UC Berkeley将提供数据科学专业在线硕士学位

【UC Berkeley将提供数据科学专业在线硕士学位】大数据目前正在教育界炙手可热的领域,许多高校都努力设立大数据科学方面的新硕士项目以满足互联网业界的巨大需求。本周三,UC Berkeley将宣布设立数据科学硕士学位,并且采用网上教学的方式。这个硕士项目将花费学生12-20个月的时间,加上6万美金,这显然与目前流行的MOOCs上自由且低廉的在线计算机科学课程大相径庭。1.后者一般很少或者几乎没有提供教授与学生之间实时的互动和交流,并且学生大部分时间都是自行学习。而前者则更像真实的课堂——提供实时授课,在网上的课程中,教授和学生可以彼此看见对方,并且可以随时交流;老师如果发现有学生注意力不集中,很可能还会及时提醒;如果发现学生跟不上讲课速度,老师还会适当进行调整;学生还可以随时打断老师提出问题。2.MOOCs的学生可能达到成千上万的数量,但是前者只包含20个学生。他们的宗旨是帮助在线学生尽可能跟在校学生一样,成为校园的一部分。



Big data is becoming a big opportunity for higher education. As we’ve reported before, more universities are trying to meet industry’s growing appetite for data scientists with new master’s programs in the field.  But on Wednesday, the University of California at Berkeley will announce that it is launching a data science master’s degree that, for the time being at least, will only be online.

Powered by 2U, an education technology company that enables top universities to offer full-price, high-quality degrees virtually, the new degree targets working professionals with a comprehensive program taught by faculty at the university’s School of Information (or I School).

2U, which was founded by serial ed tech entrepreneur John Katzman and is backed by $90 million in venture funding, already partners with seven universities, including Georgetown, the University of North Carolina and American University, for graduate degrees. Its degrees span fields like business administration, nursing and law, and it also offers undergraduate ‘Semester Online’ programs with other schools. But with the data science degree, it’s pushing into new territory.

“This is the first time that we are working with a school in building out a degree that isn’t in an existing, well-known discipline,” said 2U CEO Chip Paucek, adding that this is also the first degree it’s powering that doesn’t have an on-campus complement.  Paucek said the company plans to continue creating online degrees in more contemporary, less established fields.

Given the demand for data scientists, it’s little wonder that Berkeley and 2U want to offer a new degree in the discipline. In the past few years, as data science has become the “sexiest” field of the century, other top universities, like Northwestern and New York University, have moved into this area.

A $60,000 online degree

But by offering an online degree, Berkeley can reach students all over the world and people who want more education without giving up their jobs. With 2U, it hopes to offer a virtual experience that can justify the same price tag as an on-campus degree.

“We wanted a partner that would be able to offer the level of rigor, selectivity, and quality of our existing campus based degrees,” said AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of UC Berkeley’s I School. Given space limitations on campus, an online degree also enabled the school to offer a new program without requiring additional space.

The degree, which 2U expects students will be able to complete in 12 to 20 months, will cost $60,000 a pop. When compared to the free and low-cost massive open online courses (MOOCs) — like the online computer science degree offered by Georgia Tech and Udacity — that get the lion’s share of attention in online education, that’s bound to raise eyebrows. But 2U offers an entirely different flavor of online learning.

In MOOCs, students have little (or no) real-time interaction with professors and peers and learn mostly on their own time, but 2U classes are all delivered in real-time, in an online environment that lets the professor and students see and interact with the entire class at once.  Professors can see if students are getting distracted and call on them or adapt a lesson if it seems like the class isn’t following along. And students can ask questions or interrupt the professor at anytime. Also, while MOOCs can include tens of thousands of students, 2U classes never exceed 20 students.

2U’s pitch is that online students become a part of the university community as much as any on-campus student and therefore its price is worth it. But students will still miss out on much of the casual, spontaneous interactions they’d get if they were in an offline environment.

Since launching in 2008, the company says 8,070 students have enrolled in its programs, and that it has a 90 percent job placement rate and an 84 percent retention rate. From its first four programs in 2013, 2U said it expects to generate $230 million in tuition fees (which is splits with the schools).




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