I think Stephen Downes (picking up on analysis by Michael Feldstein) hits the nail on the head in this comprehensive well-linked commentary on developments in Californian HE relating to online learning, MOOCs etc. Specifically:
The problem, to my mind, is that the aristocrats - the professors - fundamentally don't care whether the sysem is accessable or affordable. Tha's what has to change. Feldstein proposes:
- aggressive program of experimentation and evaluation
- a data-driven and public conversation about the cost and sustainability models
- personas and use cases that help the stakeholder groups have focused and productive conversations
I think the initiatives have to reach beyond mere planning (there's always the clarion call from professors for "more research" and a "coordinated program" and an "emphasis on quality", but at a certain point it becomes more important to do than to plan, to try a bunch of things on a larger scale and take notes about what worked and what didn't).
Worthwhile also reading Donald Clark's MOOCs: ‘dropout’ a category mistake, look at ‘uptake’? which concludes:
We need to look at uptake, not dropout. It’s astonishing that MOOCs exist at all, never mind the millions, and shortly many millions, who have given them a go. Dropout is a highly pejorative term that comes from ‘schooling’. The ‘high school dropout’. He’s ‘dropped out of ‘University’. It's this pathological view of education that has got us into this mess in the first place. MOOCs are NOT school, they eschew the lecture hall and are more about learning than teaching. MOOCs, like BOOKs, need to be seen as widely available opportunities, not compulsory attendance schooling. They need to be encouraged, not disparaged.