Conclusion White Paper

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Summary & Conclusion

Since beginning its current term as a W3C Incubator Group, the Open Web Education Alliance has been focused on solidifying its vision and strategic initiatives. This whitepaper documents a proposal for the shape of an organization.

In order to establish a new field of study in Web Craft and fulfill the vision to cultivate symbiotic relationships between industry, research and education, OWEA will focus on the following initiatives in 2009-2010:

  • Web Education as new W3C Activity: Establish the Open Web Education Alliance as a sustainable W3C Activity that engages practitioners, educators and researchers while simultaneously furthering the potential of the Web and society.
  • Web Craft pilot programs: Support faculty in developing a model Web Craft program in at least one university, one community college and one high school.
  • Open Web Education Curriculum: Adopt suitable teaching resources (such as the InterAct Curriculum Framework, Opera Web standards curriculum, etc.) and create a course content policy to facilitate its evolution to meet the needs of educators, industry and the open Web.
  • Outreach Activities: Create a coordinated outreach and communications plan to target educators, school and university administrators, businesses and clients, students and parents, trainers, Web professionals, government, media and the wider public.

Web Education as a new W3C Activity

After exploring several options, including operating as a for-profit or non-profit corporation, it is apparent the most desirable option is to establish OWEA as a formal part of the W3C.

The scope of OWEA's work can be complementary to the W3C's current focus and there are benefits to both parties. This presents an opportunity for the W3C to increase its membership and further relationships with educational institutions in a capacity other than research and development. The creation of a School of Web will also promote the use of and expand the acceptance of Web standards, helping speed adoption and likely increase uptake of new standards as the students of such a program go to work for more and more implementers throughout the industry. The W3C stands to gain a clearer perspective from the broader educational community: the teachability of current and proposed standards. As an Activity of the W3C, the Web education effort would foster a “feedback loop” for educators to provide much needed commentary on how teachable proposed specifications are, providing a preview of how clear the specification is, and whether it is likely to be taught and thereby used in the real world.

In turn, OWEA can benefit from W3C's flexibility in the way specific activities are organized and managed, in order to fulfill its own plan for funding models, sustainability and resourcing. We have recognized that in order to create a strong and lasting impact, OWEA must be structured in a manner that facilitates the ease of operation, fosters growth, and accommodates changes in leadership while operating efficiently based on sound financial planning. As part of establishing OWEA as an organization, we have begun exploring business/funding models as well as options for a sustainable organizational structure. Other work that we are currently undertaking includes establishing policies for course content and intellectual property, the latter of which we would inherit if established under the W3C umbrella.

We feel that the relationship between OWEA and W3C would be one of mutual benefit and are confident that it will strengthen the Web as a whole. By creating a new Activity for Web Education, the W3C will continue to take an active role in improving the Web as it currently exists and in shaping the Web of the future.

Web Development and Web Craft Pilot Program

A higher standard in Web development education and best practices lays groundwork for both the craft of Web development and for the science of Web progress. Students with a more comprehensive and systematic understanding of all aspects of Web development, from client and server-side programming, to semantic and accessible markup, to Web architecture and protocols, to design (including aesthetics, user interface, and user experience), will be better prepared to improve the quality of Web content, and ultimately to continue on to more advanced topics in Web Craft.

OWEA members have already begun to work on integrating pilot programs at:

  • Illinois Central College
  • Damascus High School
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

These pilot programs incorporate aspects of the WaSP InterAct curriculum and Opera Web standards curriculum, and they will expand to include other material if proven successful. The pilot programs will help identify gaps in existing OWEA curricula, and highlight needs that require future development.

At the time of writing, there is a potential for WaSP InterAct material to become a basis for Web-Science related curricula in Sweden as part of the reform of its school system.

Open Web Education Curriculum

Our mission to help enhance and standardize the architecture of the World Wide Web by promoting Web standards and industry best practices in education centers upon the evaluation and development of curricula materials. As such, OWEA must have clear policies regarding course materials, and strategies to either create pedagogical materials or evaluate and recommend them. OWEA must also work with the community to ensure that these materials are freely available for universal access to disparate audiences: that they are available under an open license, that they are available in multiple languages, and that they are available in accessible formats (such as offering transcripts for any audio or video content).

We favoured adopting and expanding upon an existing curriculum like WaSP InterAct because it already has a framework for content development and contributions of courses, assignments, and learning modules, making it strong option for OWEA to use as a foundation to build upon. The WaSP InterAct curriculum (http://interact.webstandards.org), Opera Web Standards Curriculum (http://opera.com/wsc/), and select content from the Yahoo Juku training program are already being combined. Adobe has also created a wealth of valuable educational material that could be integrated into this curriculum.

We are working on a course content policy that ensures OWEA curricula are based on Web standards and best practices, are practical teaching tools, and relate to the needs of industry as it evolves with the changing face of Web technology.

Outreach Activities

To ensure all interested parties are aware of OWEA's mission, a coordinated outreach and communications plan is being developed.

The plan will focus on:

  • Audience: The target audience groups we intend to reach
  • Method: The methods of outreach required to reach our target audience
  • Message: Key messages to communicate to our target audience
  • Feedback: Feedback mechanisms required to address response from our target audience

Conclusion

OWEA is committed to furthering web education through the following goals:

  • Facilitate the creation a Web Craft Degree. We will support faculty in universities, community colleges and high schools to establish a new comprehensive field of study in the Web Crafts.
  • Foster Web Craft Curriculum. We will nurture a living curriculum framework that emphasizes best practice and open Web standards, adaptable to the needs of universities, community colleges and high schools.
  • Evolve a Sustainable Web Ecosystem. We are a forum where the evolving needs of education, research and industry meet to further the Web.
  • Encourage usable and practical web standards We provide a channel for Web Craft educators to give valuable feedback on how to make Web standards as teachable, learnable and intuitive as possible. Concurrently, industry and practitioners advocate for Web standards that are feasible.
  • Establish Web Career Pathways - We clarify definitions of roles and competencies of the Web profession, so that individuals understand how to enter, successfully develop and navigate within the Web profession. By defining career pathways that correspond to the living curriculum, we ensure that we are continually meeting the needs of education, research and industry.

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