It was two years ago, give or take a week, that the MOOC mania started. Think about the effects on higher education of this seminal event and how short a time it has been. In the past two years online education and ed tech have moved into the front pages, being discussed in the front pages of leading newspapers, popular media magazines, and in president's cabinets and board meetings for most institutions. Previously, online education was discussed in small circles and specific contexts, but not as a dominant theme whenever higher education was the topic.
Below is a brief (and incomplete) timeline of the national media articles as MOOC mania started in August 2011. I have not included ed tech blogs in this list, but it is worth noting that George Siemens wrote about the new MOOC on August 4 - exactly two years ago.
- July 17: Online Introduction to Artificial Intelligence - Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun uploads a video on Youtube announcing the Intro to Artificial Intelligence course he is teaching with Peter Norvig as open and online; 0 students enrolled.
- August 1: Take Stanford's AI Course For Free Online - Klint Finley writes a short two-paragraph note about the open, online course on ReadWriteWeb.
- August 2: Stanford U. Offers Free Online Course in Artificial Intelligence - Jie Jenny Zou writes an article in the Chronicle about the AI course, which is the first time I can find with the MOOC label applied to the course; 8,000 students asking for information, but official signup not yet started.
- August 4: You (YOU!) Can Take Stanford's 'Intro to AI' Course Next Quarter, For Free - Evan Ackerman writes in IEEE Spectrum about the course; 10,000 students have asked to enroll.
- August 15: Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course - John Markoff in the NY Times writes the ground zero article that starts the media blitz; 58,000 students enrolled.
- August 16: Free Stanford Class Draws 58,000 Students - Peter Fulham writes an article in Slate, based largely on NY Times article - no new enrollment data.
- August 16: 70,000 Students Flock to Free Online Course in Artificial Intelligence - John Matson writes in Scientific American - enrollment increases by 12,000 in one day to 70,000 students total.
- August 23: Stanford for Everyone: More Than 120,000 Enroll in Free Classes - Tina Barseghian writes in KQED Mind/Shift about the course, and notes enrollment up to 120,000 students.
And the rest, for better or worse, is history. Let me know if I've missed any key articles in this time frame, and I'll update.