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We're coming up on week six of the course, and the MechMOOC crew has been debating what to do about the US Thanksgiving holiday week. For the learners in the states, most will be busy traveling and visiting family. We've also noticed through the feedback and OpenStudy discussions that many of you are running a week or so behind the course schedule. So, the question is, do we hold onto the week six e-mail until the 26th and give everyone a week to rest up or catch up?

MIT 6.189 A Gentle Introduction to Programming Using Python (OCW)
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That would be good
Here's an idea. If there is some optional topic that the course was not going to cover, but which could be interesting for those with extra time, could send out an optional weeks lecture and assignments. Just make it clear that rest of course would not depend on the material and is only for those who want to pursue the material independently for the short week.
@Screech: Great idea. Not sure if we can implement for next week, but makes sense for the overall course design. We'll try to build it in for next time.

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I actually will have more time next week, seeing as we have the long weekend. So I would welcome the week 6 email. I'll actually be traveling for work right after the holiday, so that's when I may get behind :)
I concur with @Screech on this one. Would be cool if we had supplementary material for those advancing quicker or with more time. I personally would welcome the break as I've got to dedicate some time to the friends/family.
I'm running a bit behind, so I'd appreciate a weeks break :-)
Yes, a break would be great to get caught up.
I wonder if that would be a fair thing to do. Will the mechanical mooc also make concessions for major holidays or busy seasons of other groups of learners? There's more to this decision than just its one-time practicality for U.S. learners: it will set a precedent that will affect future courses and future learners worldwide. Personally, I'd feel a little let down that my own progress in the mechanical mooc is being slowed down by other participants.
I am non US citizen and would welcome continuity. Since the course is a gentle introduction to Python programming with a generous 8 week program, let us keep the momentum going with the next week for those of us who want to keep the pace. Others can follow at their own pace. What is important is to learn the concepts rather than the pace to keep up. Thanks.
I was getting a bit behind, but, I suppose it doesn't really matter if we all finish at the same time...
@ravi_s @yptrumpet I think we're shooting for a little flexibility in how the course is managed overall rather than responding simply to the US centric holiday. We don't want to stall anyone's momentum, but on the other hand, we don't want to make folks feel as though they are somehow "failing" if they are not keeping up. I really do like @Screech's idea about putting an optional exercise halfway through, but I don't think we'll have time to implement. There seems to be only a handful of learners interested in forging ahead. What if we either posted week six on the blog or e-mailed it only to those who were interested in moving forward? This would still leave a week gap going forward, but our testers thought weeks six and seven were really loaded, so this would give those interested in moving ahead now more flexibility later.
a break would be nice
@MOOC-E Being flexible for all courses equally is good. It's a pilot course, so I just wanted to add my two cents in making it great in the future. I suppose the idea solution is to have both a slowdown for participants who need it and a continuation for the others. That makes me wonder: in the future, will all the course materials for past courses be available on the blog? If that's the case, participants could either follow with the emails or look for the next lesson if they were ready for it.
Please email me next week as you suggested. Thanks for your flexibility.
Personally, i file all the emails in a separate folder, and just work through them at my own pace. I'm a painfully slow learner, so was prepared for this. But i'm fine with the course going ahead as planned, for those that are picking it up quickly! I also like the idea of supplementary material for future courses though!
I like the idea of a break :-)
I would personally like to carry on. Am really enjoying this. I like screechs idea. I also think that making material available to those who want to carry on is fine too, but it does sort of split the group somewhat. What happens when non US citizen hit busy/non productive periods? Does the whole thing slow down also? Personally, I would prefer something like this to just keep moving forward. Perhaps course dates can be planned around this sort of thing. Thanks for all the work put into making this course possible for us. I certainly appreciate it, as do the others too I am sure. Looking forward to other courses put on this way in future. :-)
@yptrumpet @andrew.m.higgs We've posted the whole content sequence on the blog (http://mechanicalmooc.wordpress.com/sequence/) so everyone who want's to push ahead will be able to). We really have a pretty big spread already, and most people are asking for a break. Our hope is that by taking a break we can help everyone group back up a little, but by all means, you guys should continue to work ahead.
OpenStudy broke the link above. It's http://mechanicalmooc.wordpress.com/sequence/
Awesome. I'm sure this will satisfy (almost) everyone. Thanks for all your hard work, Mechanical MOOC!
Thank you. You have got to love openness. :-)
Just a quick check. The sequence does not seem to do Chapter 11 from "How to think like a computer scientist". This is about file io. Am I missing something?
Nope, we are using the structure of MIT's 6.189 for the course. On the schedule for readings (http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-189-a-gentle-introduction-to-programming-using-python-january-iap-2011/readings/) you'll see the following comment at the end: "Chapters 11, 15, 18, 19, and 20 are very interesting, but not covered in this course." You should be well positioned to continue with 6.00SC (http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-00sc-introduction-to-computer-science-and-programming-spring-2011/index.htm) when you finish this course, as we've essentially covered the first unit, and it delves into some of these topics. 6.00 is also offered as an MITx course (https://www.edx.org/courses/MITx/6.00x/2012_Fall/about) so you can take that. We might also consider offering a Mechanical MOOC course based on 6.00SC if there is enough interest.

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