Thanks for an insightful post with open and honest sharing. I like your three possibilities. First, there has been a diverse views about whether MOOCs (cMOOCs) are courses, as they (ccks) seemed not to have followed what a traditional online course has prescribed: stating what the learning outcomes should be. The early MOOCs – CCK08 and subsequent CCKs did have specific learning outcomes, together with a structured schedule for each week. However, it really depended on what the participants would like to achieve, and so there could be a participation pattern of 1/9/90 where only a few percentage of the participants were active at any one time, with the remaining 80-90% not that active, or that they remained as legitimate peripheral learners (the lurkers). The cMOOCs that were offered during past 4 years were structured similarly though there had been some variations, like Change 11 having more guest presenters (as facilitators of the week) involved in the course.
Second, cMOOCs had developed with a distributed learning platform where participants were encouraged to host and organize their own learning spaces, like blog, or a shared platform like FB, twitter, Google +, Diigo etc. and so each participant was free to choose whatever topic or domain that interest them.
Third, cMOOCs could also be designed and developed with a central platform, like eduMOOC, MobMOOC, CFHE12, and CHANGE11 where an aggregated LMS (or similar to one), the grsshopper or Moodle had been used. MOOCs did have the assessment components though they were seldom discussed as only those who formally registered and paid for the course were keen in working on them. This didn’t mean that others were not taking the assessment seriously, only that they would not be assessed by the instructors.
This is significantly different from the present xMOOCs where assessment is carried out by machine through machine grading, or peer assessment by the participants. Did the cMOOCs fulfill the requirements of a course? I would argue that it did, only that it went far beyond what a traditional online course was designed and delivered.
I would continue to share my reflection in my post on your other points.