Yes. Would the current thinking that a professor MUST be a content expert transmitting content be limiting to some extent?
The reasons why Sebastian Thrun, Daphne Koller, Andrew Ng, and Agnant Agarwal have been so successful in launching and organising xMOOCs (based on what they have done in transforming online courses into xMOOCs) are based on some major factors: Being innovative, being good in taking risks and opportunities, being an expert in the area, and being able to convince and influence themselves, people around them who are decision makers, and the Venture Capitalists to join in the MOOCs. This is not about teaching only, and not facilitation for sure. There are lots of great professors who could teach (based on their teaching performance, or lecture to a huge audience), but not too many could change the world, within a short space of time.
I am trying to highlight these in order to point out similar wonderful things that have been done by the cMOOCs pioneers: David Wiley, Alec Couros, George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dave Cormier, who have in various ways also transformed the world of education in looking into more deeply how people are learning through different learning models (Social Constructivism, Connectivism, Networked Learning etc.). Most of the educators and professors would be working endlessly in the MOOCs (c or x MOOCs) to make MOOCs a better learning platform, hoping that this would turn out to be a better learning experience for their learners and themselves, that is my assumption. Are there many others who would like to exploit these opportunities for making money, profits, as Venture Capitals? Are there many others who would like to conduct further researches and make the knowledge and learning known about MOOCs be spread across the world? So, would we wonder what the role of these people are?
Should we re-think about how mere professors (those I mentioned above) could change the world? It is too restrictive to think about professors merely as teaching “machine”, transmitting their knowledge from their heads to other heads, because they are the experts, the gurus. Think about having professors who could inspire, influence, facilitate and actually do something that is greater than themselves, and working with others to contribute to the education and learning of the local institutions, the communities, society, and possibly the whole world.
Where one door might be closing (for some teachers who may not be able to seek employment or continue to teach due to various reasons), there are many doors opening, for them to become the change agents and leaders in education and learning.
Think about money last, and we would all be more interested in thinking and acting more creatively and cooperatively to lead and share our learning with many who are passionate in our journey of education and learning. Is it too much to think about?