While there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus either way within the Web Literacy Standard community, I’m of the opinion that we should consider HTML and CSS as more ‘skill-like’ than ‘competency-like’. As such, they shouldn’t feature on the competency grid.
As a reminder from last time, we’re defining competencies as collections of skills. This is how I’m proposing the competency grid should look:
HTML would be folded into ‘Composing for the Web’ and CSS into ‘Design and Accessibility’.
Although it seems slightly heretical to ‘demote’ HTML and CSS (“the building blocks of the web!”) to skills, I think we should do it for the following reasons:
- HTML and CSS are bounded in a way that, say, ‘Privacy’ isn’t
- The competency grid without HTML and CSS looks better - it looks ‘finished’, like a version 1.0
- Talking about ‘HTML’ as being the same, conceptually, as ‘Sharing’ feels like a category mistake
From the start I’ve been blogging about the process of creating a new, open learning standard for web literacy. I think the competency grid as it stood in April is instructive:
As you can see, we’ve already recognised as a community that HTML and CSS are conceptually smaller than the other competencies. Folding them into two other competencies is, to my mind, congruent with our thinking all along.
So how would this work for HTML?
At the moment, the ‘Composing for the Web’ competency is made up of the following skills:
- Inserting hyperlinks into a Web page
- Embedding multimedia content into a Web page
- Creating Web resources in ways appropriate to the medium/genre
I’d suggest adding the following HTML-specific skills:
- Identifying and using HTML tags
- Structuring a Web page
How would this work for CSS?
Again, at the moment, the ‘Design and Accessibilty’ competency is made up of the following skills:
- Identifying the different parts of a Web page using industry-standard terms
- Improving the accessibility of a Web page by modifying its color scheme and markup
- Iterating on a design after feedback from a target audience
- Reorganizing the structure of a Web page to improve its conceptual flow
I’d suggest adding the following CSS-specific skills:
- Identifying and using CSS tags
- Demonstrating the difference between inline, embedded and external CSS
The above is without making any changes to the existing skills. I think by making subtle changes we could fold HTML and CSS into the existing competencies without too many problems.
Finally, I think it’s important to make one more point. At the moment, the competency grid is front-and-centre of the Web Literacy Standard. That’s mainly because it’s currently the most colourful and instantly-understandable graphic.
As we get closer to releasing v1.0 of the standard at the Mozilla Festival I’ll be working closely with Chris Appleton and the Comms team to help tell the story around the Web Literacy Standard. Something I envisage is a graphic that’s front-and-centre that explains the Standard better than the competency grid by itself.
As ever, I appreciate your feedback. See below for how to do that!