John Holbo is discussing MOOCs at Crooked Timber. Part 1, Reason and Persuasion On Coursera – or – Look, Ma, I’m a MOOC; part 2, The Game of Wrong, and Moral Psychology. Here's a comment in part 2:
Not to yet further break the butterfly of mdc’s objections on the wheel of what Clay was actually saying, but it’s worth noting that the ideal of liberal arts education as spiritual good in itself is a kind of four-year program of assisted auto-didacticism. One problem with holding up this ideal, to reproach MOOC’s, is that MOOC’s are actually good at assisted auto-didacticism, for those capable of it. (If there’s a problem, it is that MOOC’s are only good for this, not that they are not good at this.) If you are the sort of student who could get the spiritual benefit of going to Harvard, and taking philosophy, you are probably the sort of student who would benefit from a philosophy MOOC. I’m not saying Harvard isn’t better. But the MOOC is a lot cheaper and less rivalrous, as goods go.