Dec 07
Atlanta, GA

From Nov. 29-30, Georgia Tech was host to a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded summit focused on the development of affordable, sustainable, and scalable educational environments, or Scalable Advanced Learning Ecosystems (SALE). The SALE Summit took place at the Global Learning Center and was co-sponsored by the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE).

This summit brought academic and industry leaders from across the globe together in the hope of laying the foundation for the next generation of learning ecosystems. Topics such as data analytics, learning design, artificial intelligence, growth and future business models for higher education, and the changing role of university faculty were addressed by keynote speakers and discussed in breakout groups. SALE Summit speakers included:

  • Chris Dede of Harvard University

  • Karen Vignare of the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities

  • Stephanie Norby and Brian Mandell of the Smithsonian Science Education Center

  • Gisele LaRose of WebStudy Foundation

  • Cary Brown of IMS Global

  • Provost Rafael Bras of Georgia Tech

  • Rob Kadel, Rich DeMillo, and Lindsay Kelly of C21U, Georgia Tech

  • Yakut Gazi and Nelson Baker of GTPE, Georgia Tech

  • Ashok Goel of the College of Computing, Georgia Tech

Participants were challenged to consider many of the most taxing issues facing higher education today and to work together to begin the planning stages for a new roadmap for education. This roadmap will look to the future of education in the next five to ten years and will outline ways that educators, industry leaders, government officials, and technologists can redesign the future of learning and education.

In his plenary presentation, Nelson Baker, dean of professional education at Georgia Tech, said, “Education is more than a collection of courses. What else might be missing from that collection?”

Summit attendees explored innovative pedagogical and technology-driven educational solutions such as Ashok Goel's work with automated, intelligent tutoring systems and the Smithsonian’s Science for Global Goals curriculum, presented by Stephanie Norby and Brian Mandell. Social and economic issues surrounding curriculum design were also discussed. Recognizing that low-income and minority students often fall behind in introductory courses, risking their chances of completing a degree, Karen Vignare, of the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities, gave an eye-opening plenary on using adaptive courseware to assist these students.

“How do we achieve 1x1 tutoring at scale and bring down the cost, so that we can still bring education to the students of the future who really need it?” asked Rob Kadel in his plenary remarks.

This question and many others will be addressed in a white paper produced as an outcome of the SALE Summit.

If you would like to learn more about the SALE Summit, you can explore the summit page on the C21U website. To find out more about how can you get involved in the work of C21U or GTPE, please visit c21u.gatech.edu or pe.gatech.edu.

This summit was funded by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) - grant #1824854.

SALE Summit - Dr. Bras
Nov 27
International Journal on Innovations in Online Education

Postsecondary education is now largely a requirement for entry into the middle class, but costs are causing traditional college and university programs to be increasingly out of reach for many. The Georgia Institute of Technology has had success with scalable online programs that provide quality education at a fraction of the cost of on-campus programs. However, there have been challenges in bringing these programs to fruition with a consistent student experience. Building on lessons learned, this paper proposes Scalable Advanced Learning Ecosystems that combine personalized learning, intelligent tutoring, learning analytics, and other innovative educational improvements to address student and instructional needs in a holistic fashion.

Nov 26
Inside Higher Ed

Georgia tech is considering creating brick-and-mortar "storefronts" for prospective and current students to sample its course offerings, listen to lectures and network.

The effort is part of Georgia Tech's plans to make its online degrees and professional education certificates more appealing to the nontraditional students of tomorrow, who the institution predicts will expect "flexible learning experiences." Read the full story via Inside Higher Ed.

Georgia Tech is Imagining an Apple Store for Online Degrees
Nov 16
The Washington Post

Americans expect a lot from their colleges and universities. They want higher education to prepare students for jobs and as citizens in a democratic society. At the same time, they expect universities to produce research that makes our lives better and drives economic development in their towns, regions and states. A new op-ed in The Washington Post from Jeff Selingo explores these tensions.

Nov 08
Georgia Tech News Center

One of the challenges colleges face is how to best prepare students for the career pathways that exist today and will be created in the future.  

To meet students’ needs colleges must look at how and where they operate, as well as who they serve and who is left out. 

These were just a few of the topics discussed Thursday during a media roundtable discussion Georgia Tech organized in New York City with peers in higher education, corporate leaders and foundations looking into this issue.

Accessible, Affordable and Applicable: The Future of Higher Education - Pres. Peterson
Oct 23
Washington

A new report, “The Future(s) of Public Higher Education,” released today by Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence and Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities lays out five new models to address the new realities of and demands on public higher education institutions and improve the student experience.  

“Today’s demands on public higher education institutions are very different from those dating back many decades, when the basic model of these institutions was formed,” said Cole Clark, managing director, Deloitte Services LP, who leads client and community outreach and relationships for its higher education practice. “Higher education is now firmly planted in a new era, and requires a new master plan: how it is organized and funded, its mission, and whom it serves.”

“The rapid pace of change in higher education, due in large part to shifting learner demographics, mandates a new educational model for public universities,” said Rich DeMillo, executive director, Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. “This report outlines critical examples of ways that public universities might revitalize their approach and meet the demands of learners with a wide variety of needs.”

The report describes five approaches that could serve as models for public higher education, including:

The Entrepreneurial University: A state university system differentiates its offerings at the institution level while coordinating at the system level to align educational investments with student — and state economic — needs. Individual institutions would specialize in areas such as undergraduate education, vocational training, or research, while degree programs and curricula would be centrally influenced through the definition of clear goals by the state and system.

Example: Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit university established to expand access to quality higher education to adult students with some college and no degree. WGU is the nation’s first accredited competency-based education (CBE) university, providing CBE online and at scale.

The Sharing University: Campuses would link student and administrative services to realize efficiencies of scale and/or capitalize on the expertise of institutions. Repetitive activities would be either automated or outsourced to a single institution within the system, enabling the other campuses to focus resources on more strategic activities. Examples of shared activities: career services, international recruitment, academic advising, legal affairs, and information security.

Example: The University System of Georgia has started the OneUSG initiative to develop and put in place streamlined policies, procedures and technologies.

The Experiential University: Institutions would integrate work experiences into the curriculum, with students toggling between long stretches in the classroom and the work world related to their area of study. Employers would have a chance to evaluate students for potential fit before committing to hiring them for a full-time position. Work experiences would be closely tied to the state’s economic development priorities and its emerging job market.

Examples: University of Cincinnati and Georgia Tech are operating a cooperative model, in which students are working one-third to almost half of the time a student spends in school.

The Subscription University: This platform focuses on continual learning throughout a student’s lifetime. Under this model, students would start higher education earlier by taking dual-enrollment or early college courses while still in the K–12 system. Thereafter, they could access university courses throughout their lives to gain and update their knowledge and skills as needed, paying lower tuition fees up front and then an annual subscription fee during their lifetime.

Example: Idaho’s State Board of Education makes policy for K-20 public education, continually working toward an education system without barriers within the governance or committee structure.

The Partnership University: The annual budgeting cycle would be extended across several years, making it easier for institutions to plan and make strategic investments. It would guarantee a certain level of funding from the state over multiple years in exchange for agreements from colleges for tuition limits, cost savings, increased collaboration and consolidation, and private fundraising. Businesses and other employers would also provide insights on curriculum, financial assistance for equipment, and other essential resources. 

Example: Maryland’s Effectiveness and Efficiency Initiative saved $94 million at its 11-campus system and froze tuition for three years.

“Adopting elements of one or more of these models would require input and collaboration across a diverse set of stakeholders as well as strong leadership,” said Jeffrey J. Selingo, a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities and one of the authors of the report. “Developing a master plan that is forward looking and self-aware of a system’s challenges is a big lift but can be done and is needed to position our public higher education institutions for the future.”

In the research for the report, several common elements were identified to enable change at the system level, including:

  • Effective leadership:  Strong and visionary leadership from the state governor, state legislators, university system leadership, boards, and institutional leaders will be required to drive change. An effective leader will help to design the blueprint for the state’s higher educational system and animate the university community to help build and embrace the vision.
  • A new focus for the university system office: The university system office would need to transition their focus from reporting and compliance to helping to define and measure success by establishing common data structures across the system, providing tools to monitor progress and support decisions, and conducting active communication between the central office and institutionsThis additional level of responsibility will demand a concomitant level of authority and funding allocation.
  • An institutional culture that puts students at the center: When the needs of the student are at the forefront, decisions about where to invest and focus can be made more clearly, supporting areas that meet student demand. This line of thinking can help to direct investments needed to hire faculty, expand degree/credential offerings, and invest in new technology.
  • New financial models and incentives: As universities innovate, evolve, and collaborate more frequently within and across a system, the operational changes can affect the current funding model. Analysis would need to be done to rethink how to allocate revenues and costs across the system, and create clear incentives to develop new programs designed to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s economic realities.
  • Clear and frequent communication: Change in higher education is fraught with perilMany change initiatives fail to take hold due to lack of stakeholder and leadership buy-inFrequent and clear communication – painting a picture of the change imperative but also the vision of the improved future state – is a prerequisite to successfully implementing the difficult change outlined in the report.

The report also includes an analysis of 565 state institutions’ publicly available strategic plans using text analytics with top focus areas, including: research, enrollment, facilities/building and programs and offerings. Additionally, a brief history of the current public higher education models and an overview of current challenges facing institutions are also included.

Full report is available here.

Cover - Deloitte and Georgia Tech Center for 21st Century Universities Reveal Five New Models for Effective, Affordable Education
Oct 23
Deloitte Insights

How can U.S. state universities meet growing demands for relevance even as they face a funding squeeze? A new report from Georgia Tech's Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence outlines five innovative ways that stakeholders can collaborate to deliver an effective yet affordable educational experience.

Deloitte
Oct 18
Tokyo

Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that signifies the beginning of research and educational resource collaboration between the two universities.

This collaboration will remain in effect for the next five years and will open the door to the sharing of data, teaching and assessment resources, as well as the exchange of personnel between Georgia Tech and Tokyo Tech.

“We are excited to work with our colleagues at Tokyo Tech’s CITL to further our work in reimagining higher education,” said Steve Harmon, director of education innovation for C21U and associate dean of research in Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE). “We believe that it is important to bring a global perspective to bear when looking at the forces shaping colleges and universities today and in the future, and in determining how to respond to them. The innovative work going on at both Georgia and Tokyo Tech provides a real opportunity to go beyond what we are each capable of individually, and to enable real progress in creating the technological university for the 21st century.”

Just as C21U provides a “living laboratory” for educational technology research, design and implementation at Georgia Tech, CITL provides Tokyo Tech learners with transformative education by leveraging technology to “continuously improve the quality of education methods and capabilities” at one of Japan’s top-tier engineering and science universities. This fitting partnerships will provide both Georgia Tech and Tokyo Tech with the opportunity to collaborate on timely projects in the areas of educational learning environment and course development, new methodology for learner data analysis and quality assurance, and other innovative online learning research projects.

“The Center for 21st Century Universities is taking a leading role in envisioning the future of higher education in the world,” said Jun-ichi Imura, director of CITL. “We are thrilled to establish this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and to collaborate with C21U as we work together to promote innovations in STEM higher education.”

You can learn more about Tokyo Tech’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL), on their website. Find out more about C21U’s role in education innovation research and global ed tech collaborations such as these by visiting the C21U website.

CITL-Tokyo Tech
Oct 14
Forbes

A new master’s degree offering from MOOC platform EdX and seven partner universities allows online learners to earn a post-baccalaureate diploma at a fraction of the cost of a traditional program.

Oct 12
Inside Higher Ed

The U.S. Department of Education at a convening here yesterday awarded recognition to 10 educational technology projects aiming to expand access to education and pipelines to the work force.

Sep 06
Georgia Tech

A Georgia Tech-led discussion in Washington, D.C., looked at how colleges can meet students’ needs throughout their entire lives.

Aug 02
Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech’s Language Institute, in conjunction with the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U), has launched a new app aimed at helping non-native English speakers improve professional communication for successful business interactions.

The app, Speak English Professionally, is now available for download through both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app is available for free and users are provided with a wide variety of self-paced and individualized learning modules on speaking English in a business setting. Videos and quizzes are designed to assist users with social and interviewing skills based on scenarios they may encounter in business settings primarily conducted in English.

“Today’s learners often use apps to supplement traditional courses in order to continue their education while leading busy, on-the-go lives,” said Matt Lisle, the director of educational technology for C21U. “By providing this type of instruction for free and through an app, Georgia Tech continues to lead in accessible, world-class educational instruction designed for current and future learners.”

The Language Institute and C21U partnered with e-learning production company Onlea to produce the app. The course materials are based on Georgia Tech’s preexisting Coursera specialization courses that are focused on speaking English professionally.

Since 1958, the Language Institute has offered high-quality English language training for students preparing for academic work in the United States and other individuals who hope to improve their language skills for social reasons. As a unit of Georgia Tech Professional Education, the Language Institute also serves professionals looking for career improvement through better language skills. While many lessons still take place in a physical classroom, resources like language learning MOOCs and apps allow the Language Institute to effectively reach a greater number of learners.

“We work hard to provide the best language learning experience in all our programs, and we hope this is reflected in each of our video lessons and online activities,” said Suzi Lee, an instructor and instructional designer for the Language Institute. “This app was developed to provide easy-to-follow speaking strategies and pronunciation practice opportunities so that learners can have access to meaningful language support and improve their overall professional communication.”

To try the app out for yourself, you can visit the Apple App Store or Google Play and download Speak English Professionally for free. The app requires iOS 9.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

You can learn more about the Georgia Tech Language Institute’s work and learning opportunities by visiting the GTLI website. Find out about C21U’s role in educational innovation at Georgia Tech by visiting the C21U website.

Speak English Professionally App from GTLI and C21U
Jul 24
The Evolllution

In this interview, Rich DeMillo, who co-chaired the Commission on Creating the Next in Education, discusses the future of higher education, and points to why institutions need to expand the scope of their strategic planning initiatives to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing industry.

Rich DeMillo Headshot - Book Release
Jul 19
Atlanta, GA

Beginning this August, the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) will serve as the program office and central coordinating body for institute-wide activities for Georgia Tech's Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE) report. C21U will be a hub and liaison to coordinate resources, projects, and programs for efforts related to the CNE.

The CNE report, Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education, is the result of the work of more than 50 faculty, staff, and students to envision the future Georgia Tech learning environment and the changing nature of students and the workplace. Work will begin on fulfilling many report recommendations for pilot programs and projects in the 2018-2019 academic year. The CNE Program Office will serve as the driver and primary resource for these efforts.

Exploratory work has already begun on a number of projects including the Academic Master Plan, Georgia Tech atrium, an Advising for a New Era task force, graduate certificates, and a blockchain credential project.

“We know that higher education must be responsive to the changing needs of learners of all ages and the demands of employers,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and K. Harrison Brown Family Chair. “The CNE realization process will bring forth bold, on-demand, and real-time delivery methods, new products, and new interaction points to meet those needs earlier in life and continue long after graduation.”

CNE projects and programs may be conducted by any academic or administrative unit. Leadership for such efforts includes schools, colleges, vice-provost offices, and Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE). C21U will provide support for all of these initiatives. Rich DeMillo, executive director of C21U, will serve as executive director of the CNE Program Office.

“The university of the future will not necessarily be confined to a physical campus where one spends a few years, earns a degree, and leaves,” said DeMillo. “If fully-realized, the Georgia Tech Commitment will allow students to start, stop, and start again as personal and professional needs change. We have ideas about how to use technology-enhanced advances in learning science to make that future a reality for the next generation of Georgia Tech learners. It will be up to the Georgia Tech community to put that commitment into action."

Interested in getting involved with a CNE initiative? Contact ed-innovation@gatech.edu.

Read the full CNE Report on the Office of the Provost website.

CNE Report - Learners of All Ages
Jun 13
Office of Educational Technology

We are asking you to submit ideas for reimagining the educational ecosystem in 2030, and the concrete steps that can be taken in 2018 to move us toward that future.

Jun 12
Atlanta, GA

Marissa Gonzales’ educational experience is not an uncommon one.

The School of Interactive Computing Ph.D. student grew up in California, where she attended an exclusive high school populated, more or less, by students of privilege who had the time and resources to engage with educators, devote themselves to their studies, and ultimately come out of high school with the skills necessary for academic success.

But Gonzales wasn’t like most of her classmates. It took a lot of effort on both her and her mom’s part to make her time in high school a success.

Each day, Gonzales woke up at 4:30 a.m. so that her mom could take her to school in time to make it to work early in the morning. She made it to the high school about an hour and a half early every day and then, after school, went straight to her job at a t-shirt printing shop. There, Gonzales worked evenings to earn money to help supplement her family’s income, a practice she continued when she attended the University of California, Irvine. She paid her own student loans and sent money home to help her family make ends meet.

School, she said, was like an obstacle.

“As much as I loved it, it was limiting,” she said. “I didn’t have a computer. It became a restriction. There was no way for me to catch up because I was already so far behind on access.”

Gonzales’ story can be told by millions of other Americans. For most, that’s where the story ends – an educational deficit never closed because of a lack of access and resources. For her, though, that experience has served as inspiration for her research into the benefits and pitfalls of online educational environments. Gonzales believes that online learning has potential to reach students who, like herself, had limited access to one of the fundamental components of education: time. Online learning has opened up opportunities for students to learn asynchronously from one another, allowing them to participate in courses as their schedules allow for it.

Degrees like the Georgia Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) program, which has made enormous breakthroughs and turned online learning on its head, aim to broaden access to these types of students. Many in Gonzales’ position are unable to achieve similar results in traditional education. In theory, by making quality education available online, online learning could provide the same opportunity to those underserved communities.

But what are the properties of a flourishing online classroom? Why do they work? Who do they work for? And, ultimately, how can the academic community design environments that provide access to quality higher education for all?

Marissa, meet Jill

Gonzales came to Georgia Tech in 2016 to pursue her Ph.D. after graduating from Irvine with a degree in informatics, concentrating on human-computer interaction.

When she arrived, she approached Professor Ashok Goel, who had just achieved international attention for Jill Watson, an artificially intelligent teaching assistant that answered students’ questions in the online section of his Knowledge-Based AI class.

“I literally just took (Goel) aside and said, ‘Look, I’m interested in your work,’” Gonzales said. “‘I really like this concept going with the virtual TA, and I’d like to help.’”

Initially, she saw the opportunity as one to evaluate the system. How did it affect the students? Was it helping them become more engaged or helping overall grades? As she began to dig in to the project, though, she realized that there was an opportunity and a need for more.

“When we learn, there’s a lot of factors that affect how we learn or affect our feeling about learning, about the classroom, the teacher, the material,” Gonzales explained. “How much do we value the experience and how much does that value impact our overall performance? Do we feel like we’re getting something out of it? Are we learning to use specific strategies for academic improvement and reflecting on our performance?

“These are all things that go on in residential classrooms. What about online classrooms, where the sense of a learning community is perhaps obscured, and where students aren’t just working with the teaching staff, but with intelligent agents?”

Understanding Design Implications for Online Systems

As she dug, Gonzales concluded that she needed to evaluate more than just how AIs could ease the load on teaching staff, making them more available to provide additional in-depth assistance to students online. Instead, she needed to take a more holistic view about the students’ online experience.

Since she began, Gonzales has performed evaluations after each semester for both the residential and online sections of the Knowledge-Based AI class in which Jill Watson and other AIs are used.

The goal is to gain a more complete understanding of the online educational experience and how the design and implementation of these AI assistants, among other design decisions in online learning environments, can help or hurt the process of offering quality education online. Online learning, Gonzales said, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As OMSCS has shown, a quality education can be achieved beyond just a residential program. But it is important that researchers get in front of potential future challenges as online opportunities become more common.

“We have to get in front of it and understand what works and what doesn’t work before the demand becomes too great to keep up,” she said. “Ultimately, online learning should broaden access to more populations, but it’s important that we design and implement programs that provide a complete educational experience.”

In her two years at Georgia Tech, Gonzales has been awarded the Goizueta Foundation Fellowship, which is designed to help attract and promote doctoral students of Hispanic/Latino origin, and the Intel Diversity Fellowship from the Georgia Tech Focus Program.

She aims to pick her dissertation topic in the next few months and is on track to complete her degree in 2021.

Marissa Gonzales
May 31
Louisville, KY.

Bringing together experts in education and technology, The Learning House, Inc. has announced the formation of a new Board of Advisors and has named Rich DeMillo, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U), and C21U visiting scholar Jeff Selingo, as founding advisors.

The Learning House, Inc. is a company that seeks to, “helps people improve their lives through education.” “Higher education is rapidly changing and I hope to use this opportunity to continue to drive thought leadership and change in this area,” said DeMillo.  

Read the full PRweb announcement, here.

Apr 16
The Atlantic

Similar to e-commerce firms, online-degree programs are beginning to incorporate elements of an older-school, brick-and-mortar model.

Dec 05
Atlanta, GA

Fall 2017 marks a full decade since the Georgia Tech College of Computing revolutionized undergraduate computing instruction with its groundbreaking Threads curriculum. In those 10 years, the world of GT Computing has changed dramatically—and for the better.

Ten years ago, computer science (CS) education trend lines were very different. Just a few years removed from the bursting of the dot.com bubble, university CS enrollments had just about hit rock bottom. In Fall 2001, the College enrolled some 1,557 computer science majors; six years later, that number had dropped by more than half to 723.

All this despite the fact that throughout the first decade of the new millennium, computers, computational technology and media, and data analysis continued to play an ever-increasing role in global society. Perhaps part of the problem was how CS was taught?

“Across the country, top computing colleges and departments and national computing organizations have recognized that undergraduate computer science curricula have become  ossified, too inflexible to meet the needs of students or the requirements for individual  competitiveness,” read the report, Creating Symphonic Thinking Computer Science Graduates for an Increasingly Competitive Global Environment, co-written in 2006 by then-College of Computing Dean Rich DeMillo and Distinguished Professor Merrick Furst.

Forging a new direction  

“These curricula have become very good at producing a single kind of graduate – inflexible, inadaptable graduates, far from the symphonic-thinking graduates that will be leaders in the future of computing… The breadth of computing and computer science has not been successfully tapped in the design of curricula.”

Enter Threads. When it debuted in Fall 2007, this new approach to an undergraduate CS curriculum was something of a curiosity—and a risk. Georgia Tech has always prided itself on its academic rigor, and CS was no different. Some faculty worried that Threads would be perceived as “dumbing down” traditional CS instruction. In that first semester, just four students took advantage of the new curriculum. So the jury was out: Would Threads help resurrect undergraduate computing enrollments and usher in a new era of computing education?

Oh yes.

For a start, enrollments have not just rebounded but exploded. Fall 2007 marked the low point of CS enrollments, which began to climb steadily and today are higher than ever. In Fall 2017, some 2,110 students are majoring in computer science, and that doesn’t include a few hundred more majors in the B.S. Computational Media (CM) program, as well as the rapidly growing number of students minoring in computing. Speaking of CM, in 2011 the College of Computing and Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts moved the joint program to a “threaded” curriculum.

And, in a very telling move, within a few years of Threads’ introduction, other top computing programs launched new undergraduate curricula that looked uncannily similar to what was going on at Georgia Tech.

Over the curriculum’s first 10 years, individual threads have varied in popularity. Information Internetworks has proven the most popular thread by a significant margin. In fact, about half of all CS graduates since Threads’ inception have selected it as one of their two threads.

With the advent of machine learning and AI-powered technology, the Intelligence thread has steadily risen in demand over the decade, selected by about a third of CS grads. And as the worlds of entertainment and technology have continued to converge, Media took its place as the third most popular thread at just over 30 percent.

Curricular evolution for changing student interests

In all, some 2,114 Georgia Tech students have received their B.S. CS degrees via Threads, and even that number will jump sharply in the next few years with overall enrollments growing so large.

“Threads has shown not just the value but the genuine need for curricular evolution in the face of changing student interests and industry priorities,” said Katie Raczynski, director of undergraduate advising in the College. “It also set the tone, I think, for an openness among College of Computing faculty to further innovations and improvements in our undergraduate curriculum that would not be so easy to do at other universities.”

Indeed, since Threads launched, the College of Computing has continued to provide leadership for the world in computing education.

In 2013 it announced the online M.S. in Computer Science (OMSCS) program, which has since grown to nearly 6,000 students. In 2016 it announced a first-of-its-kind online Intro to Computing course that has been used both for on-campus instruction and by free MOOC learners around the world. It’s continued to produce scholarly evidence for and best practices in CS educational innovations through the work of researchers Mark Guzdial, Barb Ericson, and Betsy DiSalvo.

Shaking things up

Though Fast Company specifically cited OMSCS as the reason for naming the College as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2017, it could easily be viewed as an honor earned by an overall body of work.

“With Threads, we showed that innovation in education can have a tremendous impact on student engagement and that we shouldn’t be afraid to examine longstanding pedagogical practices or shake them up once in a while,” said Executive Associate Dean Charles Isbell, who worked with DeMillo and Furst to design and implement Threads.

“Would our enrollments have rebounded without Threads? Probably. But we grabbed an opportunity to both move our undergraduate curriculum into the 21st century and establish a precedent that Georgia Tech is not afraid to take a risk in the name of education. That, in itself, was a gamble worth taking.”

Threads Selections 2007-17