Enrollment Motivations in an Online Graduate CS Program: Trends & Gender- and Age-Based Differences

Abstract: Demand for CS education has risen, leading to numerous new programs, such as the rise of affordable online degrees. Research shows these programs meet an otherwise untapped audience of working professionals seeking graduate-level CS education. In this study, we examine the motivations for enrollment among students in one such online MSCS program. Based responses to an open-ended question, we develop a typology of motivations, including goals (e.g. career transition), opportunities (e.g. enrolling without taking time off work), and assurances that their goals will be met (e..g the program’s accreditation). We then issue a closed survey question to a new group of students to further explore these motivations. In this paper, we discuss both aggregate and demographic trends in motivations, including the different motivations of men and women and what they imply about the program’s impact on the gender divide in computing. We also examine older students’ tendency towards intrinsic motivation to pursue an MSCS degree.

Full Paper

The full paper “Enrollment Motivations in an Online Graduate CS Program: Trends & Gender- and Age-Based Differences” can be found here.

Associated People

Associated News

  • 14 Mar 2020: David Joyner presents remotely to SIGCSE 2020. David Joyner presented the paper "Enrollment Motivations in an Online Graduate CS Program: Trends & Gender- and Age-Based Differences" remotely to the 2020 SIGCSE conference.
  • 04 Oct 2019: Full paper accepted to 2020 SIGCSE conference. Alex Duncan, Bobbie Eicher, and David Joyner have had "Enrollment Motivations in an Online Graduate CS Program: Trends & Gender- and Age-Based Differences" accepted to the 2020 SIGCSE conference.