Weeknotes s2 e10: 25 Jan 2019

In the last couple of weeks I have been starting a project around job postings in schema.org (yeah, I’ve been starting that for a while now) and working on the K12-OCX project which spawned an interesting spin off by way of some python programming to process YAML in markdown into JSON-LD in HTML. I like that programming, so I’ll save it to last

I’ve also been fretting over income tax returns, discussing what criteria LRMI might use for a learning resource type vocabulary, parenting, and had an aborted attempt at learning more JacaScript (I ain’t doing that ‘deeply’)

That Job Posting project

I’ve been mentioning it since back last autumn, I think; hasn’t it started yet? Well, yes it has. I’ve got the contract and have been having discussions with the Job Data Exchange people, schema.org people. There’s no problem (I think), no real hold up, it’s just a bit ‘stealth mode’ at the moment, while we line up ducks. That’s soon to change. I introduced the project to the Job Data Exchange Data Working Group (JDX DWG) last week, and we are well on the way to setting up a W3C community group for the schema.org development work.

Another W3C community group!?

Yeah, another (alongside Schema course extension and Educational & Occupational Credential in schema.org). It seems too easy to set up a group for a very specific task, get that task done, and then you’ve got a community group that looks like it’s doing nothing. Eventually you’ll get a dozen closely related groups with remits too narrow to address what’s left to do. Actually what we’re taking time to do this time around is to work out the remit of a group that can first focus on job postings in schema.org and then look at other aspects of what we’re calling workforce signalling.

K12 Open Content Exchange, & exploring markdown for OER with metadata

I really should write more about what K12 OCX is, not least because we want more project partners. So if you’re in the business of creating or using school-level (K12) curriculum content and materials, and would like to exchange that as OER in a format that encourages disaggregation, repurposing, then get in touch. The OCX specification uses schema.org OER Schema and a few of our own terms as metadata to describe the structure and intent of learning materials, along with a web-friendly content model (also aligns well with ePub).

That project is taking a breather while one of out partners is busy with other stuff. So I took the opportunity to do a short side project and learn some more python.

I’ve been using markdown and MkDocs to document the spec; the pythoning that I have been doing this week has been looking into how it might be used for the creation of curriculum content materials (CCM). The main output so far is a python markdown extension to take metadata embedded as YAML in a page of markdown and render it as JSON-LD in the HTML created by MkDocs. It’s now on github and I’ve blogged about it. What I would like to reflect on here is how I explored and documented the idea of MkDocs for CCM at the same time by keeping notes in markdown and rendering them as HTML with MkDocs. This was somewhat inspired by the way data scientists and machine learners use jupyter notebooks for their experimenting and at the end of it have produced something that can be published so that others can reproduce what they have done. So I’ve published my MkDocs notebook on exploring MkDocs for OCX CCM.

I found the notes really useful when coming back to the project each day, and when I needed to scrap everything and get back to something that worked. They also helped a lot when it came to documenting and testing the python module for github. What hasn’t survived to the published version are the dead-ends, sketchy notes on what I was doing, and comments on what I still needed to work on understanding; as is often the case, the process was as useful as the output. Also, what’s not their are the intangible benefits of being more structured and reflective while I’m learning new python tools & tricks. I’d be really interested in hearing from anyone who uses similar notebooks while working out new stuff.