Since 2015, the DMLL has piloted the use of Open Badges technology for learning recognition in a wide ranging set of scenarios. Each of these pilots focused on a specific learning context, to testbed on a small scale pathways and recognition for skills development and achievements that largely fall outside of a HE student’s formal curriculum studies. Following this series of pilots we took a short pause to reflect on the successes and failures of these previous pilots to understand how this initiative could be developed going forwards.
In February 2018 we restarted this strand of work with the purpose of understanding and designing what an institution level digital credentials offer might look like, from a critical infrastructuring perspective through to rethinking how best to provide learners with new programmes and opportunities through an offer of this type. This new body of work so far has been developed with stakeholders from across our institution, including colleagues from IT Services, Learning Enhancement Team, Registry, CU Students Union, Centre for Global Engagement and educators from all four Coventry campus faculties (to name a few!).
Our aim is to create an accessible framework which visibly demonstrates and certifies the breadth and depth of extracurricular learning opportunities, to expand upon the educational opportunities available to both Coventry University Group’s student body and the wider community. This framework will be shared openly to encourage others to adopt and adapt, with the explicit intent to make it easier for others to deliver an initiative of this kind, providing opportunity to learn from our mistakes to fast track positive impact and change.
Alongside the development of this framework, we are working with colleagues in IT Services to build towards the technological underpinnings necessary for a large scale initiative of this type.
We will be releasing more updates and information over the next few months, but for now watch this space!
Understanding Open Badges
Open Badges are a mechanism to profile, deliver and evidence learning opportunities. Underneath each badge there needs to be a defined need and a programme of content and resourcing to meet this need.
Open Badges are similar to digital badges but utilise an open infrastructure allowing earners of badges to move their credentials with them across institutions and online spaces. Open Badges have metadata baked-in verifying information such as badge earner, issuing organisation, issuing platform, date issued, learning criteria, learning evidence and other identifiers. “Thousands of organizations across the world already issue Open Badges, from non-profits to major employers to educational institutions at all levels.” – openbadges.org
The term Open Badges can be misleading, with the word “badges” trivialising the capacity building opportunities Open Badge technology offers. Instead, the technology is better understood as a way of providing learners and community members with a way to evidence their learning and experience, and for organisations or community leaders to recognise this learning or the contribution given to a community. “Open” then refers to the open standard behind the badge technology, and that the issued badge is not limited to a single propriety online platform, instead moving with a person across the web to be displayed at the earner’s discretion.
“The innovation that the Open Badges standard provides is that we can issue credentials that work like the web. Instead of trust being based on technological security within one particular platform, it becomes a function of the network. Just as we (sometimes unconsciously) triangulate information from a range of sources to make a judgement about someone we’re meeting for the first time, we can do likewise in a much more intentional way with Open Badges.” (Belshaw, 2015)
Open Badges give rise to revolutionary possibilities, providing space for learning to take place anywhere and for it to be recognised, “bringing free and unencumbered learning recognition” into spaces and communities otherwise neglected (Casilli, 2016).
For more information:
Innovation and Community Producer
Disruptive Media Learning Lab
Innovation and Community Development Officer
Disruptive Media Learning Lab