I made it up. Not that I necessarily coined it. Somebody else might have made it up before me, but I hadn't heard of it before I thunk it.
It occurred to me about five minutes after I dived into the Internet that I was in some mighty fertile *learning* terrain. Compared to classrooms (which, despite emerging pedagogies to the contrary, are still fundamentally knowledge-transference stations, like gas stations of information. Students pull up to the professor/pump and say, "Fill 'er up!") the communities I found myself in were genuine *learning environments.* First paper I wrote about the net was Teaching and Learning at Warp Speed, or Who Needs Classrooms Anymore?, in which I attempted to make the point that virtual environments were probably better suited as primary places of education than the brick&mortar places we were stuck in.
I still pretty much believe that, though I've gotten more realistic politically in the meantime. The university, for instance, is such a stable institution that its current form is probably not eradicable. Rather, we can hope for hybridation: we can encourage the convergence of net environs, with their more collegial, more productive possibilities, with conventional environs, with their stability and legitimacy. We can create a merger of the net and the classroom, an "interversity," if you will. But it should be something new, not an online classroom, not hanging about on a list for credit.
What it will be or look like, exactly, I don't know. I think we're sneaking up on it, though, without quite knowing it.