In some posts on #MOOC’s and #Change11 two categories of participants are mentioned. The active participant and the passive participant (the passive one sometimes is called lurker).
The difference is does one publish something with the right tag (#change11 or whatever is appropriate) and does one publish on the internet.
One could be called a passive participant when one is talking about the subject, discussing the subject with classes, making notes on paper, preparing a book or article, or not putting the right tag on ones blog.
The definition of active or passive MOOC-er does not catch all these active persons.
In semiotics the Reader of a text is an active role. Without activity of a Reader the text will not have meaning for the Reader. (U. Eco “The role of the Reader) This seems to make more questionable the difference between active and passive participants of a MOOC. A so called passive participant could be very active.
Maybe counting the lurkers is not that easy. It is not (Sum of participants) – (participants publishing on internet with tag).
Does a passive participant learn something? How could one be a passive participant? This is a paradox like an honest liar.