In September 2013, ed X announced a partnership with Google to develop MOOC.org, a site for non-x Consortium groups to build and host courses.Google will work on the core platform development with ed X partners.The larger non-profit organizations include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mac Arthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Council on Education.
Before the Digital Age, distance learning appeared in the form of correspondence courses in the 1890s-1920s and later radio and television broadcast of courses and early forms of e-learning.
Typically fewer than five percent of the students would complete a course.
According to The New York Times, 2012 became "the year of the MOOC" as several well-financed providers, associated with top universities, emerged, including Coursera, Udacity, and ed X.
Many universities scrambled to join in the "next big thing", as did more established online education service providers such as Blackboard Inc, in what has been called a "stampede." Dozens of universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia have announced partnerships with the large American MOOC providers.
The first MOOCs emerged from the open educational resources (OER) movement.
The term MOOC was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island in response to a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (also known as CCK08).
In May 2013 the company announced the first entirely MOOC-based master's degree, a collaboration between Udacity, AT&T and the Georgia Institute of Technology, costing ,000, a fraction of its normal tuition.
The inaugural course, 6.002x, launched in March 2012.
Early MOOCs often emphasized open-access features, such as open licensing of content, structure and learning goals, to promote the reuse and remixing of resources.