Lab Contact: Jacqui Speculand
Open Badges recognise skills and learning through digital certification. Open Badges allow the badge owner to demonstrate achievement and the viewer to see the criteria for the badge. They are becoming increasingly popular as a means of recognising, rewarding and publicising achievements, skills and knowledge.
This project is currently investigating the feasibility of using Open Badges at Coventry University to support students’ employability through digital accreditation of learning and skills outside of their course of study. Students are being offered a range of badges in employability, digital literacy and skills development.
We are using the Open Badge Academy as the platform for issuing Open Badges to students.
How To Get Involved
If you are interested in using Open Badges in your teaching, please contact the Open Badges team on the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For regular updates on the project, please visit the blog.
The project began in the second year of the DMLL’s operation. The early pilot used a different commercial badging platform and involved an extensive literature review and feasibility study. This year, we have moved into a more operational phase of the project, with a range of projects across the university including:
- employability badges with the Faculty EPUs and Careers department
- skills badges developed by staff for specific or generic use
- digital literacy badges to support skills recognition
- Student union badges to recognise leadership and volunteering
In addition, we will focus on the following research outcomes:
- Evaluate student use of badges:
We have introduced Open Badges in a number of different scenarios across the university and a key part of the evaluation will look at student uptake and response to the badges.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of Open Badges as a means of accrediting skills and knowledge:
We are looking at the use of Open Badges to recognise specific skills acquisition (particularly employability skills), extra-curricular learning, and independent learning and achievement.
- Evaluate the use of an online platform for awarding badges:
We are working with the Open Badge Academy (OBA) during the pilot in order to develop customised CU badges.
- Evaluate employer perceptions of Open Badges:
Our research to date has revealed how important it is to students that employer recognise and value badges. Consequently, we are working closely with our colleagues in the Employability and Placements Units (EPUs) who are employer-facing in order to determine how best to design and implement badges that meet employers’ needs.
Open Badges are awarded through issuing platforms and are portable in digital environments. Students can upload badges to a Mozilla Backpack, to a social media account or show them on their personal web space. In the longer term, it would be possible to attach them to a digital transcript.
These pilots were all undertaken in the 2015-2016 year and have now been completed.
A106MC Design Your own Project
In this employability module students were offered the opportunity to gain badges in transferable skills as part of the module. The badges were linked to learning outcomes and recognised the development of these skills within the context of developing a programme of independent learning. These included team working, reflection and presentation skills.
End of module evaluation with the students on A106MC showed that some students were excited about the potential use of badges to identify extra-curricular learning, skills development and employability skills. The majority of the students said that they would use the badges on their public profile and in their professional spaces.
There is space to promote the use and benefits of open badges with students – uptake seems to be better when the use is clearly explained and benefits are clear to students.
Linking with employers may enhance and support the uptake.
Guide to Campus
The Guide to Campus project, run by the Office of Teaching and Learning, brought together students from all cultures to create a short film that first year and prospective students could engage with prior to starting their courses at Coventry University. The students were all offered the opportunity to receive DMLL Open Badges to accredit their work on this project.
Progress to Date
In March 2016 we presented our work to the Open Badges in Higher Education Conference and got great feedback on what we have been doing.
In July 2016 we held a number of workshops on Open Badges in the Disruptive Media Learning Lab on the 5th-7th July.
We have developed three employability badges which are now live on the OBA site. Students are able to earn badges for CV Ready, Cover letter, Professional Experience and Application Ready.
The project will be evaluated and a report produced in the Spring of 2017, after which we hope that to plan the roll-out of Open Badges across Coventry University.
Associated Faculties, Schools and/or Course(s):
- Faculty of Arts and Humanities
- Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing
- Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
- Faculty of Business and Law
- All EPUs