Community is great and CAN be a huge advantage for a MOOC as long as all participants stay engaged. You can visit some product forums and feel like you are blowing dust off the furniture. Go can visit other forums and, in some cases, the community is more vibrant than the products supporting the forum. There doesn't seem to be that much rhyme or reason to why one achieves while others fail but I've noticed some traits in most of the successful forums. A strong cast of regular participants that enjoy helping new visitors learn and make new visitors feel like "one of the gang". Forum discussions do not have to be centered around one topic; for example a guitar forum will talk about all things music, not just guitars. The presence of moderators is felt more than seen. Moderators will step in to advance a conversation, solicit feedback, provide some (but not all) answers when it appears no one has an answer but otherwise let the regulars guide the discussion, even when responses are not correct. Sometimes an incorrect response will create a frenzy of discussion!
I'm glad to see there are some people, such as Glen, that are returning to the course for a second time. It will take people like him to make the PWYM community relevant over the long term.
I like MOOCs. It's a great way to explore things I find interesting and it keeps me thinking. Some courses I've gained more from the content, others more from the forums.
This is the first online course I've seen that is not worried about time. Proceed at your own pace really helps me but, to be honest, a little bit of time pressure can be a good motivator.
I like modules as a method to present material but would feel better if there were some self tests ever now and then so I can determine for myself if I understand the material. Self tests would also make for good subject matter within the community.
One question to Alex, how do you measure the success of a MOOC course? Here's my criteria; am I glad I invested my time, was I challenged and did I learn. If those three measures are met, it's been a good class for me.