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Issue #005
Friday 3rd March 2017

Welcome to Badge News from We Are Open Co-op! This is a new bi-weekly newsletter to keep the Open Badges community informed of what's going on, in-and-around the ecosystem.

This issue's featured article has been chosen by Concentric Sky, the organisation behind the Badgr  platform. Click through to read about how their new (open) standard builds upon the existing functionality of the Open Badges specification.

Is it the end of the traditional resume?

An extract from the article:

At the moment, we're treating Open Badges in a similar way as traditional credentials, placing value solely on the destination rather than on an individual's current journey. A single, big, showstopper badge shouldn't necessarily trump a badge pathway showing a relevant trajectory. We should recognize that traditional credentials recognize activity that occurs on a very uneven playing field. Some people, for various reasons, have had a relatively smooth path to where they currently stand. Others, with less-prestigious traditional credentials, may be a better fit but do not come from such a privileged background.

Latest news

Summit on Digital Credentials and Badges

Earlier this week, IMS Global Learning Consortium held their first event since taking over the stewardship of Open Badges. The Summit on Digital Credentials and Badges was held in Orlando, Florida, and featured a keynote from Sheryl Grant, as well as input from Mark Surman (Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation) and Connie Yowell (CEO of Collective Shift).

Many thanks to Kyle Peck for putting together this summary:

The Open Badges Community meeting was well attended and featured presentations on badging platforms by representatives of five prominent badging platforms as well as lively question/answer sessions following each presentation.

Anthony Newman, Informatics Manager at Purdue University, described their “Passport” system, its origins and evolution and its integration with Canvas, as well as where and how it is being used, noting that there is greater interest and use in the areas of continuing education and professional development than in formal courses. Anthony reported that their system is now currently available to other organizations as a free trial, and can be purchased.

Heather Harter, Web Developer in Penn State's Teaching and Learning with Technology group and leader team developing the PSU badging system, described a feature rich platform that produces badges composed of a series of steps Each step is evaluated separately, and one or more evaluators can be identified for each step. A check-out system allows multiple reviewers to simultaneously pull evidence from a queue without conflicts. Steps in badges are available in a library and can be reassembled and edited when making new badges. The PSU system will be made available to other non-profit organizations who request it.

Ken Totherow, Director of Special Projects at the University of Texas, Austin, described their path to digital badging and described plans for the near future.

Peter Janzow, CEO of Pearson Acclaim (a “small startup”) began his presentation by using badges developed in IBM's exemplary internal training system to demonstrate how skill and knowledge-related keywords in the badge are elegantly connected to jobs that require them and allowing the badge earner to sort jobs by geographic location. (There was audible approval from the audience — this was an “aha moment.”).

The session wrapped up with Nate Otto and Wayne Skipper representing Concentric Sky’s Badgr platform and describing their new concept of “Open Pathways” that will represent a series of accomplishments that lead to a valued proficiency. These pathways will be able to incorporate multiple badges, perhaps from different issuers, and will allow options within each step, such as allowing the learner to earn any one of a series of badges rather than a specific badge.

Overall, it was a solid session and time well spent, with relatively brief presentations followed by ample time for audience interaction. My conclusion: the evolution of badging and badging platforms continues and the future is bright!

Just before hitting 'send' on this newsletter, Sheryl Grant got in touch with a write-up of day, which she has posted on the HASTAC blog. This includes a link to the slides she used for her keynote.

Details of plans IMS Global Learning Consortium has for the future of Open Badges can be found on their web page: Enabling Better Digital Credentialing.

Endorsement 2.0: Taking Open Badges and E-Credentials to the Next Level

Dan Hickey and Nate Otto have published an article in EDUCAUSE Review about Endorsement 2.0 and Open Recognition. The detailed article features a useful 'key takeaways' section.

A recent webinar featured Dan's work on Situated Cognition and the Recognition of Learning.

Image taken from a related blog post by Nate.

Kyle Peck: Predicting the Future of Alternative Credentials

The above-mentioned Kyle Peck is featured on the Next Gen Learning Blog. He gives his thoughts on Predicting the Future of Alternative Credentials, covering (amongst other things) 'disruption', peer assessment, and compliance.

‘Non-traditional’ learning (for higher education)…portfolios and badges
Fiona Harvey from the University of Southampton writes about how eportfolios + badges leads to a more three-dimensional view of students. She links to example student portfolios using Pathbrite, as part of a project that is due to end in July 2017.
Open Badges 2.0

In a post entitled Open Badges 2.0, Tim Riches from Digitalme uses the (now iconic) image above drawn a few years ago by Kyle Bowen.

Tim's short post was written on the way to the Summit on Digital Credentals and Badges and outlines four design principles we should all keep in mind for the future of Open Badges: Simple, Lean, Real-world, and Open.

Have you read a great article about badges you'd like us to include in an upcoming issue? Get in touch with a link!

New to Open Badges?

You might want to check out the (free!) self-paced BADGE BOOTCAMP email course.

Click here for more details!

Innovative uses of badges

Fedora is a well-known Linux distribution with a strong community behind it. In order to encourage and recognise contribution, the Fedora project created a badging system covering everything from events, to quality, development, and community contribution

Fedora's community badging takes place within an open-source platform they developed called Tahrir. The platform has proved popular with contributors, as the leaderboard demonstrates! This is a great example of identifying the knowledge, skills, and behaviours valuable to a community, and recognising those who achieve those standards!

There are currently around 350 badges in within the Fedora badging ecosystem.

Seen an innovative use of badges? Let us know!

Recent academic articles

  • Edwards, J. A. (2017). Evolving pedagogical practice at Middlesex University: The state of our art. SCONUL Focus, 68.
  • Kopp, M., & Ebner, M. Certification of MOOCs — Advantages, Challenges and Practical Experiences. Spanish Journal of Pedagogy (forthcoming). (Link)
  • Kriedeman, D. M. (2016). Digital Badges: Influence on Perceived Ease of Use within Technology Acceptance Model (Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University). 

Did we miss one? Incorrectly cite something? Send in a correction! Note that if an article listed above does not feature a link, this is because it is not available on the open web. You may be able to get access to it via your local library.

Upcoming events, webinars, and community calls

Know about an upcoming event — either online or offline? Get in touch with details!

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