One of the most astonishing things in the current debate on MOOCs and how Coursera and Udacity might terminate the University as we know it, is the neglect of the history of distance education. This is an academic field with a long history and has witness the rise and the fall of virtual and online universities in the 1990ies. For instance, the California Virtual University which is described in great detail here by Stephen Downes.
There have been other traditional universities like New York University who launched online counterparts as for-profit companies. But you do not hear of this examples in the current reports on Coursera or Udacity so as to convince the reader that they are really innovative and new. However, the fact of the matter is that they are not so new. Moreover, they forfeit the true potential, i.e. they do not offer „true“ MOOCs according to the 4R principles. Rather they restrict the user by claiming a so called „honor code“
I am thus wondering
whether when Coursera and co will meet the same fate like the previous fallen virtual universities.