Landing : Athabascau University

Open Badges TEDx Talk by Joyce Seitzinger (Apr/15)

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A few highlights from the more detailed notes I made during the presentation. Overall, the presentation is non-technical in nature, only briefly highlighting the notion that a badge is, at its root, an image file with some metadata "baked" in using JSON format.

Presentation opens with a degrees/diplomas vs. badges portion where badges are described as more granular credentialing, can express a learners pathway, and used to capture informal learning. The latter is exemplified towards the end of the presentation where Joyce describe the city of Chicago's transition to a so-called City of Learning ( where they first used digital badges as a means for students to collect badges related to the summer activities they participated in. This program evolved to an all-year offering and other U.S. cities have adopted this as well.

From this presentation I did a brief search and came to realize badges being used by other large institutions (e.g. Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Deakin University in Australia).

Other topics include using a backpack to store badges and then making certain badges visible to applicable others (e.g. employer, collaborator, peer, etc.)

Some other bits I found interesting

  • using a badging system as a means to gauge interest
  • badge system could be hierarchical in nature
  • learner can reach for badge beyond entry level (bottom of hierarchy)
  • if a badge is difficult to achieve, then perhaps there needs to be a badge below it in the hierarchy. This would be equivalent to a prep or introductory course in the current system.
  • programs/courses could be updated more often then their 3-5 year reviews/audits because the badging system could provide feedback more immediately. At minimum, the badging system could help inform 3-5 year audits.

The presenter closes with the idea of using badges to make learning pathways visible (whereas not visible in a degree/diploma document, but more visible in the learners transcript) and measurable using the analogy of a badging system as a way of providing paint to a student, then the student painting their own learning experience.