At NeoAcademic, Professor Richard Landers complains that MOOCs exploit students by using them to generate data (something that is standard in 'real courses' but also regulated by informed consent).
I find the word "exploit" in this context offensive. Suppose the MOOC leaders say upfront: "We will be asking you some questions and hope to use the data in our research studying XYZ. We hope you will also learn from these exercises. Mooc participants will also collaborate on creating an online archive of games." And then ask you to check a box before participating in the MOOC. I think this is sufficient informed consent.
The providers are offering something and I see no reason why they can't ask for something. No one (at least for now) has to take any MOOC. The university also offers something, and asks anywhere from $500 to $2500 per CREDIT. Most employers now mandate possession of a college degree even for jobs that do not require the capabilities acquired through college (and which can be gained in other ways). And in the U.S. the total student college debt exceeds $1 TRILLION. If we are looking around for something exploitive, why not start with university education.