David Wiley rants about the supposed differences between MOOCs and 'traditional' online classes in this piece sub-titled, 'Small Deltas, Honeypots and Brand Inversion.' David bemoans the commercialization of higher education and the compromising of a quality experience by a narrow-minded reliance on industrialized production of content and activities, either in the branded MOOC environment or via the LMS, where those activities and content are produced in a DIY lemonade stand 'home-professional' system.
If I learned anything from the Connected Courses experience, and if I picked up anything from getting closer to the Developmental Education instructors, what counts is the connection among learners. The connections (plugging into a lively interactive network of people, firing on all the synapses) are what provides meaning and value to participants, labeled sometimes as students, teachers, what have you.
That connection can be strengthened by working with the Web technology and tools, but it's the connection that's important, not the tools. And, as this new year opens, as we pass an arbitrary point in the planet's orbit around the sun, some ten days past the Winter Solstice, and about 5 days before the next full moon, maybe it's good to commit (for those interested in making resolutions!), to working to improve those connections among learners.