by Doug Belshaw

Dr. Doug Belshaw is Web Literacy Lead for the non-profit Mozilla Foundation and author of ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ (

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The OKCast: Episode #16 – Web Literacy with Mozilla Webmaker’s Doug Belshaw

Alex Fink from the OKCast interviewed me earlier this week about Mozilla’s work. More specifically, we discussed Webmaker and my focus on the Web Literacy Map. It serves as a useful introduction to the space as well as the importance of what we’re doing at the Mozilla Foundation.

Click here to listen (54:02)

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Soliciting feedback on v1.1 of the Web Literacy Map

The Web Literacy Map constitutes the skills and competencies that Mozilla and its community of stakeholders believe to be necessary to read, write and participate effectively on the web.


The Web Literacy Map currently stands at v1.1 but as I blogged recently, a lot has happened since we launched the first version at MozFest last year! That’s why we’re planning to update it to v2.0 by early January 2015.

I’ll be connecting with key people over the coming weeks to ask for a half-hour (recorded) conversation which will then be shared with the community. In the meantime we’d appreciate your feedback. Here’s what Atul Varma had to say:

So I feel like the weblit map is cool as it is, but as has been discussed previously, there are a number of areas that are important but cross-cut through existing competencies, rather than necessarily constituting their own...

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Some preliminary thoughts toward v2.0 of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map

As we approach the Mozilla Festival 2014, my thoughts are turning towards revisiting the Web Literacy Map. This, for those who haven’t seen it, comprises the skills and competencies Mozilla and a community of stakeholders believe to be important to read, write and participate on the web. Now that we’ve had time to build and iterate on top of the first version, it’s time to start thinking about a v2.0.


The first thing to do when revisiting something like this is to celebrate the success it’s had: is now structured using the 15 competencies identified in v1.1 of the Web Literacy Map. Each of those competencies now has an associated badge. We’ve published a whitepaper entitled Why Mozilla care about Web Literacy that features in which it features heavily. It’s also been used as the basis of the Boys and Girls Clubs of...

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Facebook and Twitter: beyond the like/favorite binary?

There’s been a couple of developments with the social networks Facebook and Twitter that fit together quite nicely this week. The first is the news that Facebook likes make a huge difference in terms of what you see while browsing your news feed:

Wired writer Mat Honan found out what happens when you like every single thing that shows up in your Facebook feed. The results were dramatic: Instead of his friends’ updates, he saw more and more updates from brands and publishers. And, based on what he had liked most recently, Facebook’s algorithm made striking judgements about his political leanings, giving him huge numbers extremely right-wing or extremely left-wing posts. What’s more, all that liking made Honan’s own posts show up far more in his friends’ feeds — distorting their view of the world, too.

But Medium writer Elan Morgan tried the opposite experiment: Not liking...

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Making the web simple, but not simplistic

A couple of months ago, an experimental feature Google introduced in the ‘Canary’ build of its Chrome browser prompted a flurry of posts in the tech press. The change was to go one step further than displaying an ‘origin chip’ and do away with the URL entirely:

Hidden URL

I have to admit that when I first heard of this I was horrified – I assumed it was being done for the worst of reasons (i.e. driving more traffic to Google search). However, on reflection, I think it’s a nice example of progressive complexity. Clicking on the root name of the site reveals the URL. Otherwise, typing in the omnibox allows you to search the web:

Google Chrome experiment

Progressive complexity is something we should aspire to when designing tools for a wide range of users. It’s demonstrated well by my former Mozilla colleague Rob Hawkes in his work on ViziCities:



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A list of all 15 Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges

Things have to be scheduled when there’s so much to ‘ship’ at an organization like Mozilla. So we’re still a couple of weeks away from a landing page for all of the badges at This post has a link to all of the Web Literacy badges now available.

Web Literacy Map v1.1

We’ve just finished testing the 15 Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges I mentioned in a previous post. Each badge corresponds to the ‘Make’ part of the resources page for the relevant Web Literacy Map competency. We’re not currently badging ‘Discover’ and ‘Teach’. If this sounds confusing, you see what I mean by viewing, as an example, the resources page for the Privacy competency.

Below is a list of the Web Literacy badges that can apply for right now. Note that you might want to follow this guidance if and when you do!


  • Navigation: Maker
  • Web...

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HOWTO: apply for Webmaker badges


We’re in full swing with Webmaker contribution and web literacy badges at the moment, so I wanted to take a moment to give some advice to people thinking of applying. We already have a couple of pages on the Webmaker blog for the Mentor and Super Mentor badges:

  • How to earn your Mozilla Webmaker Mentor badge
  • How to earn your Mozilla Webmaker Super Mentor badge

However, I wanted to give some general advice and fill in the gaps.

First of all, it’s worth sharing the guidance page for the people reviewing your application. In the case of a Webmaker Super Mentor badge, this will be a Mozilla paid contributor (i.e. staff member), but for all other badges it may be community member who has unlocked the necessary privileges.

To be clear:

  • Webmaker Super Mentors can issue the Webmaker Mentor badge
  • Webmaker Mentors can issue Web Literacy badges (e.g. Remix ‘maker’)

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Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges

{cross-posted from the Webmaker blog)

Web Literacy 'maker': Navigation


To help with Maker Party (launching tomorrow!) we’ve been working on a series of Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges. These will be issued to those who can make digital artefacts related to one or more competencies on the Web Literacy Map.

The structure of each of the Webmaker resources page for each competency (e.g. Navigation) is:

  • Discover
  • Make
  • Teach

We’re not currently badging the ‘Discover’ level, and the ‘Teach’ level is currently covered by the Webmaker Mentor badge. These new ‘Make’ badges are our first badges specifically for web literacy.

How you can help

We’re planning to launch these badges at the end of July. Before we do so, we want to make sure the process works smoothly for everyone, for each badge. We’re also very much interested in your feedback on the whole process.

Here’s what to do. Go to the link below and follow the...

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Why Mozilla cares about Web Literacy [whitepaper]

One of my responsibilities as Web Literacy Lead at Mozilla is to provide some kind of theoretical/conceptual underpinning for why we do what we do. Since the start of the year, along with Karen Smith and some members of the community, I’ve been working on a Whitepaper entitled Why Mozilla cares about Web Literacy.

Webmaker whitepaper

The thing that took time wasn’t really the writing of it – Karen (a post-doc researcher) and I are used to knocking out words quickly – but the re-scoping and design of it. The latter is extremely important as this will serve as a template for future whitepapers. We were heavily influenced by P2PU’s reports around assessment, but used our own Makerstrap styling. I’d like to thank FuzzyFox for all his work around this!

Thanks also to all those colleagues and community members who gave feedback on earlier drafts of the whitepaper....

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Live Session: The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

I usually write about things related to Web Literacy and my role at Mozilla here. However, this evening (UK time) I’m running a live session to celebrate the launch of my new e-book, The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies*.

Update: The recording can be found below, or here.

Date: Sunday 29th June 2014
Time: 8pm BST (what time is that for me?)

I’ll post the video recording after the session!

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