On November 11th, 2015, David Joyner presented a talk to the C21U Seminar Series titled “The Unexpected Pedagogical Benefits of Making Higher Education Accessible”. The full talk and the abstract are below.
Many ongoing efforts in online education, such as the proliferation of MOOCs and the expansion of the low-cost online programs, are driven by the desire to make higher education more accessible through increased affordability and flexibility. Implicit in these efforts, however, is the acceptance that the quality of the education may have to suffer to increase accessibility. Perceived drawbacks of these efforts include limited access to instructors and teachers, greater reliance on more inexpensively-produced materials, and less rigor behind the evaluation of assessments. It has come as a surprise, then, that in the Georgia Tech Online Master’s of Science in Computer Science program, a low-cost online Masters degree, instructors and students alike have largely observed that the learning experience is actually superior to what they have experienced in traditional on-campus education. In this talk, I’ll discuss the two primary factors that have led to this trend: first, how the accessibility of the program has allowed it to attract a high-quality student body, and second, how the structure of the program has allowed those students to have a significantly greater impact on the quality of the courses than they might have in a traditional program.