When we first envisioned the Curriculum Database, we had a variety of different focuses. The biggest one, in my mind, was helping people sort through the many different types of learning materials offered by various teams and projects at Mozilla in order to find the right content for their needs. Secondarily, we wanted to improve the creation process—make it easier to publish, remix, and localize content.
Since then, the vision has changed a bit, or rather, our approach has changed. Several of our designers (Luke, Sabrina, and Ricardo) have been conducting a small research project to find out how educators currently find learning materials. We’ve also been learning from conversations with the cross-team Curriculum working group, led by Chad Sansing. Finally, we’ve been looking at existing offerings in the world.
Our approach has evolved so that now we’re focusing on content creation first. Luke and Chad have been working together to improve the web literacy curriculum template.
Luke also worked with the Science Lab team to design new templates for their learning handouts:
Next up is working with the Mozilla Clubs team to create new templates for their onboarding and training materials. The goal with each of these projects is to provide scalable, reusable templates that, once created and refined, don’t require involvement from designers or developers to continue using as new content is created. Right now we’re using a combination of Thimble projects, markdown -> html conversion, and github pages. We’re in experimentation mode.
Editing, localization, quality control, and more
Some of the next hurdles to cross are around mechanisms for localization and allowing for community contribution. One thing I’ve heard from the Curriculum working group is that collaborative editing workflows are needed. One idea I really like came from Emma Irwin who suggested an “Ask for Help” workflow that triggers a ticket in a github repo. That repo is triaged and curated by community contributors, so this could be a useful way to solicit testing and edits on new content.
I’ve also heard a (resolvable) tension between wanting to encourage remixes, but also wanting to have clear quality control mechanisms. User ratings and comments can help with this. Emma has also suggested an Education Council that would review materials and mark those meeting certain criteria as “Mozilla Approved.”
And then what?
All of the above ideas fall under the “content creation” half of the puzzle. We’ve not forgotten about the “content discovery” half, but we’ve put creation first. Once we’ve developed and tested these new workflows for creation, collaborative editing, remixing, quality control, and localization, it will make sense to then switch our focus to content distribution and discovery.
Please do comment below if you have any questions or ideas about this approach.