We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Luddite in me is inclined to think that the techno-dreamers are headed for another disappointment. But this time around, something does seem different—and it’s not just that the MOOCpioneers have an infectious excitement rarely found in a typical faculty meeting. They also have a striking public-spiritedness. Koller sees a future in which a math prodigy in a developing country might nurture his or her gifts online and then, having been identified by a leading university, enroll in person—on a scholarship, one might imagine, funded by income derived from Coursera. This idea of using online courses as a detection tool is a reprise (on a much larger scale) of the one that spurred the development of standardized tests in the mid-twentieth century, such as the SAT, which was originally envisioned as a means for finding gifted students outside the usual Ivy League “feeder” schools.
I haven't taken a MOOC but from those writing about them, it doesn't seem they've really made the innovative transition. Most of the past attempts to stream classes, via TV and now online, mostly tried to stream the classroom. Seems to me that the real change will come when someone exploits the new medium for a new way to present the material. Khan Academy goes a long way to do this. We probably have enough players, who aren't dependent on the current scheme, for someone to takeover the business with a new way of doing things.
I would also expect we'll see the largest movement from those places where the MOOCs, etc. are fulfilling a real need rather than just refining a current product. Sure there's savings to students in the US, perhaps elsewhere in the developed world. But what about the developing world, say Africa, rural India, where computers and online are moving into the countryside and there isn't a "traditional" university. That is where we'll see the MOOCs put to the most innovative use.
I am currently taking a Coursera World History course with a very good professor. The experience is great. A few hours a week for 15 weeks. I even was able to catch up when stuck in another city in a blizzard. It is a life quality experience and I will take other courses.