Implementing open badges … answering a few questions.

A couple of questions raised around the use of Open Badges. I thought it might be good to open it up for others to input.

Question: I’m fairly new to digital badges generally but given that it is something issued in recognition of something completed/achieved, it might naturally fall within the territory of the Registry, even if it is just at the level of creating an appropriate institutional policy on their use. Do you agree with this assertion?

Answer; Yes, we’ve had a number of conversations at UCS, and involved our QA Team and the Registry Team. The general opinion was, given our use was not credit bearing, it is more inline with an attendance model then it is not a Registry concern, more owned by the enhancement teams. However, we are careful on our descriptions to be clear this “recognises they have attended / completed a short course” and it is not about achieving a certain level.

For us at UCS, this will need to be re-visited to ensure it future-proofs w.r.t ideas we are having around more embedded in-curriculum study skills delivery, and a broader workshop programme. I’d suggest the in curriculum study skills should feed into a credit bearing model. Therefore, open badges aren’t required / appropriate.

Question: Has anyone out there developed a policy on the use of digital badges for their institution and would be prepared to share their experience/document?

Given open badges are very early in their development and adoption, I have tended to focus on developing guidelines. At this stage guidelines will help steer and manage pilots. The experiences feed into writing policies.

Our guidelines are focussed around

  1. ensuring the open badge provides recognition the attendee has reflected (so not just an attendance model)
  2. align with / recognise attendance at other frameworks, such as Employability, Research Development Framework etc.,
  3. ensure sessions are comparable and equivalent

See >> http://www.ucs.ac.uk/openbadge/How-are-we-using-open-badges-at-UCS.aspx

Question: Does anyone have any other ‘top tips’ on digital badges that might be useful?

  1. Use a badge generator which is independent of VLE – it is good to have local control / flexibility at the start.
  2. Plan your online info and catalogue for 20-30 badge events, and remember most badges will expire in two years … so these catalogues and the badge support pages will have a long life
  3. Run development workshops for those who will design and deliver the workshops within your institution. Don’t assume they’ll get it, they need to be won over, and it will open a tin of worms around consistency (or lack off) within workshop designs.
  4. Look for some relatively easy wins with respect to using open badges with your emerging online course portfolio (http://ucslssessions.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/learning-services-release-three-online.html).
  5. Be prepared to resource and support awareness raising with students around Open Badges, Mozilla Backpacks etc., At present, people are not aware of open badges, so they’ll need lots of educating.
  6. Find allies, ie., work closely with others to think through how they can be included within HEAR / Transcripts.
  7. Never forget open badges have the potential to be a significant change agent within the way we design, develop and deliver our workshops and courses.
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