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Master’s Class Act: AT&T and Accenture - Global companies with strong local presence support newest online master’s program

Two of the biggest brands in digital technology, AT&T and Accenture, have each announced a $1 million contribution to support Georgia Tech’s new online master’s degree in analytics (OMS Analytics). The contributions will support growth of the program, which began in August with nearly 300 students and is expected to scale over time.

OMS Analytics features the same rigorous curriculum as the Institute’s top 10-ranked residential program at a quarter of the cost. The online degree is available for less than $10,000. It follows the same model as Georgia Tech’s nationally acclaimed Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS), which currently enrolls more than 6,000 students around the world.

“The field of data analytics is growing very fast,” says Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs and K. Harrison Brown Family Chair. “We have many more qualified applicants than our residential program can admit, so this online program will allow Georgia Tech to serve more students and help business and industry meet their need for qualified analytics professionals.”

This is Accenture’s first gift to support Georgia Tech’s online master’s degree programs, and AT&T’s third, following a $2 million contribution in 2013 and another $1.9 million in 2014 for the inaugural OMS CS venture.

“A culture of continuous learning is a key component to student success and the success of companies like AT&T,” says Bill Blase, senior executive vice president - Human Resources, AT&T Inc. “Online courses like this one enable students to learn anywhere, at any time, to gain skills in one of the fastest growing fields in tech today.”

Accenture is new to the online master’s table, but is no less committed to its success.

“Accenture is pleased to sponsor Georgia Tech in delivering this innovative new online master’s degree program,” says Mike Sutcliff (EE 1985, MS MGMT 1987), group chief executive officer, Accenture Digital. “We look forward to working with the students and faculty to create interesting learning experiences based on our advanced analytics work with clients across industries.”

OMS Analytics courses are designed and produced by Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) and delivered on edX.org. This involves a substantial amount of work by not just faculty, but also instructional designers, videographers, writers, editors, and simulation experts, says Nelson Baker, dean of GTPE.

In less than a year, GTPE’s learning design team worked with faculty and administration to prepare eight courses for online delivery in time for the start of the program in August 2017. Producing courses for an at-scale program such as the OMS Analytics, which will serve thousands of learners online, entails a significant shift in both the traditional role of faculty and the standard techniques used to create a course for classroom delivery - it is a team endeavor. Instructional designers are a critical part of course development and delivery, providing training and guidance on the best techniques for translating lectures, learning activities and assessments into engaging, effective online courses. Videographers, graphic designers and simulation experts help create engaging content. Beyond the production of courses, GTPE also developed the business model, markets the program, and provides student services support.  

“The AT&T and Accenture philanthropic contributions help fund development during the start­up phase and ensure the program maintains viability until tuition can cover operational costs.”

Without this support, he adds, the program would lose one of its key advantages — affordability. “The ability to offer Georgia Tech-quality education at such an affordable price is exciting, and to also provide access for individuals who can’t come to campus and help them advance their careers is most gratifying.”

To learn more about OMS Analytics, visit omsanalytics.gatech.edu.