Open Badges in Higher Education

Open Badges in HE

An unfortunate clash in my calendar meant I wasn’t able to attend this wonderful event today, but it hasn’t stopped me joining in and being a Twitter-pest with my comments.

You’ll be needing Doug Belshaw’s excellent slide deck for this:

Open Badges in Higher Education from Doug Belshaw

I know some are against badges, I know some are in favour. I prefer to think of them as the extra-curricular ‘award’ for students to be able to showcase more than just subject knowledge they’ve been able to regurgitate in an exam (something I was always really bad at).

I don’t believe there is merit in a two to three hour stressful exam scenario. Some students do well here, others do not. I would liked to have had the opportunity to produce more appropriate projects, like I do for work, where I had a role to play, sometimes many roles, in order to organise myself and others, collect and collate resources and knowledge, prioritise these resources and manage outcomes. Not to mention the presentation of the project, either digitally or in-person, and the ability to discuss the project and how I/we worked to get this end result. Here I see where badges can showcase individual achievement, aligned to the formal assessment criteria maybe, but giving the ability to showcase my skills, not just knowledge.

Also present and presenting is Anne Hole from University of Sussex, highlighting more experiences in implementing open badges for both CPD (100 Days of Twitter and TEL). I especially like the badges offered to staff for their engagement in the ‘Take 5’ short courses.

Exploring Open Badges in HE from Anne Hole

Also shared during the day was this excellent post from Carla Casilli: Open Badge Opticks : The prismatic value of badges. Go read it.

Many of the tweets I engaged with during the event centred around the same questions we’ve been asking/answering for a few years now:

  • Where is the value in open badges?
  • Who gets to decide the value of the badge, and who gets to issue them?
  • How many badges are too many (either in badges issued or badges collected)?
  • Do employers recognise/value badges?
  • Can/should formal assessment be badged?

and many more. Many questions (still), many different answers (still), all depending on the perspective you’re coming from, and why. I’ll leave you with this great graphic from Doug’s slidedeck – open badges give the recipient (note: not just students!) the opportunity to demonstrate and display proof of the acquisition :

We really do need a new name for 'soft skills' - these are what *really* matter in the workplace! #OpenBadgesHE

image source: Alan Levine (CC BY 2.0)