MOO Universities

Notes from the Rise and Fall of MOO Universities

These are some notes about the rise and fall of MOO Universities which is a historical capsule of some of the experiences I went through in the early 1990's. Wikiversity is the second time I've been involved in creating an online university, and there are a lot of lessons that I've learned.

If there is someone out there who is skilled at interviewing and wants to create a dissertation out of this, this would be really useful.

Roadrunner 15:34, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


The MOO was the key social element. Created by MediaMOO (Amy Bruckman) and LambdaMOO (Pavel Curtis).

Just a note. The idea of having multiple interacting corporations is something that worked well in the "first era of online internet universities." What happened was that you just had too many personality conflicts if you tried to fit everyone under one roof, so it worked much better to have several interacting non-profits (Globewide Network Academy, Diversity University, BioMOO, and Virtual Online University). The interesting thing was that each non-profit was basically organized around a single "queen bee" (me, Jeanne McWhorter, Gustavo Glusman, and William Painter).


What killed the era of the MOO universities was that we didn't have the funds to match people like Yahoo and MSN who eventually developed chat and discussion facilities which attracted ordinary people and eventually killed the communities.


  • You have to develop a sustainable open source technical infrastructure
  • Cooperate with people who are willing to cooperate with you.
  • Mentors are important
  • Shared values are important