It was a revolution moving higher education from bricks to clicks… and now it’s started to go back to bricks again.
Online university providers, which offered people the chance to study from home, are turning full circle by creating a network of learning centres where students can meet and study together.
Instead of demolishing the dusty old classrooms of academia, the online university revolution is responsible for opening some new ones.
Coursera, a major California-based provider of online courses, is creating an international network of “learning hubs”, where students can follow these virtual courses in real-life, bricks and mortar settings.
And there are thousands of meet-ups in cafes and libraries where students get together to talk about their online courses.
This is the latest stage in the rapid evolution of so-called Moocs - massive open online courses - where some of the world’s leading universities have created digital versions of courses which are offered free over the internet.