A further note on MOOC's

After reading this article on MOOCS as just an expansion of broadcast/banking model/top down education. (Hat tip to Erik Michielsen) I realized one of the key issues with MOOCS is that they borrowed the wrong letters from their inspiration, MMORPG's.  
MMORPG's are Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.  They are the most recent generation of MMO's that started with MUDS (Multi-User Dungeons) in the 1980's.  Possibly the most famous  MMORPG is World of Warcraft, a fantasy game that has millions of users.  Players take on the identity of orcs, elves, even panda-men and fight battles, search for treasure and develop their characters.  MMORPG's are not all fantasy, but they all do involve a combination of playing a game and playing a role.  It's that second par that is missing from MOOC's:  the RPG aspect.  
As a constructivist, I strongly believe that learning is about creating meaning, and sometimes creating identity.  MOOC's aren't great opportunities for this, as the format tends to be a combination of information from above and a large room of people talking all at once.  The real merit of an MMORPG for learning is in the RPG part - an experimentation about identity and meaning.  MOOC's miss this with their emphasis on Massively Open Online.   Of course, MOOC's provide a great fiscal benefit, leveraging the educator through the technology.  But good education is about effectiveness, not efficiency.  
Maybe MOOC's are useful, in some situations.  But education where we want learners to change their behavior and attitudes?  If you can't play with roles, you can't really learn that.  As of right now, MOOC's are about information distribution, and with that they only touch on a portion of deep learning.