Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ga. Tech Online Program Works for AT&T

The Georgia Institute of Technology online master’s degree program in computer science, that is being offered online and for around $6,000, has been lauded by the media and politicians since it was launched in January. A $2 million donation from AT&T helped get the project off the ground, but many wondered what was in it for AT&T?

Part of the reasons is the great publicity the move has generated for the company. The $2 million is about the same amount the telecommunications giant would pay for a 30-second commercial run during the Super Bowl. AT&T also sees the financial commitment as an affordable training and recruiting tool.

The master’s degree program through Georgia Tech is not like the program Starbucks is offering its baristas through Arizona State University because AT&T staffers receive no discounts for taking the classes. That hasn’t proven to be an obstacle: 18% of the 1,268 students currently enrolled are AT&T employees.

“I can send employees that would never be able to go to a bricks-and-mortar university and be able to train [them] up on these advanced technical skills,” Scott Smith, senior vice president of human resources at AT&T, told Bloomberg Business. “This adds another talent pipeline to my staffing.”

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