Very interesting Q and A – really made me think. A little sticking point for me is the MOOC as a label – it could get in the way if these forms of learning are to evolve in a reflexive and critical context. I was particularly interested in your perspective that traced the links (for you) back to EdTechTalk. What interests me about many of what are called MOOCs are the ways people associate around a shared interest in order to learn more in a social setting, and the roles of the organisers/ teachers in this. They have done this before MOOCs and will do afterwards – what’s important to me is we reflect on and learn from their experiences. A useful framework for Virtual Communities was developed by Steinmueller (from his research into bulletin boards) and bears allegiance to others’ work on communities (virtual and otherwise). Learning Communities–Reality or Feelgood Factor (first paper here http://www.ece.salford.ac.uk/proceedings/2003 ) contains my take on this and refs to Steinmueller’s work.
Stenimueller includes the 3 Ps P People/ membership, Purpose and Policies but also sustainability that he define as something that is lost: either through a technical/coordination failure or when for participants the costs of participation exceeds their willingness to participate.
My doubts about the focus on the MOOC label is that can shift the focus on to what is provided rather what people do and why/how they do it.