In Spring 2017, Georgia Tech's College of Computing debuted an online, introductory computer science course in collaboration with edX and McGraw-Hill Education, enrolling several dozen campus undergraduates who took the course for credit.
After a full semester of teaching the online CS 1301 section, instructor David Joyner and the course team compiled an internal, research-driven “report card” to gauge successes and areas in need of improvement. Students from the online section rated the pace and rigor of the online course approximately the same as other CS 1301 students rated their on-campus versions while giving the online section an overall higher score for course quality.
Following the success of the spring semester pilot, an online CS 1301 section will be offered in Fall 2017 to all interested Georgia Tech undergraduates.
The Fall 2017 online CS 1301 section will include:
- More complete, authentic testing suites
- Embedded, enhanced personalized feedback and tutoring on exercises
- Integrated code visualizations and style feedback
- Artificial intelligence to answer student questions in discussion forums
The online students will also receive a new programming language translation guide, optional advanced material and concepts, and embedded off-site supplementary material.
“In the first semester, the online version appears to have had comparable learning gains to the traditional version despite requiring less teaching assistant time, providing more flexibility to students, and supporting greater scalability, all while creating a positive student experience,” said Joyner, who also teaches multiple courses in Georgia Tech’s online M.S. in Computer Science (OMS CS) program.
Online students were more likely to be certain in their knowledge, and they also reported significantly less time spent on coursework per week while attaining similar results in knowledge delivery (measured via pre- and post-course testing).
“Since this online CS 1301 course was the first of its kind, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect,” said Ben Wellington, a Georgia Tech undergraduate who completed the online CS 1301 course. “But the class was designed and executed nearly perfectly. Learning online was both effective and fun, and this was mostly because of the obvious effort that had been put into the creation of the lecture videos. It was intuitive to complete lessons, assignments, and tests, and the fact that you could learn at your own pace made the course superior to on-campus versions. This course made me go from disliking computer science to adding it as a minor.”
“We work hard to provide our students with the best learning experience. We proved it with OMS CS. We are now making enhanced online learning available to our undergraduate on-campus students," said Zvi Galil, John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech. “Come, join the pioneers!”