Open Thinkering


Tag: Web Literacy Map

A visual history of the first two years of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)

Jamie Allen reminded me that February 7th marked the two year anniversary of the Web Literacy community at Mozilla. We’ve achieved a fair bit in that time. Here’s a visual history of how we’ve got (nearly) to version 1.5  inspired, in part by contributor Greg McVerry. There’s a list of all of the contributors so far at the end of this post and here.


Mozilla’s web literacy work was actually kicked off by Michelle Levesque before I joined Mozilla. I helped with some suggestions and iterations as you can see from her blog. To begin with, it was just a list of skills that I suggested she might want to put into graphical form. So she did: v0.1 (alpha) - Michelle Levesque There was a few months of overlap between me joining Mozilla as ‘Badges & Skills Lead’ and Michelle leaving. I took over development of the web literacy work and wrote a whitepaper.


Erin Knight, Director of Learning at Mozilla at the time, suggested we might work towards a ‘Web Literacy Standard’. We hosted a kick-off call in February 2013 which was well-attended. This is when the community work started, iterating towards a v1.0. The first draft (April 2013) looked like this: First draft of Web Literacy Standard The ‘release candidate’ in July actually had some design love (from Chris Appleton) rather than me messing about in Keynote. This was the ‘Request For Comments’ version from July 2013: v1.0 RFC (July 2013) We’d decided to lock things down for September so that we could launch a version 1.0 at the Mozilla Festival the following month. We were still hoping for it to be a formal ‘standard’ so we called it a specification: v1.0 (specification) As you can see, it’s very similar to v1.1 and the upcoming v1.5 – as you’d expect.


I’d moved teams in late 2013 to become ‘Web Literacy Lead’ at Mozilla. This meant that the Web Literacy Map was one of my main responsibilities. As a community we decided to transition away from ‘Standard’ as the term carries so much negative baggage in North America. After some discussion and debate, we settled on ‘Map’  and took the opportunity to update it to v1.1. Cassie McDaniel provided the visual refresh: WebLiteracy Map v1.1 In April 2014 this was then used to underpin the Webmaker Resources section: Webmaker Resources section Clicking on one of the competencies takes you to a page listing the skills underpinning that particular competency. It was contains resources for teaching that particular area of the Web Literacy Map. This was curated by Kat Braybrooke. Webmaker Resources - Remix In addition, nine of the ten points of the Mozilla manifesto link through to appropriate parts of the Web Literacy Map when you click on them for more information. For example under the ‘learn more’ section of Principle 2 it says Explore how to help keep the Web open. This links through to the Open Practices section of Webmaker resources. Mozilla manifesto - 2


Towards the end of 2014 we began work as a community on scoping out what we originally called ‘version 2.0‘. There was a series of interviews, a community survey, and a small number of community calls in the run-up to Christmas deciding on what we should focus on in 2015. Ultimately, we decided to re-scope to version 1.5 with the potential to go for a v2.0 later in the year. In the community calls we’ve held this year, we’ve already decided to combine ‘Web Mechanics’ and ‘Infrastructure’ to create a new, re-scoped Web Mechanics competency. At the same time, we’re separating out the two parts of ‘Design & Accessibility’ to create Designing for the Web and Accessibility. Changes in competencies from v1.1 to v1.5 We should have v1.5 ready by the end of March 2015. 🙂


This is a visual history, but behind the simplicity we’ve aimed for is so much debate, discussion and complexity. I’ve been in awe at times at the nuanced thinking of contributors to this project. Some have showed up since the beginning of the project, others have given their precious time for just a couple of sessions. But either way, we couldn’t have come this far without them. If you want to get involved in this work, you’re very welcome! Here’s where to point your attention:


Here’s the community, in alphabetical order by first name. They’re all rockstars:

  • Alina Mierlus
  • Andrew Sliwinski
  • An-Me Chung
  • Ani Martinez
  • Alvar Maciel
  • Ankit Gadgil
  • An-Me Chung
  • Atul Varma
  • Audrey Watters
  • Beth Ayer
  • Bex Lewis
  • Bobby Richter
  • Bon Stewart
  • Brendan Murphy
  • Carla Casilli
  • Cassie McDaniel
  • Catherine Cronin
  • Chad Sansing
  • Chloe Varelidi
  • Chris Appleton
  • Chris Mills
  • Chris Wilde
  • Christian Briggs
  • Christina Cantrill
  • Clint Talbert
  • Cynthia Lieberman
  • Darren Alexander
  • Dave Cormier
  • Dave Crusoe
  • Dave Steer
  • David Ascher
  • Diana Graber
  • Doug Belshaw
  • Dumitru Gherman
  • Elizabeth E Charles
  • Emil Ahangarzadeh
  • Emily Goligoski
  • Erica Sackin
  • Erin Knight
  • George Station
  • Grant Russell
  • Greg McVerry
  • Gus Andrews
  • Hannah Kane
  • Honor Moorman
  • Howard Rheingold
  • Ian Cooper
  • Ian O’Byrne
  • Ibrahima Sarr
  • James Buckingham
  • Jamie Allen
  • Jane Bozarth
  • Janet Laane Effron
  • Jen Moore
  • Jess Klein
  • Joerg Lohrer
  • John Bevan
  • John Martin
  • Josie Fraser
  • Joyce Seitzinger
  • Justin Crawford
  • Karen Smith
  • Kat Braybrooke
  • Kathryn Meisner
  • Kevin Turner
  • Kim Wilkens
  • Larissa Shapiro
  • Laura Hilliger
  • Leah Gilliam
  • Liesl Scheepers
  • Lucy Harris
  • Majda Nafissa Rahal
  • Marc Lesser
  • Marcius Herbert
  • Marco Perez
  • Mari Huertas
  • Mark Power
  • Matt Hannigan
  • Matthew Willse
  • Michael Greene
  • Michelle Levesque
  • Michelle Thorne
  • Mikko Kontto
  • Oliver Quinlan
  • Paul Allison
  • Paul Oh
  • Pekka Ollikainen
  • Roz Hussin
  • Sara Carter
  • Sarah Horrocks
  • Shreyas Narayanan
  • Simon Grant
  • Srikar Ananthula
  • Stephen Downes
  • Stephen Judd
  • Sunny Lee
  • Terry Hodgson
  • Thomas Farrow
  • Tom Salmon
  • Vicky Teinaki
  • Will Barkis
  • William Duyck

Have I missed your name? Apologies! Let me know. Finally, there’s a few people I want to single out for their extraordinary help. I can’t overstate how important Carla Casilli was as a thought leader to the community from 2012 to 2014. Ian O’Byrne has stepped up time and time again and has led when I’ve been away. Greg McVerry has been a tireless champion of the Web Literacy Map. Laura Hilliger has been inspirational, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Marc Lesser has been the voice of reason and wisdom. Gus Andrews has been thoughtful and questioning. Alvar Maciel has opened our eyes beyond the English-speaking world and been a indefatigable translator. It’s been such an enjoyable couple of years. I can’t wait to get v1.5 ready and then move on to version 2.0!

Weeknote 10/2014

This week I’ve been:

  • Hanging out with the rest of the #TeachTheWeb team (check out that new wiki page!) in London on Monday and Tuesday. We got some clarity on what we’re up to this year. Michelle, Laura, Kat and Fuzzy are awesome.
  • Updating people about what’s been going on with Open Badges recently via this blog post.
  • Responding to shedloads of comments from my colleagues on an upcoming Webmaker whitepaper. So many, in fact, that I’ve had to delay sharing the draft more widely until Karen Smith and I have rewritten it. Thankfully, the proposed changes come from people’s desire for the paper to underpin our work across the Foundation.
  • Writing some stuff for Open Education Week (which is next week). I’ve got a guest post going on Brian Kelly’s blog and I’m leading a discussion on behalf of Mozilla via our Webmaker Google+ community. You can preview what we’ll discuss here.
  • Moderating an enthusiastic and productive #TeachTheWeb community call.
  • Updating the Web Literacy Map to v1.1 on the Mozilla wiki – complete with a new, more balanced competency grid. The ‘canonical page’ for the Map has been updated to Further details in this post.
  • Adjusting successfully to an even more web-based workflow. I’m continuing to use my Chromebox most of the time when I’m at home, but the biggest change has been our printer breaking. This means I’m now without copies of my daily planner so I’ve had to iterate a new approach. More on that soon!
  • Featured on the blog after a couple of tweets with them. Which was nice. 🙂

Next week I’ll be at home. In fact, I’ve got no more travel scheduled in March; my next trip is for the Oppi Festival in Helsinki early next month.

Image CC BY-NC-SA luke chan

3 things I’m looking forward to at the Webmaker workweek

Tomorrow I’m heading off to the icy wastelands of Toronto for a Webmaker workweek. As with everything at Mozilla, we’ll be planning and working in the open. You can see what we’ll be up to on this wiki page.

I’m helping the multi-talented Kat Braybrooke wrangle the Web Literacy Content ‘scrum’, but here’s what I’m looking forward to more generally.

1. Being F2F with colleagues

Working remotely is great, but virtual interactions differ markedly from embodied ones. I feel this acutely when I meet offline those I’ve only ever known online; it’s like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with one explaining the other.

We’ve quite a few new shipmates, but one I’m looking forward to meeting in particular is fellow Englishman Adam Lofting, our new Metrics Lead. We’re going to try and figure out (if and) how we can measure users’ development of web literacy. I think it will tie in nicely with the upcoming OpenHTML research project we’re doing with Drexel University.

2. Creating the Web Literacy Map user experience (UX)

Although this will mainly be led by the radiant Cassie McDaniel, I’m excited to see the ways we can weave the Web Literacy Map throughout the Webmaker site. Laura ‘super productive’ Hilliger has already produced an ‘if that then this’ demo, so I’m interested in how we can iterate towards a delightful UX for interest-based pathways to learning.

One thing I do think we need to do is to carefully consider the (visual and verbal) language we’re using. We’ve moved from Web Literacy ‘Standard’ to ‘Map’ and so we’ve got infinite scope for cartographic metaphors. 🙂

3. Thinking through the wider webmaker ecosystem

Webmaker (big ‘W’) is Mozilla’s offering in a wider webmaker (small ‘w’) ecosystem. Brett Gaylor‘s team has done a great job of creating innovative, open, stable tools; now we need to connect them more concretely to other people who are doing awesome stuff.

Happily, because Brett’s team has created a Make API this should be easier than it otherwise would have been. In practice, it means people can pull content out of Webmaker and we can pull in OERs and other openly-licensed content. Win.


Doge Canada

My apologies, Kat. I take it back: Canada is not a frozen wasteland. 😉

 Main image CC BY Roland Tanglao