3 Questions for UT Austin’s New $10K Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence

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I am absolutely thrilled about the newly announced Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) degree from the University of Texas at Austin. why? There are 10,000 reasons. The degree will cost him $10,000.

Please let me speak slowly. his $10,000 master’s degree from a leading global university. Fully online. Perfect for working adults. And in the hottest fields.

When I heard about the MSAI degree offered in partnership with edX (a 2U company), I knew I needed to learn more. Luckily, the two of her behind this degree were more than happy to answer my questions. Adam Klivans, Professor of Computer Science at UT Austin and Art Markman, Vice President for Academic Affairs, kindly agreed to chat.

Q: The launch of this program comes at a time when discussions about the opportunities and potential dangers of generative AI are sweeping across industries. When did the discussion about developing this course begin?Adam Crivans is a white man with black hair and a beard, who wears a collared shirt and tie.

Krivans: Planning for UT’s Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) program began early with the launch of the 2019 Online Computer Science (MSCS) program developed in partnership with edX. I was (and still am) the first dean of his MSCS program. As a researcher in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, I see the new MSCS degree program as having a strong framework for courses in machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and other core AI topics. I wanted to application and theory. I am satisfied with the curriculum.

Even then, we knew AI was mature enough to be a field worthy of its own online master’s degree program at UT. AI will impact nearly every conceivable industry, and the demand for skilled AI professionals will continue to grow in all economic sectors. We recognized that the need for this type of training was too great for traditional sized technical graduate programs. Creating a large master’s degree program in AI seemed like a logical next step for our program.

We also knew that our approach to MSAI, while technical in nature, would draw on knowledge, data, and applications from a wide range of disciplines, unlike the approach we took with MSCS. For example, we knew that the AI ​​Fundamentals course required strong ethics. MSAI has one. I knew some of his MSAI courses would focus on healthcare or clinical research where AI/ML approaches would be transformative. We believe our program sets a new standard for AI advanced education moving forward.

Over the past year or so, years of generative AI research have begun to become “real” in ways that people can intuitively understand. Image generators and chatbots have sparked a lot of public interest, investment, and reflection on the potential impact of these technologies. AI technology is also becoming more prevalent in less publicized areas such as analytics, manufacturing, and security. Overall, the need for a skilled workforce to support the continued adoption of AI technology is only increasing.

Given that situation, I think the announcement of a large-scale AI program deserves attention. These techniques have many potential uses, but only if there are well-trained professionals to do the work. MSAI was created to solve this challenge by lowering the financial and geographic barriers to advanced AI education.

Q: One of the things that makes this degree program so attractive is the affordable price of $10,000. Was that your usual plan?

Krivans: yes. Like its sibling programs in Computer Science and Data Science, MSAI is specially priced to provide new opportunities to as many qualified students as possible and lower barriers to entry for a historically underserved population. It is set. These goals complement what we hope will be another positive outcome, empowering more students to make a positive impact on society through responsible AI innovation.

We do this through our “large scale” program architecture. This simply means that the program is built from the ground up to educate thousands of students at once. Programs like MSAI achieve efficiencies using online learning platforms such as edX and distance-learning-focused instructional designs to enable master’s degrees at a fraction of the cost of traditional graduate programs. .

For students, this graduate education model has several significant advantages. First, obviously the price. Her MSAI degree at UT Austin costs about $10,000 for the full degree. This is a 30 hour program, so it’s only $1,000 per course. The diploma is the same as our direct Master’s program.

The second is flexibility. Unlike traditional master’s degree programs, which typically require full-time enrollment, the MSAI program is flexible and can be customized to suit the student’s life and circumstances. A student can enroll in 1-5 courses per semester and earn a degree in 1-6 years. So, if you’re in a hurry, there’s no faster path to earning a degree in artificial intelligence. But if you’re balancing school with your career and other responsibilities, there’s no better way to fit your master’s degree into your busy lifestyle.

Third, at the core of the value of large programs is the ability to offer affordability and flexibility without sacrificing quality and rigor. Like the existing CS and DS online master’s programs, the MSAI course is taught by UT’s strongest teaching and research faculty. In the past, taking a degree course for credit from a leading expert in AI has been a relatively exclusive experience. I had to be able to devote a few years of my life to completing my degree, possibly even moving to another city. Programs like MSAI offer that opportunity to smart and capable individuals, including those who work full-time, raise families, or live in areas where comparable educational options may not be available. Expand to a much larger population of students.

I think it takes several elements to create a program like MSAI. For example, it helps to have a strong and dedicated teaching and research faculty, a robust IT infrastructure to support thousands of learners, and the resources and determination to keep it on track. edX provided invaluable assistance with course delivery and scaling. However, as programs like the MSAI demonstrate that they can effectively educate large numbers of people at very advanced levels, flexible modalities, and far more affordably than in the past, this model of education will become more popular in the future. I think it will become We are used to seeing it in graduate education.

Q: Large university-sponsored programs such as MSAI, MSCS, and MSCS (together with badges, certificates, and other future initiatives in educational delivery) reflect the changing approach to higher education at UT Austin. do youArt Markman, a Caucasian male with white hair and glasses, wearing an open-collared shirt and blazer.

Markman: I might be a little skeptical about considering these programs a “change of approach”. UT Austin is and will continue to be an excellent research university. The addition of extensive online programs like MSAI complement our deep commitment to world-class on-campus postgraduate education.

That said, I believe that large-scale online education is an important milestone and tipping point for UT. Because, in a reliable and rigorous way, it opens the university’s virtual doors to many students who could not previously be served. Despite relatively large enrollment and low costs, Computer and Data Science Online (CDSO) online programs meet the same rigorous academic standards as UT’s most selective and prestigious on-campus graduate programs. I’m here. Their courses are designed around the university’s on-campus curriculum and taught by tenured faculty. Their students create and maintain innovative virtual spaces for collaboration, networking, and socializing. We see programs like MSAI as important new avenues in pursuing UT Austin’s broader educational and social mission. UT has done significant strategic planning over the past two years. The growth and development of such programs fits perfectly with our mission to create upward mobility opportunities at a price commensurate with the role of public universities.

In America, the idea that colleges and universities must find ways to teach students beyond the campus dates back at least to the Chautauqua movement of the 1880s. Since then it has endured many failed experiments and false starts. But recently, universities like Arizona State University and Georgia Tech have moved purposefully into the online space and found a way to make the model work. And now, it’s been nearly five years since UT Austin entered large-scale online graduate education, and both the university and its students seem to really understand how to push the boundaries of the classroom.

The success of online students and programs influences the rest of UT’s continuing and professional programs. UT has developed a program of microcredentials, digital badges and stackable certificates. This allows people to take short courses, long term contracts or degree programs depending on their needs. We encourage people to return to school throughout their lives to receive training in the specific knowledge and skills required for specific jobs and, more importantly, the critical thinking skills that are central to leadership in the modern work environment. I would like to work with you.

In 1963, the President of the University of California, Clark Carr, observed that large universities do many things at once, and sometimes these things are in tension. In the past, large-scale online programs like MSAI may have been viewed as a departure from a university’s “core” educational mission. However, well-designed and supported large-scale programs fit comfortably within the traditional research and teaching functions of universities and can actually expand the ability of knowledge workers to upskill and reskill. We are seeing strong real-world evidence. future. Our strategic planning mission is to make UT the most influential public university in the world. It’s hard to imagine a better example of that belief in action than CDSO’s programs serving thousands of students around the world.

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