The Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) is leading the future of higher education online. The program’s prominence was evident at this June’s Learning @ Scale (L@S), an annual Association for Computing Machinery conference focusing on the digital learning environment.
OMSCS had influence in all areas of the conference, from leadership to research. OMSCS Associate Director of Student Experience David Joyner served as general chair for this year’s conference. Yet he wasn’t the only OMSCS connection in the conferences’ leadership. OMSCS alumnus and current teaching assistant (TA) Tony Mason was registration chair, and OMSCS student and TA Michael Swenson served as communications chair.
OMSCS is a great fit for L@S, according to Joyner.
“Learning @ Scale puts an emphasis not just on using technology in the act of teaching, but also on using technology to scale the overall enterprise of learning,” Joyner said. “So much of scaling OMSCS has been not to scaling instruction itself, but scaling the things that have to happen for instruction to take place, like admissions and advising. Learning @ Scale has been a great place to explore the problem holistically.”
Joyner and John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing Charles Isbell presented Master’s at Scale: Five Years in a Scalable Online Graduate Degree. The paper looks at the program from a bird’s eye view, showing how the degree has diversified computing.
“My favorite trend is that our fraction of women in the program has doubled since its inception, and our fraction of underrepresented minorities has cruised at double the on-campus rate,” Joyner said. “Online education has a mixed track record with underrepresented groups, but we're seeing evidence that it can be a powerful positive force.”
GT Computing researchers also presented four posters on in-progress research:
Synchronous at Scale: Investigation and Implementation of a Semi-Synchronous Online Lecture Platform by OMSCS alumna Denise Kutnick and David Joyner
Peer Advising at Scale: Content and Context of a Learner-Owned Course Evaluation System by Student Experience Researcher Alex Duncan and David Joyner
PARQR: Augmenting the Piazza Online Forum to Better Support Degree Seeking Online Masters Students by master’s student Noah Bilgrien; alumni Roy Finkelberg and Chirag Tailor; Ph.D. student India Irish; master’s students Girish Murali, Abhishek Mangal, Niklas Gustafsson, and Sumedha Raman; and School of Interactive Computing Professors Thad Starner and Rosa Arriaga
Jack Watson: Addressing Contract Cheating at Scale in Online Computer Science Education by OMSCS students Rocko Graziano and David Benton; master’s students Sarthak Wahal, Qiuyue Xue, and P. Tim Miller; OMSCS alumni Nick Larsen and Diego Vacanti; Pepper Miller; master’s students Khushhall Chandra Mahajan and Deepak Srikanth; and Thad Starner
Next year L@S will be held in Atlanta and chaired by Joyner.