MOOCs are all the rage, and there is nothing wrong with that, although don't count on it lasting in its current stage forever. This effort is still in early "take off" mode, and an exciting one at that.
Time, then, to talk law and policy. The NYT reports that the leader of the pack, Coursera, has a business model whereby no costs are inputted unless there is gain. "Gain by or for whom?" was my first thought.
I encourage our colleges and universities to get on board with this effort, not least the elite ones among us, and U.Va. is, indeed, the model of the moment. But before you get too far down the road, think through your intellectual property campus policies. If monetized, who
gets the proceeds, the professor or the institution? To whom does the content belong? And do we need to update our copyright and/or intellectual property policies on campus?
In the meantime, best to check out the academic integrity side of things too... and while you're at it, spend some time working out accreditation from both the regulatory (credit hour) and emerging market models (experiential learning, for example).
Let history be our guide. Don't hold up these exciting and important developments for the failure to examine all the main factors (thank you, Professor Lessig) that affect "The Internet:" Law, technology, user behavior and the market as higher education moves down the road to real global education.