School of Webcraft Charter (draft)

January 18, 2011 § 3 Comments

For about a year now, Mozilla has been working with Peer to Peer University to set up a School of Webcraft. The vision is simple enough: a free, community run school for web development. It’s going well, with almost 30 courses on offer for the January term.

Late last year, we decided it was important to write down our vision and rough out  an operating structure. With these goals in mind, we have drafted a School of Webcraft Charter. I’ve posted the draft here with the hope that we’ll get feedback from the Mozilla community and others.

School of Webcraft Charter
DRAFT 0.9 – January 2011

The School of Webcraft is a joint venture between Mozilla and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to create a grassroots learning community focused on web development based on open standards.

Purpose

The problem: Web developer training is expensive, out of reach, and out of touch with how the internet is evolving, especially for open web skills.

The solution: Peer learning powered by mentors and learners like you; self-organized study groups which leverage existing open learning materials.

The goal: Make web developer training free and open, and globally accessible; offer skills and certification that build careers around the open web.

Scope

Learning opportunities and certification offered by the School of Webcraft focus exclusively on open standards-based web development. As an example: courses on HTML5 are in scope, courses on Flash are not. This focus is defined on an ongoing basis by the Webcraft community.

Courses must be built around tools that are accessible to any learner free of cost and that allow participants to openly share their work. Participants are expected to openly license their code, so that they can review, revise, and adapt each others work.

Structure

School of Webcraft is operated by Mozilla and P2PU in a spirit of goodwill and partnership, and eschews unnecessary bureaucracy. Decisions will be made in an open and transparent manner.

Mozilla commits to taking leadership on course and badge content, and final decisions in this area are being made according to the Mozilla governance structure (we hope to establish SoW as a module).

P2PU commits to taking leadership on the learning platform and assessment, and final decisions in this area are being made based on P2PU values and using P2PU governance structures.

P2PU and Mozilla jointly control the rights to SoW names and logos. Any potential revenue from the School of Webcraft is shared between Mozilla and P2PU.

All content and software source code developed by School of Webcraft are openly licensed. Non-software content is licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

Our approach was to balance a) simplicity with b) helpful guidance in future decision making. We didn’t want anything overly prescriptive or precise. And we don’t intend this to be legally binding at this point. It’s more of a joint public declaration.

We need feedback on a number of questions: Does the vision make sense? Does it describe the subject matter well? Most importantly, does the ‘scope’ section strike the right balance between ensuring we’re teaching open technology and at the same time not being overly rigid?

We’ve already shared this with a good number of people. Hopefully, one round of feedback from the Mozilla world will help us get to 1.0 this within the next month or so. But it could take longer. Looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts.

PS. There is an Etherpad version in English and Spanish here. Feel free to edit and annotate, but be cautious as much refinement by the P2PU community has already happened.

§ 3 Responses to School of Webcraft Charter (draft)

  • Gary Lewis says:

    My comments are cosmetic rather than substantive. The language sounds like a draft done by committee. It needs a good edit (eg, why “out of reach” instead of something more succinct like “unavailable”). And, please, write in sentences instead of run-on clauses separated by semi-colons. Also consider the audience. Will everyone understand what “badge content” means? I certainly do not.

    Great idea. I hope it succeeds. …. Gary

  • First off, I really like the idea of a simple charter document to outline the purpose of most any project. It’s something I’ve actually been thinking about this week, before reading this post. So, bravo for starting with a simple, but helpful, guiding document. I like the notion that this type of thing will help “guide future decisionmaking”. It also serves the purpose of helping the idea scale much more easily (i.e., it’s not just in people’s minds).

    Specifically on the content of the draft:

    “Courses must be built around tools that are accessible to any learner free of cost and that allow participants to openly share their work. ” could use some clarification or examples. I assume you mean free tools like trac or etherpad, and not paid tools like basecamp.

    Also, I don’t think the restrictions (open technologies, open licenses) are overly restrictive. The beauty of webcraft is that it can be learned using these tools.

    Agreed that some of the references in the governance section are a little insidery (badges, mozilla governance structure & module — these could just use a link). But in general I do think that a basic clarification of roles is really important to do up front.

    Best of luck – I look fwd to seeing this progress and will likely enroll!

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