A MOOC is a "Massive Open Online Course." The object of a MOOC is to provide an open, collaborative, self-directed learning experience. It is a "peer-to-peer" exchange of knowledge and information. Inge de Waard, in Learning Solutions Magazine, provides a look at MOOCs and shares some benefits and challenges associated with this learning format in an article titled "Explore a New Learning Frontier: MOOCs."
A June, 2011 article in The Chronicle's "Wired Campus" notes that the University of Springfield hosted a MOOC on the topic of online education and the future of e-learning. Content and discussions appear here: http://sites.google.com/site/edumooc/home.
A site called mooc.ca lists a variety of upcoming MOOCs (http://mooc.ca/), including an upcoming MOOC called "Change: Education, Learning, and Technology.
I don't know that I see MOOCs as an alternative to our current efforts in credit-based elearning, but I did see a note about individuals perhaps strengthening their knowledge of a certain topic through a MOOC and then applying that knowledge to earn credit at a "traditional" university.
I believe I will have to explore an upcoming MOOC and see what it's like. Ms. Ward warns that MOOCs can feel chaotic and that digital literacy is a must. I guess I'm used to chaos, so we'll see! More later as I experience one of these.