Open Badges in Higher Education - Perception and Potential
Open Badges in Higher
Perception and Potential
Dr. Ian Glover – Sheffield Hallam University
Farzana Latif – University of Sheffield
What is a badge?
Visual representation of achievement, experience, affiliation
and/or interest - ideally distinctive and understood within a
What is an Open Badge?
› Many apps, websites, games and organisations issue
badges, but they are separate
– Open Badges attempt to draw all these into one (Free) place
› Include links to criteria and evidence
› Add security and verification
– can check whether a person was actually awarded a specific
› Allow 'clusters' of badges to be shared with others
Why is there a buzz about them?
› Growing recognition that learning happens outside the
› Grade transcripts hide the 'truth' about learning
› Significant motivational potential in some situations
› Strong links with current trends such as MOOCs,
Gamification, Mobile Learning
– but can be used independently of these
What did you do in the project at City
› Aim to identify perception and possible value
› Semi-structured interviews with staff
– Whole institution
› Focus groups with students
– Health Sciences and Engineering
› None had prior knowledge of badges in HE
– but some were aware of other uses
What did you find?
› Students want to use badges to stand out from peers
› Desire to link badges to requirements of professional
› Important not to issue too many
- each badge must represent genuine achievement
What were your other findings?
› Badges would act as a motivator
– would push students to go beyond the minimum
– would support both individualistic and competitive goal
› Useful when applying for jobs or further study
– help students recall their development and developed skills
– staff would use them when writing references
What were the common criticisms?
How can you respond to them?
– plan and design them to be meaningful
› "Hard to design without skills"
– simple, free tools available
› "Lack of consistency in use"
– set a policy about the requirements for a badge
Any more criticisms?
› "Not credible with, for example, employers"
– involve employers in the creation of badges
› "I get it, but my students/lecturers won't"
– didn't appear true from the interviews
› "This could become another assessment route"
– ideally it should reflect what is already happening
How are Sheffield's universities using them?
› Skills development for History students (Sheffield)
› Recognising practical work of Dentistry students (Sheffield)
› Staff development activities (Sheffield and SHU)
› 'Students as Researchers' programme (SHU)
› Course Representatives (SHU)
› Integration activities for International Students (SHU)
What is going on elsewhere in the UK?
›UCL to pilot in a new Marketing module from Jan 2014
›Open Badges in Scottish Education Group mapping use around
›Open Learning Design Studio (OLDS) MOOC issued badges
for completing activities
›Badge the UK promoting value of badges to business
How can I use them?
› Showing competency in a skill,
– e.g. nursing students taking blood samples
› Recognising co- and extra-curricular activity
– e.g. a music student participating in an orchestra, participation in
Students' Union or Student Council activities
› Identifying common themes in a programme
– e.g. showing all modules that develop debating skills
Is that all?
› Validating informal learning
– e.g. certifying a specific standard has been met
› Enabling students to differentiate themselves
– e.g. highlighting specialisms within a programme
› Supporting HEAR activities for students
How do I start using them?
› Image creation
– OpenBadges.me (http://openbadges.me)
– Online Badge Maker (http://www.onlinebadgemaker.com/)
› Badge creation and issuing
– badg.us (http://badg.us)
› All-in-one system
– Credly (http://credly.com)
How else can I use them?
› 'Educational' platforms introducing badges:
› Central, common 'backpack'
How can I get in touch with you?
Dr. Ian Glover
(Some further reading)
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