Georgia Tech’s online master’s program is not about lifting up the downtrodden or reaching out to the disempowered. Unlike other MOOC-related experiments, such as San Jose State University’s failed attempt to use Udacity courses to teach community-college and high-school students, the Georgia Tech program took aim at successful professionals in their prime who wanted to become even more successful. Almost all of the applicants already had jobs, often at tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and AT&T.
The first graduating class was full of students who already held enviable positions in the industry. For them, the low price of tuition was not as valuable as the ability to take the courses without quitting their well-paying jobs and relocating to Atlanta.
"This is not proof-of-concept of education for the masses," says Joshua S. Goodman, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard who has studied the program. "What this is proof-of-concept for is that there are groups of Americans for whom the on