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Greg McVerry

Recognizing Many Networks Loosely Joined at #MozAloha

5 min read

Yesterday I got the chance to catch up with the Participation Team as we continue our development of the Leadership Toolkit.

Everyone is off at all-hands in Hawaii. I joined remotely from Connecticut to hack away at some work. It was great to catch up with Mikko, Verena, and Emma. When it comes to developing resources for open pedagogy on a global scale I can't think of anyone more qualified than this team. We were also joined by Jane who helped us shape our pupose and goals


flickr photo shared by bloomgal under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

We began by discussing the futre of our initiative. As someone joining all-hnads remotely I probably missed some contexts but what I got out of Emma's quick overview the Particatipation Team and the Innovation Team have joined under the moniker of "mobilzers." 

Emma highlighted that the focus will shift more to partners who share Mozilla's vision. Think of Mozilla  more of an alliance rather than a single organization.

That makes sense. Its more webby. I am always brought back to Weinbergers 2002 idea of "small pieces loosely joined." I think many networks loosely joined makes sense for Mozilla moving forward. Especially in terms of our goals of mobilzing new contributors to our projects and activists to our causes.


flickr photo shared by cambodia4kidsorg under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

An Alliance 

I like the idea of thinking about the many parts of our communities as an alliance. Open Science, Firefox, WebVR, Open Journalism, the Hive Network, MDN, Campus Clubs and other Moxzilla groups all have unique missions but we share a common goal. 

Then on the next level of the network there are many other organizations who share these same goals. I persoanlly began contributing to Mozliaa when the National Writing Project (a US non-profit) organized a Hakasaurus hackjam at the National Council Teachers of English (a US professional organzation). 

Protecting the web and ensuring a basic level of web literacy is too crucial a cause for any one organization.


flickr photo shared by Ars Electronica under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Decentralized

We spent much of 2015 and 1016 looking inward as organization. The workflow shifted dramatically and major programs were relaunched. I do fear in the spirit of better and faster a large portion of power was shifted internally and away from the community.

Any networked approach to mobilizing people must remian dectralized moving forward. Yet at the same time we need the systems in place to track our success. This requires an understanding of community building, learning sciences, design based research, social network analysis, and analytics. I am glad tough problems are so much fun.

These can also be draining on the limited resources of MoCo and MoFo. We have to be careful efforts are shared and not simply duplicated. In many ways to reach this vision of greater particiaption Mozilla will need to draw on a diverse set of new contributors working between netowrks. 


flickr photo shared by Marco Arment under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Cross-Pollinators

Emma used the metaphor of a flower to represent the work of our team. In 2015 we were farmers, in 2016 we had the particiatpation buffet, and now in 2017 it looks like the bee will be our metaphor.

This makes sense. A network approach will require cross-pollinators. We need to mobilze and recruit organizations. We need to go back to our communities and bring people along for the ride. I, for an example, am an academic. I need to encourage other schoalrs to contribute while also working with Mozilla to carve out a space for contributors to be recognized for their work.

You maybe a poet or an artist, a designer, a developer, an engineer, or a journalist who share values with Mozilla. Great. Lets empower you within your network so we can create a symbiotic relationship around the web.

What does this Require?

  • Championing Other People
  • Low Barriers of Entry
  • An all of the above platform approach
  • A bunch of other stuff I can't think of. Will you help?

What does this mean for our efforts on the Leadership ToolKit?

  • Hopefully we build somethign that can be used by any networks.

 

  • Networks are the people in them. I do not want to try to build self paced online learning modules. Its bad learning. Instead we are building our modules for live coaching delivery and will help people fork them for synchronous or aynschronous online learning (even self paced online).

 

  • We need to settle on a platform. I don't want to build one more place for Mozilla contributors to have to join. We somehow need a platform that is platform agnostic. For me that is the web. All of our course design should be built on the POSSE model, Publish on Your Own Site, Syndicate Elsehwere. For now this might be Discourse, Twitter, Facebook, or Telgram. We have to let conditions in the nodes decide where learners will share what they make. What we can do is empower the people who use the toolkit to own what they make and control their privacy as they decide where to share it. Personally I believe chat streams enabled with yet to be devloped bots and AI will be the future of distributed learning spaces.