARY Implications
Average on-campus applicant : 24-year old Indian recent college grad Average online applicant : 35-year old employed American These PRELIMINARY descriptive findings suggest that a high quality, low cost online graduate STEM program Generates large demand from mid-career workers of various ages, particularly from U.S. citizens; Attracts those who look similar to on-campus applicants in terms of race and gender, at least among U.S. citizens; Attracts large numbers of applicants, nearly all of whom enroll if admitted. Strong evidence of unmet need for mid-career STEM education that’s flexible, relatively low cost, but of serious quality. Next steps: measuring student quality; estimating what alternatives, if any, OMSCS replaced; labor market outcomes (3-5 years from now)

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