Open Badges – the missing link?

My keynote at the #RIDE2016 research conference – Research and Innovation in Distance Education and E-Learning, at the Centre for Distance Education, which took place on Friday 11 March 2016 at Senate House, University of London, focused on Open Badges as the missing link in Open Education.

My aim was to view Mozilla Open Badges in a wider context of Open Education and this again in a yet wider context of the Open Movement, which started with the Open Source concept towards the end of the 1990ies. The open source movement is directly linked to Mozilla, created as a free-software community by members of Netscape, who publicly released the source code of the Netscape Communicator in 1998. Open Badges are one of the key initiatives and concepts of the Open Movement and of Open Education given their dedication and mission to explore new ways of open credentialing and accreditation for all types of learning (Knight & Casilli, 2012).

So, what is “a missing link” in this context? Given the yet evolving nature of the OB concept and standard, I have chosen the following definition to discuss where we are at with Open Badges and how the future may look like:

“A missing link would possess the “in-between” evolutionary properties of both the ancestors’ original traits and the traits of the evolved descendants, hence showing a clear connection between the two.” (Melina, 2010)

It seems to me that the current version of open credentialing as enabled by Mozilla Open Badges, is at an intermediate stage, somewhere “in-between”, in a longer evolutionary process of credentialing practices.

With a growing number of new ideas about technological enhancements of Open Badges and applications of Open Badges disrupting traditional credentialing, it will be interesting to observe what the next incarnations of Open Credentialing may look like and what the drivers will be. Will it be the big data research and the need to provide meaningful metrics to different stakeholders including learners, educational organisations, employers and educational policy makers? Will it be the critical pedagogy endorsing human ability to think critically about own education? Or will it be the employability approach reflecting the need for new career concepts? Given the different possible influences, it is important to discuss the underlying framework of values which can/should drive the future open credentialing practices.

Here is the link to my presentation “Open Badges – The Missing Link in Open Education”

 

References
➤ Carla Casilli & Daniel Hickey (2016) Transcending conventional credentialing and assessment paradigms with information-rich digital badges, The Information Society, 32:2, 117-129.
➤ Casilli, C. (2013). Badge pathways. Retrieved from https://carlacasilli.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/ badge-pathways-part-1-the-paraquel
➤ Broekman, P., Hall, G., Byfield, T., Hides S. & Worthington, S. (2014). Open Education. A Study in Disruption. Rowman & Littlefield International, Series: Disruptions.
➤ Ito, M., K. Gutierrez, S. Livingstone, B. Penuel, J. Rhodes, K. Salen, J. Schor, J. Sefton-Green & Watkins, S. C. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Retrieved from http://www.dmlhub.net/publications
➤ Klein, J. (2013). Design feedback for badge systems. Jess Klein. Retrieved from http:// jessicaklein.blogspot.com/2013/01/design-feedback-for-badge-systems.html
➤ Melina, R. (2010). What’s the Missing Link? Livescience. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com
➤ Suber, P. (2013). Open access. MIT Press essential knowledge. Retrieved from https://mitpress.mit.edu
➤ Willis, J. E., Quick, J. & Hickey, D. T (2015). Digital Badges and Ethics: The Uses of Individual Learning Data in Social Contexts. In: D. Hickey, J. Jovanovic, S. Lonn, J.E. Willis, III (eds.): Proceedings of the Open Badges in Education (OBIE 2015). New York, USA. Retrieved from http://ceur-ws.org
➤ Young, J. R. (2012). Badges Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1-7. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Badges-Earned-Online- Pose/130241/

Open Badge Network

This week we launched the Open Badge Network (OBN) portal. Open Badge Network is an Erasmus + project and strategic partnership which brings together organisations from across Europe to support the development of an Open Badge ecosystem, promoting the use of Open Badges to recognise non-formal and informal learning.

Our mission is to provide a trusted source of independent information, tools and informed practice to support people who are interested in creating, issuing and earning Open Badges across Europe. Read our Charter.

Mozilla Open Badges is an open standard that allows all skills and achievements to be recognised and shared across the web. Schools, Universities, Employers and informal learning providers are using open badges to capture life long learning which is currently unrecognised. Open Badges are radically changing the way we see credentials; from abstract measures of knowledge towards a tool to connect individuals with opportunities for employment, training and progression. Globally, over 2 million badges have been issued to date by 14,000 organisations.

Over the next 2 years, the Open Badge Network is committed to connecting and supporting the European badge community and with them, co-creating materials, tools and guidance to enable Open Badges to flourish within Europe.

These activities include:

  • A real-time inventory of Open Badge projects across Europe called “Badge the World”Badge the World seeks to document the many innovative Open Badge projects that are underway throughout the world.
  • Tools and guidance for organisations and individuals to issue, earn and display badges. Open Badge Resources include tools, project, use cases and publications.
  • A calendar of European events, webinars and an Open Badges MOOC. Please include your event in our Event Calendar for the dissemination of your event!
  • An active network of practitioners, educationalists and policy makers to connect and collaborate with. If you would like to help promote and advocate this mission please register and get in touch.

We are looking for organisations and individuals from across Europe to join us as Associate Partners to help grow the Open Badge Network.

Join us today!

Cultural Localisation of Open Badges

This week I had a pleasure to give a talk on cultural localisation of open badges at the online meeting of the initiative Open Badges in Higher Education in conjunction with The Badge Alliance Badges in Higher Education Working Group:

“Cultural localisation of open badges – insights from the German community”

Cultural localisation is the process of adapting the linguistic and cultural content of a design for a specific local culture. The aim of this talk is to explore cultural localisation of open badges from two perspectives. The first perspective is the cultural localisation of skills with the help of open badges. The second perspective is the cultural localisation of open badges as a system itself. My talk will include insights from a German qualification project for migrant academics, in which badges have been applied to enhance employability, as well as insights from the process of building an open badges community in German-speaking countries. My intention is to develop a framework for cultural localisation of open badges and I would like to discuss some considerations for such a framework.

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Further information:

If you are interested in doing research related to cultural localisation of open badges, please get in touch and leave a comment!

Open Badges for skill recognition and recruiting

The ePortfolio and Identity Conference – ePIC 2014 – offered much room for presentations and discussions on open badges, as the extension of the title of the conference this year – “ePIC 2014, the 12th international ePortfolio, Open Badges and Identity Conference” – already indicated. Have a look at the Book of Abstracts to find out about authors and project in this area. One emerging topics seems to be the integration of ePortfolios and open badges and it was very interesting to get an insight into approaches, applications and projects in this new field.  One of the most inspiring projects/applications presented et ePIC2014 is Open Badge Factory –  an Open Badge cloud-based management system – keep an eye on this one! Another great project is the DPD project, which studied the 30 Open Badges initiatives from the 2012 DML Badges Competition – a great resource for all of us working with badges!

My presentation was dedicated to Open Badges fpr skill recognition and recruiting and provided some insights from the project “Credit Points”. You can find my slides on SlideShare (and below) – if you have an queries, don’t hesitate to contact me! You can also check my project “Beuth Badges” at Beuth University in Berlin.

Beuth Badges

Open Badges for Employment

Open Badges for employment is the focus of my current research in the national project Credit Points and in the ongoing project Beuth Badges at Beuth University, in which we design and develop multiple sets of open badges to recognise and communicate skills and competences of individual learners in diverse contexts and learning paths.

It is a new area of research and there are yet many interesting research questions to ask.

I have presented some of the first ideas related to using open badges for employment application at the EDEN 2014 Conference in Zagreb (Croatia) on 13th June 2014. It was a great conference with a vibrant network of e-learning scholars, researchers and practitioners. Big thank you to organisers and participants. It was a pleasure to meet you all!

You can view my #EDEN14 presentation on open badges and employment on SlideShare.