Georgia Tech’s Online MOOC-based Master Program and the future of online learning in higher education-Dr. Zvi Galil – Georgia Tech

Monday, May 2
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm



  • Date: Monday, May 2
  • Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Location: 32-G449
Additional Location Details:

In May 2013, Georgia Tech together with its partners, Udacity and AT&T, announced a new online master’s degree in computer science delivered through the platform popularized by massively open online courses (MOOCs). This new online MS in CS or OMSCS for short cost less than $7,000 total, compared to a price tag of $40,000 for an MS CS at comparable public universities and upwards of $70,000 at private universities.

The first-of-its-kind program was launched in January 2014 and has sparked a worldwide conversation about higher education in the 21st century. President Barack Obama has praised OMSCS by name twice, and over 1,200 news stories mentioned the program. It’s been described as a potential “game changer” and “ground zero of the revolution in higher education”. Harvard University researchers concluded that OMSCS is “the first rigorous evidence showing an online degree program can increase educational attainment” and predicted that OMSCS will single-handedly raise the number of annual MS CS graduates in the United States by at least 7 percent.

OMSCS started in 2014 with small enrollment of 380; in spring 2022 semester enrollment is 12,016; OMSCS is apparently the biggest MS in CS program in the world. So far over 6,500 students have graduated from OMSCS; 1,970 graduated in 2021. The program has also paved the way for more than 70 similar, MOOC-based affordable online MS programs. There is a shortage of one million computing professionals in the US. Therefore, OMSCS is satisfying a great national need. Starting in 2017, Georgia Tech expanded its online offerings to its undergraduate computer science students.

The talk will describe the OMSCS program, how it came about, its first eight years, and what Georgia Tech has learned from the OMSCS experience. It will also discuss the speaker’s vision of the future of higher education with much larger role for online learning.


Dr. Zvi Galil earned BS and MS degrees in Applied Mathematics from Tel Aviv University, both summa cum laude, and his PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University. After a post-doctorate in IBM’s Thomas J. Watson research center, he returned to Israel and joined the faculty of Tel-Aviv University, serving as chair of the Computer Science department in 1979-1982.

In 1982 he joined the faculty of Columbia University, serving as the chair of the Computer Science Department in 1989-1994 and as Morris and Alma A. Schapiro Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science in 1995-2007. In 2007 Galil returned to Tel Aviv University and served as president. In 2009 he resigned as president and returned to the faculty as a professor of Computer Science. In July 2010 he became The John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech. In June 2019 he stepped down as dean and became the Frederick G. Storey Chair in Computing and Executive Advisor to Online Programs. Dr. Galil was a moving force behind the establishment of Georgia Tech’s online masters in computer science (OMSCS), which by Spring 2022 had grown to more than 12,000 students representing more than 100 countries. Inside Higher Education noted that OMSCS “suggests that institutions can successfully deliver high-quality, low-cost degrees to students at scale.” The Chronicle of Higher Ed noted that the OMSCS “may have the best chance of changing how much students pay for a traditional degree.”

Dr. Galil’s research areas have been the design and analysis of algorithms, complexity, cryptography and experimental design. He has written over 200 scientific papers, edited 5 books, and has given more than 250 lectures in 30 countries. He is a fellow of the ACM and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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Meeting ID: 940 1401 4117