The mobile client ate my post! I will try to reconstitute as much of it as I remember ;-)
In this blog post I am continuing the train of though started by thinking about different levels of participation, and my blog post on MOOC registration. Since MOOCs are generally not taken for credit, and since they generally don't need to conform to some sort of departmental outcomes standard (i.e. this course addresses Program Level Outcome A, D, and E), it would be easier for a MOOC, than in a traditional course, to design several tracks and have different requirements for those tracks. There might also be options for a create-your-track, depending on the course of course.
When a participant registers for a MOOC they can pick their track(s) and the system can monitor the participant's progress. I think of this like Nike+'s goal setting. For example my goal was to do 72 miles in 2 (or 3) months. Sure, for a hard core runner that's probably nothing. For a desk-bound employee who only walks and runs (just for the sake of walking and running and clearing your head) during lunch, that is a lofty goal. The little progress bar on my Nike+ account tells me how far I've gone, how much I have left and how long until my time runs out, that's motivating!
Like Nike+, too, participants can elect to post their progress on various social sites, like facebook, to get cheers and attaboys from their friends and family. Of course, this can be part of the course as well in some sort of leaderboard where people can get "likes" from their peers when they get something done. This doesn't really do much for me personally, but it probably does for others, which is probably why it's still a feature in Nike+.
I think the combination of picking your goals, at the beginning of the MOOC (although you are always free to change your goals), and being given some feedback as to how you are doing based on the criteria for those goals, would be helpful in the long run. Sure I am going to get notes from a variety of self-directed learners. If you are self-directed, please ignore my blog post and don't post a comment about how I am stifling your creativity ;-) You obviously have motivation, and study skills, to spare. My proposals are geared toward motivating those who are not as self-directed as you are :-)
As a side note, due to hectic work schedules, I have not been able to view some videos from my 2 coursera MOOCs. At home I generally don't MOOC a lot, so when do I prep for MOOCs? During my commute, where I don't have access to (reliable) wireless networks on my iPad. Why is there no coursera app for tablets that allows you to download new lectures as they become available, allow you to submit assignments, and peer review assignments, and take quizzes, and once you get connected again, it can sync your viewed items, your quizzes and your assignments. Seems like such a no-brainer. You could also get push notifications when new quizzes, lectures and peer feedback are available.