There is plenty of documented history about PLATO, the first computer-based education system in the world. An innovator of so many of today's technologies, including on-line communities, on-line education, chat, forums, inter-computer gaming, plasma technology, touch screen technology, and more.
The talent surrounding PLATO's invention and evolution is staggering, from inventor Dr. Donald Bitzer to U of I alumus and renowned international software genius Ray Ozzie to alumni who are leaders in many of the world's largest companies.
On a personal level, I first used PLATO in 1974 as a 11-year-old, later programming for many University departments. After graduating from Illinois, I returned in 1993 to lead a successful technology transfer of the original PLATO system, later rebranded as NovaNET. Just two weeks ago, NovaNET was decommissioned, ending the longest run of a single system in history, spanning more than 50 years. We are unlikely to ever see that kind of technology shelf life in a computer system/network again.
The website www.platohistory.com documents some of the stories and contributors.