Over the past 3 years or so, a number of platforms have emerged which, at least initially, focused on bringing the best of the best college courses to a global audience. As those platforms have matured, they have become a launching pad for experiments that go well past traditional college courses and reached into the world of continuing education.
Let me illustrate this shift with a very current example. On August 1, 2014, The Linux Foundation launched "Intro to Linux" - formerly a 4-day, instructor-led, classroom-based course designed to develop entry level system administration competency – as a MOOC on the edX platform. The instructor led version typically served a few hundred students a year. In the first 6 months, 'Intro to Linux' on edX saw 250,000 registrations, of whom, 80,000 were actively taking the course in the first week after it became available. Registrations have continued at the pace of several thousand a week, from all over the world.