I’m in a constant search to find documented discussion of the pedagogy behind the various MOOC iterations. cMOOCs are not so hard; they are borne of distance education and most adhere to connectivism, which is a pedagogical approach in my opinion, a learning theory in the opinions of others. xMOOCs are much more difficult; due to their newness there is little scholarly data on the model, and the creators have not shown as much interest in describing existing pedagogy as in stamping this model as the future of higher education (#cfhe12). Nicholas Carr notes that part of the reason for gathering learning analytics from the courses is to improve pedagogy: (xMOOCs) hope to build large behavioral data bases that can then be mined for pedagogical insights.
Such an approach would be akin to other commentary on the xMOOC model where pedagogical practices amount to throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Theoretically, it is a backward approach to educational development (utilizing Big Data to mine for theory). Economically, it is a viable model for developing a business based on ROI, though often we measure knowledge in those spaces instead of learning. In such an economic model, the lecture-based pedagogy (with the caveat of a Dr. Famous professor from a Leading Institution) provides an economically feasible foundation to tinker with…never mind its behaviorist roots.