I stumbled on this article: Stanford Launching 14 Free Online Courses in January/February: Enroll Today
The novelty is that there will be some limited form of interaction with some of the staff. Excerpt from saas-class.org:
5. Can online students ask questions and/or contact the professor?
Yes, but not directly There is a Q&A forum in which students rank questions and answers, so that the most important questions and the best answers bubble to the top. Teaching staff will monitor these forums, so that important questions not answered by other students can be addressed.
That’s interesting, we’ll see how that goes 😉