You write: “The needs that MOOCs satisfy are the needs of a bunch of middle-aged men (and it is – nearly – always men) who are comfortably tenured but seek the thrill of being on the cutting edge of technology and “innovation” (whatever that is – looks to me like inventiveness with all the fun sucked out of it). They make for great TED talks. Wonderful blog posts. But they are nothing more than a surface solution to the surface problems a non-specialist observer could see in higher education.”

I think you are (wrongly) assuming that all MOOCs must take a certain form – that they are all about the lecture, that they are not fun, that they have anything to do necessarily with the regressive pedagogy of Ted talks. Which particular MOOCs are you talking about?