Webmaker Clubs: An Idea

Heading into 2015, I’m quite excited about digging into one particular question:

“How can we deepen how people teach the web with Mozilla, so that their teaching experience with us is of higher quality, their learners learn more, and their community leadership is fostered?”

The good news is that I think we have nearly all the pieces. It’s about sequencing and packaging them, and then testing this offering with close partners and allies to ensure we’re serving real needs.

Below is a snapshot of our wiki page where we’re fleshing out this problem set.

For the time being, we’re using the placeholder name “Webmaker Club” to talk about the initiative. Really, it’s a focusing exercise to think about how to best address the above question about retention and quality of teaching and leadership.

Have a peek at the plan below! Would love to hear if this is something that would resonate in your community or local digital literacy program. And if you’re interested to test out a Webmaker Club–in any capacity–please get in touch. The more, the merrier!

webmaker club1

Webmaker Clubs

cross-posted in the Mozilla wiki


This is a living document to think aloud about how Mozilla & friends are evolving our web literacy offering to address the following problems:

  • higher quality teaching and learning. How can the teaching and learning experience be improved for mentors and learners?
  • local community networks. How can local learning communities grow stronger and more networked through Webmaker?
  • contributor retention. How can mentors be encouraged engage with Webmaker longer?

We believe the best way to design a solution is to build it in the open with lead users and partners based on their needs and interests. It should be tested with real mentors and learners and be agile.

There are also substantial pieces already made and tested with this model, so much of what we’ll do in 2015 is consolidate and iterate.

This document describes how we imagine that process working and what we’re learning along the way.

webmaker club3

What Clubs are

“Clubs” is a placeholder term. As this initiative develops, it may or may not have the trappings commonly associated with clubs. The term is just to help us hang our thoughts on a noun. It could die. Or it could be what we call it. Let’s just see.

Roughly, we anticipate that clubs have the following elements:

Series of activities.

A collection of activities to learn about the web. It includes instructions for the mentors on how to facilitate the activities and materials for learners. There may be ways to recognize learning and participation in these activities.

Hypothesis: Our theory is that activities should be modular and remixable, so mentors can easily modify them for their needs. Yet they should also be simple to use so that mentors feel confident. We also think learners do best when they are making something together and have agency in their own learning.

Lightweight community participation.

Simple processes for connecting with other clubs & mentors. The goal is to celebrate what’s happening and to help people learn from one another. Could be things like a shared hashtag and a discussion forum.

Hypothesis: To be successful with this initiative, we need simple ways for people to share what they’re doing in their club and to reflect. This will help us respond to real mentors as well as help mentors help each other. Good social interactions encourage people to stay engaged longer.

Local groups globally networked.

A way for clubs to express their own local flavor, to be locally relevant and to innovate based on local needs. And whatever the local instance looks like, there should be something that unites it globally with other clubs. Things like design elements, webpages or physical gear could be ways to show local and global connections.

Hypothesis: There are ways to be local beyond simply “geography.” Clubs could adapt to audiences and spaces (e.g. adults in a library or young people in an afterschool program), by language (e.g. Bengali or English as Second Language), by partner network (e.g. ThinkBig or CoderDojo). We think clubs will be most successful when mentors & learners can make them their own. Yet there is some shared DNA that connects all clubs.

Leadership development

Clubs should cultivate and recognize local leaders. Clubs can be where local leaders test and innovate, as well as create spaces where they have independence and agency that roll up to a larger community. There may be resources and staff support to coach leaders on being more effective and distributed including professional development.

Hypothesis: We have a stance on leadership: it works in the open, it’s facilitative, and its about having your own agency as a leader and creating spaces for others to develop their agency as well. We think the same learning methods that work for teaching web literacy will be effective for teaching community leadership. Make it about learning with others, interest-based, and blended online and offline.

Integrated with other Mozilla mentor networks

These local groups will be interwoven with other mentors networks, especially the Hive, as a larger community of practice spreading digital & web literacy. Hives can start clubs, clubs could become Hives. We see these offerings as deeply interrelated. There is also huge opportunities to continuing expanding this work with Mozilla networks like Reps and MDN.

Hypothesis: The Hive networks have been greatly successful in having local roots with global community. They are lab and classroom for web literacy. Webmaker Clubs can find a sweetspot in these ecosystems that brings something new (like particular stance on web literacy and community leadership) while leveraging and integrating what exists.


Club Creators

This is a group of collaborators with whom we’ll co-develop the club initiative. It is a mixture of larger learning networks and individuals who are dedicated to teaching the web. We have worked closely with them on a variety of projects already, including Hive, Maker Party and Mozfest.

Whatever we build, it will be shaped deeply by the needs and ideas of this group. They are our distributed leadership. They bring expertise and experience, and our offering should be in service to them.

List of partners testing Webmaker Clubs.

Club Cohorts

To make testing more iterative and bring in club creators when it best suits their organizational needs and timing, we will have at least three test cohorts (ca. one each quarter).

Each cohort will test a set of content, as well as the supporting materials and design principles of the clubs. There will be time for needs gathering, onboarding, testing and reflection in each cohort. Participants can join any cohort in any role that appeals to them. They can also repeat roles or move into other roles depending on interests and needs.

Each cohorts will be a mixture of the following roles:

Club Auditor

Just listen in on the process. Participate on the mailing list and calls. Reflect on the materials and process. Ideally, audit if you’re considering doing a local version later.

Club Tester

Create a test club or integrate the test programming into activities you’re already doing locally. Have 3-4 weeks when you can be engaging with your learners and participating in club calls. There will be multiple cohorts of testers, so if you can’t make one round, don’t worry there will be more. You can also do multiple tests, as we’ll add modules and improvements as we go.

Club Coach

If you’ve done local programming like this already or have tested a club as part of another cohort, you could mentor others who are testing. You can advise and coach the testers as well as provide additional insight and analysis on what’s working.


Club Content

We will continue to write and test the club activities and instructions with the club creators. We are aiming for at least 3 modules, as well as examples & simple ways to remix these foundational modules for different audiences (e.g. libraries, afterschool programs, family at home, etc.)

Module 1a: Web Literacy Basics, Part A

Learners complete this module knowing the core of reading, writing and participating on the web.


  • the browser

Build from:

Module 1b: Web Literacy Basics, Part B

Learners go deeper. They build on their learning in the first module.

Build from above resources as well.

Module 2: Teach and Lead in the Open

Learners complete this module knowing how to teach in the open, to be facilitative leaders and to embed making & learning the web into their practice. Pick up best practices for how Mozilla and other
communities teach and lead in the open.

Build from:

Module 3: Webmaker for Mobile

Learners complete this knowing the affordances of mobile and how to use the Webmaker app to express themselves and learn more about the web.

Build from:



Rough timeline. All subject to change based on needs of the cohorts and other realities. More detail here.

Q4 2014 (pre-alpha)

Deliverable: Be scoped.

—> Initial commitment and calendar of club creator cohorts (alpha, beta, release to market). Requirements gathering and assemble assets.

Q1 2015 (alpha testing)

Deliverable: Be feature complete.

—> Rough versions of all features (content, tools and support) are ready. Test “Module 1: Web Literacy Basics” with first cohort. Experienced club creators observe & coach new ones.

Q2 2015 (beta testing)

Deliverable: Be content complete.

—> Do usability testing. Content is ready for localization. Test “Module 2: Teach and Lead in the Open” and expand testing of Module 1. Rough versions of all web properties are ready.

Q3 2015 (release to market)

Deliverable: Be market ready.

—> Campaign. Web properties well marketed. Module remixes ready for testing in different contexts (e.g. library, at home). Module 3: Webmaker for Mobile also ready. Monitor and cultivate community leaders.

Q4 2015 (release party)

Deliverable: Be reflective and celebratory.

—> Recognition of local leaders at Mozfest. Ship physical packaging of clubs.


Club Team

We are trying to do this with minimal dependencies on other teams or external factors. These skills and roles we anticipate needing.

An Adventure!

Really keen to dive into this initiative. And would love your feedback and, if you’re interested, a chance to test and grow this offering with your local learners.

Email us at makerparty@webmaker.org or tweet #teachtheweb if you want to get involved!

the web is people

Comments (2)

  1. Pingback: Diving into PADI’s learning model | Michelle Thorne

  2. Pingback: Clubs: First test kicks off! | Michelle Thorne

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