Yesterday I saw some tweets about a 'Mechanical MOOC' and I really had no idea what to expect. My first association was with Amazon's Mechanical turk, but I couldn't see that in regards to a MOOC.
In the press release it states:
The mechanical MOOC is an attempt to leverage the power of the open Web, by loosely joining together a set of independent building blocks.
This so-called “mechanical” MOOC will combine the offerings of three leading open education projects – MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenStudy and Codecademy – loosely linked together by an e-mail list managed by Peer 2 Peer University
The first course will be "introductory Python Programming". The course will be based on MIT OpenCourseWare’s 6.189 A Gentle Introduction to Python class. The class is scheduled to start mid-October, 2012, with initial enrollment available starting August 21 at http://mechanicalmooc.org.
On the website of P2PU there is also a nice post about this new concept:
The Mechanical MOOC is a man (or machine) of mystery. It sends out emails to thousands of small groups pointing them to lectures, tutorials, and exercises – but also encourages learners to think for themselves and share additional resources with each other. It provides a map to learning Python, but doesn’t discourage folks from careening off the beaten path. This is the open web, after all.
If you read this description it certainly sounds a little like the concept of the mechnical turk. Interesting is if they will use this service from Amazon. I will probably hear more about this when I talk again to Philip and Steve.