Digital Badges - How Do They Work?

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I realized that I have not blogged here for some time. Penn State is now using Yammer for many communications & group projects, so most of my efforts are now in that space. To my two loyal readers - I'll do better.

I'm now working on a sorta kinda "White Paper" on digital badges. I write sorta because it will be more than a traditional white paper - it will include a forward-moving plan for Penn State. Others are involved - it's not just me, and I have strong hopes that it will serve as the foundation of great things to come.

As part of the paper, I've created several diagrams detailing the badging process. I started with one diagram that turned out to be a colossal mess - too much info. So today I broke it up into three diagrams that may be slightly redundant, but hopefully far easier to understand. First is the overall badging process.

The Overall Badging Process

  1. BadgeEarnExample.jpgAn earner is given an assignment or task. In this example, the assignment is to demonstrate competency in creative writing via completion of one or more writing tasks.
  2. Using a given set of criteria created by an issuer, the earner then completes the assignment.
  3. The issuer critiques the completed assignment against the criteria, and then makes a decision to award the badge (or not).
  4. The earner then receives the badge.

The badge contains web links back to the issuer, the criteria, and the evidence, allowing anyone clicking on the badge to view all three components.

Badges Process Flow

This is a bit redundant with the first image, but I've included it here as the linear flow of badging is clearer.

BadgeFlowchart.jpgDisplaying Badges via Mozilla's Open Badge Infrastructure

most badging systems have the ability to display an earned badge within the system itself. Many badging systems also have the ability to export the badge to Mozilla's Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI). To display a badge using Mozilla's OBI, the earner must first put their badge in their badge backpack, a cloud-based repository. Then, the earner can display the badge in the backpack or nearly any online environment that either accepts data from Mozilla's OBI or can accept links and/or embed codes. In this example, the earner is displaying a badge in an e-Portfolio, using embed codes. Once embedded, anyone viewing the e-Portfolio can click on the badge and link back to the issuer, the criteria under which the badge was earned, and the evidence that the criteria was met and thus the badge was properly earned. If a link is used, the link will talk one back to the backpack page where the badges are displayed.

For example, if you participate in a creative writing seminar, write a paper (or perhaps several), are assessed on your writing, and then earn a badge for creative writing, when someone clicks on that badge, it will contain a link back to the instructor/course/program description, a link back to the assignment criteria, and a link to the paper you wrote.

Let me know what you think of these diagrams - how might I improve them? Thanks!

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