Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are one of the latest innovations in higher education. They represent a classic example of a phenomenon called disruptive innovation. This article traces the origins of MOOCs and the reasons for their rapid development in digital education. MOOCs may or may not survive in their present form, but by considering the issues they seem designed to confront, those who work in higher education can gain valuable insight into what forces are shaping the future of the field and how we can proactively engage in that shaping process.
Keywords: MOOC, disruptive innovation, higher education, digital education, higher education business models, higher education curriculum models, on-line education