Planet Badges

Now the quick badger jumps over the lazy fox

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Aug 04 2015 03:51:49 GMT+0000 (UTC)

An issuer organization decides to start a badge program, so its staff members design a badge system to go with the program’s content delivery and assessment practices. Then they run badge software to issue badges to recipients. 

Towards a visual hierarchy of Open Badges

Doug Belshaw

Thu Jul 30 2015 16:40:42 GMT+0000 (UTC)

This week I’ve been working with a client on the first stages of a visual hierarchy for Open Badges. This is more complex than it sounds and there are a couple of things that you should have a look at before reading further. The first is Carla Casilli‘s post A foundational badge system design, and the second is the Badge Studio* created by Andrew Hayward during his time at Mozilla.

Badge Studio

* This is an Open Source project and can be found on GitHub here.

What I like about the Badge Studio approach is that it:

  • is easy to use
  • has a visual hierarchy baked-in
  • makes it very difficult not to follow a style guide
  • removes the bottleneck of visual badge design

Variables

As with everything, the simpler and more intuitive something looks, the more work has gone into it in the first place. Here’s some variables we identified for badges across the group of companies of which my client is part:

  1. Organisation
  2. Badge name
  3. Badge yype
  4. Icon/glyph
  5. Level
  6. Logos/brand
  7. Pips (as on military insignias)
  8. Expiry
  9. Meta status (i.e. whether it’s part of, or is a meta-level badge of badges)

Differentiators

I’m sure there are others to consider, too. From there we looked at the most obvious differentiators, deciding upon shape and colour. Happily, there’s already a defined colour palette in place for each organisation that’s part of the group. They’ve also just launched a new group identity that includes five different shapes! Perfect.

Text

We agreed in the preliminary meeting that we’d try and reduce the amount of text on the badge itself. This was for two reasons: (i) users should only ever be a click away from the metadata contained in the badge, and (ii) text is likely to be difficult to read if the badge is displayed at a small pixel size.

Complexity

Theoretically, every badge issued could be both a ‘meta-level’ badge made up of smaller badges and itself part of a larger ‘even-more-meta-level’ badge. It’s potentially turtles all the way down. To prevent this potential/perceived complexity, I’ve proposed we limit the number of layers to three. This chimes well with Carla’s work mentioned above. In practice, this leads to very simple and straightforward badge pathways – which, if you want, get way more complex.

Conclusion

Creating an ecosystem of value is an extremely difficult thing to do. Essentially, you have to have to create enough productive ambiguity for it to be flexible and adapt to different contexts, while simultaneously giving people enough structure to get started. The way I’m proposing we approach that in this example is to:

  • Nail down badge colour (organisation) and badge shape (type)
  • Place a limit on the number of badges that can count towards a meta-level badge (perhaps six, using Trivial Pursuit as a metaphor?)
  • Keep iterating on the taxonomy we’ve started.
  • Look into what makes a good icon for an iOS/Android app (they rarely include text)
  • Consider where/how to show both my client’s brand and the brand of any organisation they partner with.
  • Create/keep a list of badge display requirements that are separate to the badge itself (e.g. how ‘expired’ badges look within a profile)
  • Look into forking Badge Studio to create a version for my client’s group of companies.

If you’ve got examples of a good hierarchy of visual design for Open Badges, I’d love to see it! :)


PS You’ve completed my 2015 reader survey, right?

How to help us build #OB101

Doug Belshaw

Tue Jul 28 2015 15:41:08 GMT+0000 (UTC)

A couple of weeks ago I shared details of an upcoming short course entitled Open Badges 101 that Bryan Mathers and I have started to build.

(no video above? click here!)

After testing various approaches including GitHub issues and etherpads, we’ve settled on using hypothes.is, a new ‘annotation layer for the web’ to get community input.

We’d love your comments, feedback, help, and suggestions – so have a look at the video, or dive straight in by clicking the buttons at the top-right of badges.thinkoutloudclub.com!

PS You’ve completed my 2015 reader survey, right?

Identifying, scaffolding, and credentialing skills in an ever-changing digital environment [#celt15]

Doug Belshaw

Thu Jul 16 2015 15:37:39 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The recording of my keynote at last month’s #celt15 conference in Galway is now available. I had a great time over there talking about digital literacies, Open Badges, learning pathways, and more!

If you don’t see embedded media above and below, you’ll need to click through on these links:

Note: the place the organisers originally posted it requires Flash so I’ve re-uploaded it to YouTube. If you’d like to comment on this, please do so over at their original post!

Badge Alliance FAQ - July 2015

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Wed Jul 15 2015 00:15:38 GMT+0000 (UTC)

There’s so much we want to say – we can’t put it all into an over-long announcement. Here is a growing list of some of the top questions:

What’s happening to the Badge Alliance?

The Badge Alliance is responding to the community’s evolving needs and adapting to focus more closely on the Open Badges Standard and organizing direct cooperation between Alliance members whose success the Standard depends on. Nate Otto is taking on the responsibility of leading the BA as it makes this transition. The BA aims to remain a strong informational resource and a place to organize collaboration and discussion between community members.

Will all of the 2014 working groups continue?

The BA is a the best place to connect to the conversations happening in the world of badges, but it should not be the only place where conversations happen. Most of the call series that started in BA working groups in 2014 will not be reestablished within the BA formally, but for any of these groups and topic area that wants to restart regular calls, we can develop a plan and the infrastructure to make it happen. For example, Dan Hickey, James Willis, and Carla Casilli are continuing the Open Badges in Higher Education working group, which kicked off its new call series July 7, with fortnightly calls already lined up for Tuesdays at Noon US Eastern. Other topic area interest groups have already started organizing, led by individuals and organizations dedicated to making badges work within their niches. A great example is the Open Badges for Teacher Professional Development consortium led by Ben Roome (BadgeList/Knowledgestreem) and Sarah Blattner (Tamritz). We recognize that many of these conversations are best distributed across the ecosystem, not centralized in one organization, and will support those interest groups with central coordination when needed.

Will the Community Calls continue?

Yes, same badge time, same badge channel. This call has been a great resource for the badges community over the years to stay checked in. Nate Otto will take over moderating the weekly community calls and welcomes feedback and suggestions about how to use this space to best serve the community.

What’s happening with the original Badge Alliance team?

It has always been the intention to make the Badge Alliance entity as streamlined and easily sustainable as possible, so that we can spend less time raising money to cover operations, and more to feedback into the ecosystem. Additionally, with a new scoped focus on the Open Badges Standard, we felt we needed more technical leadership. For those reasons, we’re transitioning the BA to a new, smaller core team led by Nate Otto. The original team will continue to contribute as community members, as well as through their own projects including Badge Labs and IMS Global.

When will I hear more?

Stay tuned to this, the Open Badges blog, BadgeAlliance.org, and the weekly community calls for more announcements and opportunities to ask questions or provide feedback.

What about the Cities of Learning?

The Cities of Learning program and its use case for Open Badges will continue to be improved and supported, including with the forthcoming release of a revamped badge-enabled platform that organizes learning. Look for more announcements about the Cities coming out over the summer and early fall as well as opportunities to sign your city up for summer 2017.

Nate is an employee of Concentric Sky. Won’t there be conflict of interest with Concentric Sky driving a neutral body like the BA since they have businesses interests around open badges and interest involved?

Much of the work of the next phase of building co-existing badge-enabled systems and services will be performed by member organizations of the BA, like Concentric Sky. Through the Standard Working Group charter and communication channels facilitated by the BA, all of these organizations will have a consensus-based process to guide the Open Badges specification and ecosystem forward in ways that seek to lift all boats as opposed to providing any commercial advantage to particular Alliance partners. Representatives from other commercial organizations working with Open Badges are likely to fill leadership roles and responsibilities in the future. As part of their responsibilities to the communities, representatives to the BA from these organizations will be asked to maintain a spirit of open cooperation, disclose their interests when relevant, and not take advantage of official roles within the BA to direct advantages to any particular organization. Questions, comments, and concerns are welcome in order to build the most effective and accessible BA possible.

Will the Badge Alliance be up to full speed right away?

No. Thanks for your patience as we work out the kinks, clean up loose ends, and get started on new initiatives. Our core regular programs, like the community call will have no interruption during the transition period, but it may take a little bit longer to get answers to questions and specific help as we finalize staffing for 2015-16.

Introducing the Open Badges 101 course! [pre-alpha]

Doug Belshaw

Fri Jul 10 2015 13:33:33 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges 101

Good things happen when we work open.

That’s why, when City & Guilds asked Bryan Mathers and I to put together some resources for staff and customers about Open Badges, we decided to create an open course rather than a series of documents. We’re doing it under the auspices of the Think Out Loud Club with everything CC-licensed. The code, originally created by P2PU, is available on GitHub.

While we could sit down and provide all of the content that we think would be appropriate for this course, we’re inviting the community to get involved with this project. All contributions will be, of course, celebrated and credited.

Click here to access the Open Badges 101 course

If you’d like to help out, there’s a call to action on each page that links to further information. You’ll need a (free) GitHub account to comment on the individual issues, but it’s all very straightforward.

While you can just sign up on the site to be updated as the work progresses, I’d encourage you to help us in creating a resource that will be useful to everyone in the Open Badges community!

The Badge Alliance in 2015

Erin Knight

Thu Jul 09 2015 14:28:12 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Below is a reblog from the BA blog yesterday. I wanted to post it here as well to make sure folks see it. If anyone has specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask, and also happy to schedule 1:1 time with anyone who wants to talk further. 

-E


openbadges:

image

2014 was a great building year for the badges ecosystem and the Badge Alliance (BA) network, and 2015 has been an exciting year so far. Rooms are overflowing for badging-related presentations at conferences around the world, more compelling use cases are popping up all the time, and the level of understanding and conversation about badges is far higher than two years ago. While the Badge Alliance has played a pivotal role in this progress, much of the work has come from the community itself.

The BA was created to grow the community and seat the ownership and accountability of the badging work in the ecosystem that was using badges. We’ve accomplished that - the BA has grown, with hundreds of organizations pledging to work together to issue and understand Open Badges. The first year of the BA’s investigation, community-building, and outreach provided us with a better understanding of the state of badges in the world, and connected a vibrant community around collaborating to use a shared technology. The momentum behind Open Badges has never been stronger.

Our initial efforts also revealed that there are still significant barriers to implementation and to achieving the community’s goals for Open Badges usability and impact. Over the last year, we discovered that the network is large and diverse, and that it is positioned to continue to diversify in multiple dimensions. It became clear that it is more important than ever for the BA to redouble its efforts on maintaining and improving badges technology and interoperability to make Open Badges the best way to recognize, capture, and communicate learning across all contexts.

With this analysis, we’ve decided to re-scope the BA’s priorities and focus on the areas where the BA’s contribution to the community is most needed. Based on all of the foundational work that has been done to-date, it’s evident that zeroing in on the Open Badges Standard and the community around it is critical for accelerating adoption and realizing mainstream acceptance of open badges..

The BA is bringing on Nate Otto of Concentric Sky as its new Interim Director to help make this shift, drawing on his technical background and deep familiarity with the badges ecosystem to capitalize on the momentum that has built over the last 16 months. Nate will oversee the new BA focused on the Open Badges Standard, as well as other priorities as identified by the community. Nate is working with the founding Badge Alliance team to collect community feedback about priorities, and we welcome any additional thoughts community members have about this shift.


Erin Knight, Founding Executive Director, Badge Alliance
Nate Otto, Interim Director, Badge Alliance

The Badge Alliance in 2015

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Wed Jul 08 2015 15:53:23 GMT+0000 (UTC)

2014 was a great building year for the badges ecosystem and the Badge Alliance (BA) network, and 2015 has been an exciting year so far. Rooms are overflowing for badging-related presentations at conferences around the world, more compelling use cases are popping up all the time, and the level of understanding and conversation about badges is far higher than two years ago. While the Badge Alliance has played a pivotal role in this progress, much of the work has come from the community itself.

The BA was created to grow the community and seat the ownership and accountability of the badging work in the ecosystem that was using badges. We’ve accomplished that - the BA has grown, with hundreds of organizations pledging to work together to issue and understand Open Badges. The first year of the BA’s investigation, community-building, and outreach provided us with a better understanding of the state of badges in the world, and connected a vibrant community around collaborating to use a shared technology. The momentum behind Open Badges has never been stronger.

Our initial efforts also revealed that there are still significant barriers to implementation and to achieving the community’s goals for Open Badges usability and impact. Over the last year, we discovered that the network is large and diverse, and that it is positioned to continue to diversify in multiple dimensions. It became clear that it is more important than ever for the BA to redouble its efforts on maintaining and improving badges technology and interoperability to make Open Badges the best way to recognize, capture, and communicate learning across all contexts.

With this analysis, we’ve decided to rescope the BA’s priorities and focus on the areas where the BA’s contribution to the community is most needed. Based on all of the foundational work that has been done to-date, it’s evident that zeroing in on the Open Badges Standard and the community around it is critical for accelerating adoption and realizing mainstream acceptance of open badges..

The BA is bringing on Nate Otto of Concentric Sky as its new Interim Director to help make this shift, drawing on his technical background and deep familiarity with the badges ecosystem to capitalize on the momentum that has built over the last 16 months. Nate will oversee the new BA focused on the Open Badges Standard, as well as other priorities as identified by the community. Nate is working with the founding Badge Alliance team to collect community feedback about priorities, and we welcome any additional thoughts community members have about this shift.


Erin Knight, Founding Executive Director, Badge Alliance
Nate Otto, Interim Director, Badge Alliance

Claim your Kanban 101 badge!

Doug Belshaw

Tue Jun 30 2015 08:57:38 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Kanban 101 badgeYesterday, in HOWTO: Trello Kanban I showed how to use Trello for a Kanban-style workflow. It’s already proved to be one of the most popular posts I’ve written this year, and was picked up by the Trello team!

To me, the logical next step is to issue an Open Badge for getting started with a Trello-based Kanban system. That’s why I’ve created the Kanban 101 badge.

It’s deliberately low-bar. All you have to do is:

  • Set up a Trello account
  • Create a new board with (at least) three lists: To do, Doing, and Done
  • Add cards for new actions
  • Share a screenshot or link to their board being used in practice

If you get stuck, you can always watch the screencast I recorded yesterday!


Not received an Open Badge before? There’s more about the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) here. Once you’ve earned the Kanban 101 badge you’ll be given the option to ‘push’ it to the Mozilla backpack:

Kanban badge acceptance

I’m using p2pu.org to issue badges as they’ve got a really nice traffic light-based flow for reviewing evidence.

Claim your Kanban 101 badge now!

(note that this is in no way affiliated with Trello, I’m just a fan!)