OpenStudy: 10,000 of your best friends, all studying in the same place #mooc #mmooc #seq21oct13

Seq21Oct13: Sent 11 October 2013.

Mechanical MOOCsters,

Introducing OpenStudy.

It’s no fun to study alone, especially something like coding. It can be frustrating trying to figure out why your code won’t work, and often the answer is a quick little thing that you just overlooked. You need other people to talk to, people there when you need them. With OpenStudy, you’ll have that.

Part of the power of a MOOC is that there are lots of people studying all at the same time, and the power of OpenStudy is that it’s designed to help lots of people answer each other’s questions. It’s a little like a bulletin board, and a little like a chat room. You can leave hard questions for others to answer later, but because we have several thousand people registered for the Mechanical MOOC, you’ll also find at least a few people online at the same time you are–people who can give you that quick answer just when you need it.

What will we be using?

There are hundreds of study groups on the site, which is good news, because once you have used OpenStudy for this course, you can keep coming back and using it for other online learning. But for now there are two study groups you should know about and join:

  • MIT 6.189 A Gentle Introduction to Python (OCW) – This is the official study group for the Mechanical MOOC, but there are also other people here who are learning about Python on their own.
  • MIT 6.00 Intro to Computer Science (OCW) – This is one of the biggest groups on OpenStudy with more than 16,000 participants. This group is for people studying the OCW materials from 6.00 Introduction to Computer Science on MIT OpenCourseWare, the course we’ll use video lectures from. Questions posted to the 6.189 study group also appear in this group (and the general OpenStudy Computer Science group), so you may get answers from here. If you are seeking real-time help, though, and don’t find it in the 6.189 group, hop over to the 6.00 group–there are tons of great programmers hanging out here.

– The Mechanical MOOC

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The Mechanical MOOC’s A Gentle Introduction to Python is a collaboration between Peer 2 Peer UniversityMIT OpenCourseWareOpenStudy, and Codecademy. For this course, Peer 2 Peer University has developed an email scheduler that coordinates student activity across the participating sites to facilitate collaborative learning. This email was generated by the scheduler. A full archive of emails for this course sequence is available here. For more information, please visit For questions regarding the logistics of the course, please e-mail


About MOOC-E

The Mechanical MOOC, international man (or machine) of mystery. (Photo credit: Tinkerbots
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2 Responses to OpenStudy: 10,000 of your best friends, all studying in the same place #mooc #mmooc #seq21oct13

  1. I’d like to hear how you plan on lowering the attrition rate? With MOOCs, attrition is in the 90s. How do you address that? How do you hold people accountable? How do you determine the pace to meet the needs for the *majority* of users.

    My thoughts –

  2. MOOC-E says:

    The attrition rate really isn’t much of a concern in our model, nor it holding learner somehow “accountable.” In our model, learners are accountable to themselves. If they feel they’ve gotten what they wanted out of the course—be it some exposure to what it’s like to learn in this model, a quick refresh of Python concepts, or a complete course experience—we’re glad they’ve come and not particularly worried about them taking off when they are done. Surveys indicate that most of the people who don’t “finish” the course in the conventional sense are nonetheless satisfied with their educational experience through the Mechanical MOOC.

    We try to support learners working at different paces by using persistently available open resources, running multiple sequences as often as we have the enrollment to do so, and leaving an archive of course e-mails openly available. This way, if learners can’t keep up with the eight-week pace, they can move along more slowly, drop back to the next course offering, or work independently.

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