“If you do just want a pile of lectures and some essay questions maybe a MOOC would work for you, but many of the rest of us *did* get a lot more out of our university experience.”
Sadly, “a pile of lectures” and “some essay questions” is precisely what many college students get out of their higher education experience. I don’t think you mean to, but you sound like you’re putting the burden of engagement on the student. If that’s where the responsibility lies, then your basic xMOOC (lectures + quizzes + discussion forums) is perhaps just as good as a more traditional college course.
To the extent that educators have responsibility for student learning (and I’d argue that we have a lot of responsibility), we have similar challenges in both traditional and MOOC-style courses: How do we design learning experiences that encourage and equip students to join in scholarly communities?