MOOCs indeed are a vast step over the closed-door universities. A MOOC today from Coursera or Udacity allows me today to learn from the best. At times these courses parallel the classes in an actual American university. Try however, I may, I cannot find enough time after work to seriously study the course material. I eventually fall behind the class schedule.
A practical problem is that not every geography can have the same support systems as in the US. Hence, a student in say Africa has to walk a few miles to college or nearest bus-stop, internet gets disconnected often and video streaming is too slow and intermittent to keep the concentration intact. An ESL or ETL (English as a Third Language is common in many places) student may be trying hard to follow the videos and needs more time to catch-up. The MOOC course keeps sending me emails about deadlines that inevitably make me guilty that I am perhaps not motivated enough to follow and finish the course. Yet, I am happy to have access to knowledge and learn in my own way. I am not going to be the MOOC class valedictorian, but I can live with that.
MOOC planners, currently, are inviting “free ride along” students as a one-way-street proposition. Apart from offering forums to comment, there is little in terms of cultural or learning style concerns. This makes current MOOCs a one-to-many knowledge transmission system.