Mechanical MOOC is two things: A massive open online course (MOOC), and an experiment in how to offer these courses.
First, the course: We’re offering an eight-week course called A Gentle Introduction to Python. It is, as it sounds, a course in learning the basics of Python programming.
Second, the approach: Rather than trying to create a platform that structures the end-to-end learning experience, as recent MOOCs have done, we’re taking the best of existing open learning sites—content from MIT OpenCourseWare, communities from OpenStudy, exercises by Codecademy—and joining them loosely with a mailing list that coordinates student activity.
Instead of a professor or university organizing the class, our e-mail scheduler will do it–that’s why it’s mechanical.