Table of Contents
At Curriki we believe that high-quality, interactive digital learning has the power to transform lives. As a non-profit educational technology organization, Curriki develops and supports innovative open-source technologies that make learning personalized, interactive, and engaging for every learner. Our technology makes it easy to create, distribute, and experience interactive online learning content.
We provide an authoring tool for interactive content and are developing a standard – the Curriki Educational Experience (C2E) – to support the licensing and distribution of interactive content on any device.
As education technology evolved over the last 2–3 decades, its problems and opportunities have been tackled by for-profit and nonprofit companies, by academic institutions, standard bodies, governments, and entrepreneurs. These efforts have resulted in a set of fragmented, short-sighted solutions that are not sustainable or interoperable on a local let alone at a global scale.
Curriki´s C2E provides a path for solving these issues by applying proven best practices from the quality assurance and quality control industry, lessons learned by successful standard development organizations, and by sprinkling a dose of market economics and financial technology into digital education. Content that is paid, portable, and protected.
Curriki´s experience with digital content for education dates back to 2004 when Sun Microsystems´ CEO Scott McNealy and President of Global Education, Government and Healthcare, Kim Jones, launched the Global Education and Learning Community (GELC) with a mission to focus on developing collaborative, open, standards-based projects and tools for teaching and learning.
McNealy and Jones turned the GELC project into the nonprofit education technology company Curriki. Curriki — a melding of “curriculum” and “wiki” — started out as a website in 2006 allowing users to add, share and modify open educational resources (OER) and claim a piece of authorship. At its peak, the Curriki online library counted over 600,000 registered users, more than 250,000 searchable and downloadable documents, and traffic averaged 1,000,000 visitors per month.
In spite of its many awards and successes supporting teachers, parents, and students, the problems facing both free and commercial educational content marketplaces started to plague Curriki´s digital library: Copyright issues, allegations of plagiarism, inappropriate lessons, and Poor Content Quality.
A recent study by the Fordham Institute found that a great percentage of high school lessons on the most popular commercial education marketplaces today are either mediocre or not worth using. Curriki’s proposed C2E specification and its resulting ecosystem aim to resolve these shortcomings.
We realize these goals can only be achieved through an active, open community process.
Key Premises of C2E
The process of creating amazing, engaging, interactive learning experiences lends itself to sustaining a vibrant, global entrepreneurial environment where education becomes “activated” and yields high-quality learning resources that are shareable, available, and scalable across multiple learning networks. The organizations and individuals who create these resources should be compensated, and their content should not be restricted by policy or technical constraints.
Curriki Educational Experiences (C2E) is a specification that has the potential of becoming the “lingua franca” of digital interactive content – the dominant currency and ecosystem that defines and enables the creation, licensing, sharing, and distribution of interactive digital content anywhere on any device, and on any digital learning system.
The C2E framework consists of empirically-based, service-oriented methods and tools based on open standards. This approach enables the syndication of learning resources – allowing content to live outside the system where it was originally created. This disintermediation breaks down the various silos that hold learning content hostage and increases learner agency significantly.
The answer to having a working education technology ecosystem seems naively simple: educational systems should work together, and they should empower learners to have the best opportunity to succeed. The current fragmentation in education technology, however, has created untenable barriers that prevent the seamless creation, distribution, and dissemination of digital educational content:
- Access to high-quality learning resources is currently inequitable and costly.
- There are few incentives and marketplaces for authors to create quality, interactive digital content, differentiate it from mediocre content, and make it generally available for licensing.
- There is no mechanism to vet the quality and appropriateness of digital educational content.
- There is no way to protect the content from unauthorized access outside of requiring the content to be consumed inside a specific vendor’s delivery system.
- There is no way to deliver and protect the content on a device independent of the internet.
1st Premise: Portability
Digital educational resources should execute on any device, on any operating system, and on any learning or content management system, known or future. The construct of digital educational resources should be modular in nature, so they can be adapted to future devices and technologies:
- C2E’s play on any device or browser.
- C2Es support online and offline consumption.
- C2E technology supports the delivery of content to all the leading learning and content distribution platforms.
2nd Premise: Protection
Digital educational resources should be tamper-proof to maintain their academic integrity, as well as their economic value. Their structure should protect and help enforce any of its inherent copyrights and licensing agreements. The model should encourage the creation of digital educational content under the terms of open licenses such as the Creative Commons, but it should not exclude support for commercial and royalty-based licensing:
- C2Es enforce digital media licenses, rights, and security throughout the ecosystem, which reduces the risk of piracy.
- C2Es authenticate the content is unaltered. Easily tells the difference between derivative and original works.
- C2Es protect learner privacy, encourage student agency, and enable student-owned portfolios
3rd Premise: Vetted Quality
Digital education resources should be subject to processes that guarantee and verify their quality and accuracy. Automation, Artificial Intelligence, crowdsourced peer reviews, rating and review systems, and the application of quality control and quality assurance practices should be part and parcel of the digital education resource creation system.
4th Premise: Economic Viability
The digital education resource ecosystem supported by the C2E specification should provide economic incentives to the authors of premium media that augment the quality and enjoyability of educational experiences. The ecosystem should compensate media publishers, authors and creators, and curators for high-quality digital educational content. The authors/creators and curators of high-quality digital education resources are normally marginalized, and not compensated equitably for their value in raising human capital on a global scale:
- C2Es enable the accurate collection of payments and royalties from the sale and consumption of C2E Resources.
- C2Es generate an auditable record of the distribution and usage of C2Es for creators and media owners.
- C2Es reduce the cost of interactive content by removing barriers between media owners, creators, and learners.
The C2E Standards Strategy
In principle, the C2E specification should yield an architecture that leverages the OpenStand principles.
“comprise a modern paradigm in which the economics of global markets—fueled by technological innovation—drive global deployment of standards, regardless of their formal status within traditional bodies of national representation. The OpenStand principles demand:
- cooperation among standards organizations;
- adherence to due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance, and openness in standards development;
- commitment to technical merit, interoperability, competition, innovation, and benefit to humanity;
- availability of standards to all, and
- voluntary adoption.”
The C2E Specification
C2E is an open-source project that publishes the C2E Document Specification, its APIs, and its MIT-licensed reference architecture and implementations. Together they support the creation and distribution of secure, portable, licensable, and quality-assured digital educational content
Maintained by the non-profit Curriki.org, C2E aims to create an open specification, publish an open API, and drive a vibrant ecosystem that delivers on the promise of high-quality digital educational experiences for all.
The C2E Standards Body
The C2E specification is managed through an open governance process, looked after by Curriki – a non-profit United States 501.c.3 corporation. Curriki acts as a neutral guardian of the C2E specifications, its core API, and the processes for certifying applications and plugins for conformity with the specifications and nurturing and growing C2E for the benefit of the whole ecosystem.
The keepers of the specification are the legal directors of Curriki, responsible for ensuring that it keeps on the mission and neutrally protects the development of C2E.
The C2E Ecosystem
Curriki, as the guardian of the C2E specification, will steer the people, processes, and technology that enable a vibrant, integrated ecosystem for the creation, distribution, and consumption of high-quality, digital learning experiences.
The collaborative development of engineering tools available through the C2E community, like APIs, SDKs, Reference Implementations, Technical Documentation, and other resources serve to quickly and efficiently build a digital content ecosystem that meets the requirements and goals of the specification: Portability, Protection, Economic Viability, and Vetted/High-Quality.
The diagram below illustrates the flow and main participants we have identified in the creation, distribution, consumption, and delivery of digital learning experiences:
Five Major Components of a Fully Integrated C2E Ecosystem
From the above diagram, we can infer ten major components that are needed to support a healthy ecosystem for high-quality digital educational content. Together, these components can support the activities that provide a stable, trusted, scalable environment for the creation, distribution, delivery, and measurement of C2Es, making them the currency of the ecosystem.
1) Intelligent, Collaborative Lesson Generation
Digital processes supported by the specification that facilitate the collection, assembly, and preparation of digital instructional content, with intelligence that supports the identification of appropriate and effective materials.
2) Intelligent Search (for creators and consumers)
Digital processes supported by the specification facilitate the collection, assembly, and preparation of digital instructional content, with intelligence that supports the identification of appropriate and effective materials.
3) License and Royalty Management
Digital processes supported by the specification that provide accurate, transparent processing and distribution of payments and royalties.
4) Marketplace Listing Engine
Digital processes supported by the specification enable digital content to be easily listed and placed for sale on major digital e-commerce platforms.
5) Immutable Transaction Ledgers
Digital processes supported by the specification that ensure that all student experience records, all financial and licensing transactions, and any record of historical value be stored in a reliable, transparent, secure, and immutable manner.
Where Do We Start?
The successful realization of the C2E Ecosystem relies on the participation and commitment of stakeholders in various areas of business and practice. The wide acceptance and adoption of the specification can only be achieved through the organization of groups and individuals committed to the betterment of education on a global scale. Toward that end, Curriki is creating a coalition from which a steering committee and working groups will be formed that will guide and shape the direction of C2Es.
Among those organizations, Curriki is reaching out to:
- Content creators and educators
- Associations that represent parents and teachers
- Institutions of learning
- Entertainment and media companies
- Education media publishers
- Education technology providers
- Technology providers in various areas (security, fintech, AI/ML, infrastructure, etc.)
Curriki’s goal is to have formed a substantially strong coalition to begin work on defining and formalizing the specification, and to start modeling the C2E marketplace by September 2023. The following is a general schedule of activities leading to the launch conference:
C2E Website Live
Internal Specs Draft
Formal Specs Review / Comment
Spec publish to GitHub
Workgroups formed & operational
API v.01 to GitHub
Developer Cert Draft
Developer Cert Release
Reference Implementation Released
Application Cert Draft
Application Cert Release
C2E Launch Conference
This appendix serves to illustrate the preliminary work that Curriki is doing to support and accelerate the C2E specification and the underlying ecosystem.
Curriki has engaged in initial discovery projects that serve as a preliminary exercise for building a baseline specification, a proposed reference architecture, a base API, and initial reference implementations that illustrate the concepts of C2E.
The C2E Specification
The purpose of the specification is to create a digital document format that is protected, portable and can support licensing transactions.
The proposed document specification is anchored in JSON-LD, making the specification both human and machine-readable, with support for linked data, and easier development of web services. The specification is further enhanced by the application of the standards defined by schema.org The schema.org vocabularies allow C2E to support rich, extensible experiences.
C2E Basic Architecture
C2E defines a distribution and interchange format for digital publications and documents. The C2E Package consists of a special JSON-LD file describing the resources in a Package, modeling, and execution instructions being described by the JSON-LD. The special JSON-LD file is called the C2E Manifest file. The basic architecture of a C2E which is reflected in the C2E Manifest file is shown below:
The C2E Data Model
The C2E data model is composed of linked data from different data structures shown below. C2E data is JSON-LD compatible:
The “metadata” attribute is used to refine basic metadata into more detailed metadata.
“c2eContain” is a container object that defines and supports the overall structure of each C2E: