Planet Badges

Call for comments on the Endorsement Framework paper (by Oct 7th)

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Wed Oct 01 2014 18:26:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The Badge Alliance Endorsement Working Group has been working on a Badge Endorsement Framework Working Paper, to serve as an introduction to purposes and processes for badge endorsement.

As one of the most frequently discussed questions around open badges, endorsement will be a crucial part of expanding the ecosystem, connecting key stakeholders to badges, and adding to the value of badges. This Working Group has been doing some great work defining ways to build functionality and practice around third party endorsement of badges.

The working paper is now open to public comment - click here to add your thoughts

The group looking for feedback on what’s there and what might be missing—as well as the pacing and sequencing of the document. We encourage you to share your thoughts quickly, though, as the group will publicly release the final version of this document within the next two weeks. 

Please review and comment by Tuesday, Oct 7th at 3pm PDT / 6pm EDT / 11pm BST

We also encourage you to join the Endorsement Working Group call next Wednesday (Oct 8, 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST), to discuss the proposed comments and suggestions.

Many thanks for your close review and thoughtful comments on this document - feel free to share this with your networks over the next week!

Me and Open Badges – Different, but the same

Chris McAvoy

Sun Sep 28 2014 20:06:21 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hi there, if you read this blog it’s probably for one of three things,

1) my investigation of the life of Isham Randolph, the chief engineer of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship canal.
2) you know me and you want to see what I’m doing but you haven’t discovered Twitter or Facebook yet.
3) Open Badges.

This is a quick update for everyone in that third group, the Open Badges crew. I have some news.

When I joined the Open Badges project nearly three years ago, I knew this was something that once I joined, I wouldn’t leave. The idea of Open Badges hits me exactly where I live, at the corner of ‘life long learning’ and ‘appreciating people for who they are’. I’ve been fortunate that my love of life long learning and self-teaching led me down a path where I get to do what I love as my career. Not everyone is that fortunate. I see Open Badges as a way to make my very lucky career path the norm instead of the exception. I believe in the project, I believe in the goals and I’m never going to not work toward bringing that kind of opportunity to everyone regardless of the university they attended or the degree hanging on their wall.

This summer has been very exciting for me. I joined the Badge Alliance, chaired the BA standard working group and helped organize the first BA Technology Council. At the same time, I was a mentor for Chicago’s Tech Stars program and served as an advisor to a few startups in different stages of growth. The Badge Alliance work has been tremendously satisfying, the standard working group is about to release the first cycle report, and it’s been great to see our accomplishments all written in one place. We’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. That said, my role at the Alliance has been focused on standards growth, some evangelism and guiding a small prototyping project. As much as I loved my summer, the projects and work don’t fit the path I was on. I’ve managed engineering teams for a while now, building products and big technology architectures. The process of guiding a standard is something I’m very interested in, but it doesn’t feel like a full-time job now. I like getting my hands dirty (in Emacs), I want to write code and direct some serious engineer workflow.

Let’s cut to the chase – after a bunch of discussions with Sunny Lee and Erin Knight, two of my favorite people in the whole world, I’ve decided to join Earshot, a Chicago big data / realtime geotargeted social media company, as their CTO. I’m not leaving the Badge Alliance. I’ll continue to serve as the BA director of technology, but as a volunteer. Earshot is a fantastic company with a great team. They understand the Open Badges project and want me to continue to support the Badge Alliance. The Badge Alliance is a great team, they understand that I want to build as much as I want to guide. I’m so grateful to everyone involved for being supportive of me here, I can think of dozens of ways this wouldn’t have worked out. Just a bit of life lesson – as much as you can, work with people who really care about you, it leads to situations like this, where everyone gets what they really need.

The demands of a company moving as fast as Earshot will mean that I’ll be less available, but no less involved in the growth of the Badge Alliance and the Open Badges project. From a tactical perspective, Sunny Lee will be taking over as chair of the standard working group. I’ll still be an active member. I’ll also continue to represent the BA (along with Sunny) in the W3C credentials community group.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’ll still have my email address…use it!

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [59]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 26 2014 21:41:35 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hello, badgers!

We hope you’ve had a badgeriffic week - here’s what we’ve been up to:

Our community project call was non-verbal this week - if you have any updates to share with your fellow badgers, add them to the etherpad here:

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Here’s a nifty map from Vala Afshar’s slide deck overview of the Extreme Networks badging survey:

LA’s first ‘Summer of Learning’ a success!

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 26 2014 10:55:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)


The first Los Angeles Summer of Learning (LASOL) is being hailed as a success by officials involved with the program, which engaged around 50,000 students this summer, as well as 52 community organizations that offered 130+ digital badges for learning and skills.

Though smaller than last year’s pilot program in Chicago, LASOL was in many ways “more sophisticated and coherent,” according to Charles Kerchener, a research professor in the School Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University.

"Los Angeles’ program was much more integrated with the school system than was its counterpart in Chicago," Kerchener wrote for a piece on “LAUSD was the primary organizer of the project. In Chicago, the city and the non-profits drove the program.”

Organizers from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell program also took on the difficult task of connecting students’ summer learning achievements with their school records. Their staff and administrators worked with badge-issuing community organizations to ensure the criteria and evidence for the badge activities were good measures of the skills and knowledge acquired. The staff also offered badging training to these organizations, teaching them how to design and create robust badges, as well as how to assess student output and navigate the LASOL web site.


As well as the 130+ badges offered by Los Angeles organizations, the site also gave youth access to a number of online badge activities designed by the team at Digital Youth Network, based out of DePaul University.

Though the badges certainly offer an exciting way for youth to get involved with summer activities and show off their learning at school, most participants signed up because of existing connections with one of the community organizations, according to Craig Clough, who wrote about the LASOL on Jennifer Abssy from Inner City Arts said badges made it possible for “kids [to] be validated for the time they spent with our organization.”

Badges: A Solution to the Massively Disengaged Workforce?

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 25 2014 13:43:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Vala Afshar, of the Huffington Post, put together a slide deck and written overview of a recent survey conducted by Extreme Networks looking at digital badges in education and the workforce. Below the deck is an excerpt from this overview, including statistics pulled from the survey about global attitudes towards the benefits and potential of badges.

To understand more about the adoption of digital badges both in academia and industry, Extreme Networks conducted a worldwide survey and received over 1900 responses. According to the survey:

  • Digital badges offer two primary benefits: motivation (45%) and recognition of knowledge/skills (43%)
  • While only 38% of those surveyed currently use or plan to use badges, 81% of those who are using badges plan to maintain or increase their badge usage.
  • Of those with no current plans to use badges, the issue is either a lack of resources (44%) or lack of understanding of badges (34%).
  • Most of the respondents (59%) believe badges would have a positive impact on their organization, if they had the ability implement them.
  • Among all respondents, 65% believe the popularity and usage of badges will grow in the future.
  • 61% of those surveyed believe that digital badges will someday replace, or be combined with, college diplomas.

Digital badges give employers easy access to specific and current information pertaining to a candidate’s experience and potential. For now, the most popular use of digital badges is to recognize professional development and internal training (70%).

What’s holding badges back?

According to the survey, the biggest drawback to digital badges is the lack of wide-spread awareness. Badges are only beginning to get beyond their association with games and marketing. 46% of respondents believe that digital badges are not yet widely recognized and 38% say badges are not yet taken seriously. A sizable portion of badge users (43%) have invested their own resources to implement their badge programs, rather than use a commercially available platform. The top three ways that the concept of digital badges can be improved are: better industry and market recognition and acceptance of specific badges (67%), standardized requirements of criteria for similar achievements (55%), and lower cost systems to implement badges (37%).

Read the overview in full on Huffington Post.

TODAY: Join the US Dept. of Labor's National Dialogue on Career Pathways [LIVE STREAM]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Sep 23 2014 13:42:33 GMT+0000 (UTC)

National Dialogue Logo

On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services will host a National Dialogue on Career Pathways.

Federal agency leaders from each Department will provide opening remarks on the impact of building effective career pathways can have on our nation’s workforce system. In addition, the Dialogue will highlight strategies and lessons learned from business leaders, state and local practitioners and national policy leaders.

National stakeholders representing business, organized labor, education, workforce and health and human services agencies are encouraged to host events in conjunction with the broadcast. Leading career pathways states and local areas, such as Colorado, Kansas, and Charlotte, NC will be highlighted as well as innovative career pathways practices from organizations like Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, IL and Wider Opportunities for Women.

The National Dialogue will be broadcast via live stream from 9am - 4pm EDT.

Program Agenda

  • 9:00 am — 9:30 am: OPENING SESSION
  • 9:30 am — 9:45 am: KEYNOTE Presentation: “Business-Driven Career Pathways That Work!”
  • 9:45 am — 10:45 am: Practitioners Panel: “Advancing Career Pathways Systems”
  • 10:45am — 11:10am: BREAK
  • 11:10 am — Noon: Innovators Panel: “Career Pathways: Partnerships, Promising Practices, and People”
  • Noon — 1:00 pm: LUNCH
  • 1:00 pm — 1:15 pm: KEYNOTE Presentation: “Career Pathways — Creating Pathways to the Middle Class”
  • 1:15 pm — 2:00 pm: Thought Leaders Panel — “Career Pathways and WIOA”
  • 2:10 pm — 3:20 pm: Afternoon WIOA Listening Session Breakout
  • 3:20 pm — 3:30 pm: BREAK
  • 3:30 pm — 4:00 pm: CLOSING SESSION

Join the conversation on Twitter

Before and during the event, you are encouraged to post questions on Twitter using the hashtag #careerpathways. The federal team will monitor your questions on Twitter and respond to them from the Labor Department Twitter account (@USDOL) during the event.

Go to to watch the live stream.

Curate, Credential and Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Sep 23 2014 08:59:23 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Our friends in Australia are hosting an exciting event that is open, free, and Internet friendly! See below for information on how to register:

Curate, Credential and Carry Forward Digital Learning Evidence: National Forum, November 13, 2014

The Open Badges project has opened up a new way of recognizing skills and learning through an open, stackable framework and provided an opportunity to recognize more detailed aspects of learning. For example, whereas achievement of learning may be somewhat invisible in collated marks and grades, open badges enable the warranting of capabilities including those that are difficult to measure (such as team work and intercultural competence). Badging skills, experiences and knowledge can supplement or even replace traditional assessment signals such as marks and grades. Open badges can also enable a more social approach to assessment: badges can be issued or endorsed by designated stakeholders - peers, mentors, industry, associations – both within and outside of an institution and build the learner’s ability to judge their own and others’ performance.

This national forum will showcase examples from the thought leaders in the field in prior learning, credentialing, open badges practice and research, and offer an employer’s perspective.

International Thought Leaders Speaking at the Event:

Associate Professor Dan Hickey, Indiana University; Director of the Open Badges Design Principles Documentation Project

Dr Nan Travers, SUNY, Director of the Office of Collegewide Academic Review

National Thought Leaders Speaking at the Event:

Associate Professor David Gibson, Curtin University

Allyn Radford, CEO, DeakinDigital


Dr Michael Evans, Neukom Fellow, Dartmouth College

Joanna Normoyle, Experiential and Digital Media Learning Coordinator; UC Davis

Professional Perspectives

Janet Strivens, Educational Developer, Centre for Lifelong Learning Educational Development Division; Senior Associate Director, The CRA (The University of Liverpool)

Susie Steigler-Peters, Education Industry Executive, Telstra

Register here:

Hand Crafted Open Badges Display

Chris McAvoy

Sun Sep 21 2014 20:35:02 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Earning an Open Badge is easy, there’s plenty of places that offer them, with more issuers signing up every day. Once you’ve earned an open badge, you can push it to your backpack, but what if you want to include the badge on your blog, or your artisanal hand crafted web page?

You could download the baked open badge and host it on your site. You could tell people it’s a baked badge, but using that information isn’t super easy. Last year, Mike Larsson had a great idea to build a JS library that would discover open badges on a page, and make them dynamic so that a visitor to the page would know what they were, not just a simple graphic, but a full-blown recognition for a skill or achievement.

Since his original prototype, the process of baking a badge has changed, plus Atul Varma built a library to allow baking and unbaking in the browser. This summer, Joe Curlee and I took all these pieces, prototypes and ideas and pulled them together into a single JS library you can include in a page to make the open badges on that page more dynamic.

There’s a demo of the library in action on Curlee’s Github. It shows a baked badge on the page, when you click the unbake button, it takes the baked information from the image and makes the badge dynamic and clickable. We added the button to make it clear what was happening on the page, but in a normal scenario, you’d just let the library do it’s thing and transform the badges on the page automatically. You can grab the source for the library on Github, or download the compiled / minified library directly.

There’s lot’s more we can do with the library, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [58]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 19 2014 17:26:02 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly roundup of badging news, updates and chatter.

Here’s what went on this week:

  • On the community project call, Lipscomb University’s Charla Long shared the work Lipscomb has been doing with badges for prior learning and workplace readiness - check out the summary and audio to learn more;
  • Jay Young published an essay about potential “pathways to accreditation for competency-based and online education advocates,” inspired in part by an approach modeled at Concordia University Wisconsin. Read more here;

  • Michael Roth at the Atlantic wrote a critical piece on the weaknesses of nano-degrees that capture only a particular skill set, particularly in liberal arts colleges that seek to create well-rounded learners. Read more and add your thoughts in the comments section here;
  • Over on EdSurge, Steve Palley wrote an opinion piece on the broken college admissions system, with a number of suggestions for fixing it, including alternatives and supplements to higher education such as online learning and badges;

  • A piece on University World News looks at the value of the diploma to employers - something we often talk about in the badging community. Interestingly, Sean Gallagher argues that, “beyond a measure of technical skills and general knowledge alone, degrees are often favourable indicators of softer yet critical attributes such as perseverance, meeting deadlines, acculturation and leadership ability,” contradicting many of the employers and recruiters our community has spoken to. An interesting read!
  • Meris Stansbury, Managing Editor at eCampus News, listed 9 critical issues to consider for those interested in digital badges - check them out here. Do you agree? Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #openbadges

  • One of our biggest European badge-vocates, Flavio Escribano, wrote a piece on how Open Badges can help map human knowledge. Read the English version here, or the original in Spanish here.

A thought-provoking list to start your weekend! We hope everyone enjoys the crisper weather (if, like some of us, the seasons are well and truly changing) and we’ll see you all next week!

Open Badges Community Project Call, September 17, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 18 2014 20:38:04 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, September 17, 2014:



This week we heard from Charla Long, Dean of the College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University, about how Lipscomb has been using badges to reimagine credentialing and prior learning assessment for their liberal arts college.

Lipscomb University began looking at competency-based learning in response to an industry need for a new skills currency that could convey graduates’ competencies to potential employers. Traditional transcripts just “don’t cut it,” according to Charla Long, at least not from a higher education perspective. A badge backpack or digital competency report, on the other hand, better communicates to external consumers exactly what students know and can do.

Lipscomb’s Badge Journey

Employers needed new ways to evaluate graduates that highlight important skills and competencies relevant to the workplace: in a 2011 study, it was found that 84% of employers felt graduates were “underprepared” for the workplace. If a traditional degree or transcript can’t provide enough specific information, both graduates and employers miss out on chances to connect talent with opportunities for success.

Students are also highly impacted by gaming and motivated to “level up;” the team at Lipscomb sought to capitalize on the influence of games within education. Badges can help show learners how to progress towards a degree as well as tracking the journey and providing detailed information about the process.

By looking deeply at competency as a basis for credentialing, Lipscomb University began to see every workplace role as being, at its simplest level, a unique combination and levels of the following competencies: Knowledge, Skills, Ability, Attitude. Lipscomb’s role is to identify what learners need to be successful in the roles they are hoping to fulfill.

Lipscomb’s Polaris Competency Model, outlined below, breaks down 41 key competencies across 7 categories:

This breakdown allows for flexibility and customization for particular programs of study and for individual learners’ needs. This allows learners to pursue exactly what they need for a particular career, and employers can clearly see what candidates have achieved, their level of mastery for particular skills, and what soft skills they have been recognized for, including leadership, communication, and management skills.

Charla also talked about the power of badges to empower learners: many of their learners are not degree-seekers, but are working through individual modules according to their needs and capacity. They can then pursue a broader learning experience and credential if they so choose.

Lipscomb currently offers 164 badges in their ‘base inventory,’ and provides students with a competency report that can embed into social media and electronic job-seeking platforms, acting as a transcript of a learner’s badge achievements that allow employers to see what candidates know and can do.

Employer Focus Groups

In a set of employer focus groups, Charla worked with a number of managers and senior managers, engaging them in a number of collaborative and competitive activities over the course of an 8-hour day, assessing various competencies and behaviors to get a sense of their overall performance throughout the day.

The participating employers were given an evaluation and feedback, where they were shown how the work they had done during the exercises could count for academic credit at an undergraduate level through competency badges. There are many employers and manager in the workforce that may not have finished their degree but have years of relevant experience - for them, Charla said it was a revelation to know that what they’d done and learned could count as credit. These focus groups made an explicit connection between skills, badges, and credit, highlighting badge value in both an educational and workplace setting.

These kinds of connections are vital to increasing badge system growth and adoption - and Lipscomb has already seen results. In her June presentation to participants in the Open Badges MOOC, Charla told the group that Lipscomb was talking to an employer considering sending 9,700 people through Lipscomb’s badged modules!

To learn more about Lipscomb’s core competency model, click here. You can contact Charla Long directly via email with questions and comments.

Jay Young | Improving Competency-Based and Online Education

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 18 2014 19:18:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Jay Young | Improving Competency-Based and Online Education:

"Improving Competency-Based and Online Education" is an essay by Jay Young, written about potential “pathway to accreditation for competency-based and online education advocates,” inspired in part by an approach modeled at Concordia University Wisconsin.

Below is an excerpt where Young talks about the role badges play in this pathway:

Competency is a big need in most jobs and one way competency is being determined at the professional level is through badges.  Badges in education and business are very similar to the badges system used within the Boy Scouts of America.  However, instead of the badge being sewn onto a sash or worn on a shirt, it is digital and an “online representation of a skill [an individual has] earned” (Mozilla Open Badges, 2014).  What makes these badges different is that they “[allow the individual] to verify [their] skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations” (2014).  One way this works is if Google needs to have employees with certain skills, they could create a badge and allow individuals both inside and outside of the organization to progress towards achieving it.  Once the qualifications have been met, Google would grant the badge and the individual would have proof of a skill they have acquired.  With this method, badges could allow crowd-sourcing to verify the competence of an individual and determine at what level their competence really resides.  What this means is that in order for a badge to be earned, certain competency thresholds must be not only be met but be “visible and validate[d] … in both formal and informal settings” (MacArthur Foundation, 2014).   What makes this viable is that “the system is based on an open standard, [so an individual] can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of [their] achievement … and display [them] wherever [the individual] wants them on the web, and share them for employment, education, or lifelong learning” (Mozilla Open Badges, 2014).  Think of the power that a partnership between universities and businesses in creating and overseeing badges would bring to the academic and professional arenas.

To read the essay in full, click here.

Follow Jay Young on Twitter: @SpritedLearner

Badge Alliance Exec. Director Erin Knight speaking at a Hot Lunch Talk in Denver, CO

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 12 2014 17:49:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Today, Erin will be presenting to the Donnell-Kay & Piton Foundations for their September 12th Hot Lunch:

"Not Just for the Scouts: The Potential of Digital Badges in Documenting Learning"

Description: Digital Badges are beginning to gain traction in the documentation of learning skills and accomplishments in an expanding learning environment. Come join us as we explore what digital badges are, how they are presently being used across many learning environments, and how they might serve learners in the future.

"Hot Lunch" is a lunchtime discussion series, co-sponsored by DK and the Piton Foundation. These discussions are designed to engage Colorado education, policy and business leaders in conversation about the current national challenges and promising practices in education today.

Go Badges! Go Erin!

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [57]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 12 2014 16:07:07 GMT+0000 (UTC)

How’s it going, badgers?

We hope everyone has had a great week - but before we let you go for the weekend, here’s the Badger Beats!

The Open Badges Directory is here! On Wednesday’s community call, the Directory Working Group chair, Kerri Lemoie, made the announcement and walked us through the live prototype - you can start searching for badges at

More information can be found at

Here’s the audio and summary of that call, and here’s a blog post on Achievery’s role in the project.

How exciting! What else happened this week?

  • Dr. Bernard Bull announced that, as of August 2014, Concordia University Wisconsin is offering the first online master’s degree in Ed Tech that is built around competency-based digital badges - read more here;

  • In higher ed, the folks from the UK’s Centre for Recording Achievement made a presentation to the Australian National Project: Curate, credential and carry forward digital learning evidence, led by Kathryn Coleman at Deakin - watch that presentation here;

  • This blog post from a “student skeptic” looks at badges in higher education and has been generating lots of Twitter chatter - What Open Badges Say About Universities: A Student Perspective;

  • Mark Anderson wrote a blog post on digital badges as “an emerging ecosystem of evidence” - read more here;

  • Badge issuers will now be able to integrate Credly with MailChimp, allowing badge issuers to award badges through email lists, track badge campaigns, and schedule badging communications using MailChimp;
  • If you haven’t seen it yet, go check out What Counts as Learning, a new research report from Sheryl Grant responding to early badge system design in the ecosystem.

That’s all from us - if you’ve got something badgeriffic to share, be sure to Tweet it out using the hashtag #openbadges!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 10, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 12 2014 13:09:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 10, 2014:



This week we were joined by Achievery CTO Kerri Lemoie, who has also been leading the efforts of the Badge Alliance Directory Working Group to build a global directory of open badges.

From Discovery to Directory

We’ve seen and heard a lot of great things from the Mozilla Discovery team this year. In June 2014, Chloe Varelidi joined the community call to announce the launch of a prototype of Mozilla Discover, a pathway tool that connects open badges to young people’s education, skills and experiences, character traits and interests.

The Open Badges Directory “is a prototype of an un-opinionated storage and retrieval system (API) for Open Badges and an open source community project,” created during the Discovery Project as a collaboration between Mozilla and Achievery, seated in the Badge Alliance Working Group:

The Badge Alliance’s Open Badges Directory is openly available code that enables any platform to begin to do the same.

This week, Achievery launched it’s beta version of a  search and index of learning through Open Badges.  As of today, Achievery provides a simple index and search engine for learning opportunities that are compatible with the open standards.

Take a look here:


Currently, the Directory only indexes badge classes. It is possible to search for badge classes, tags (such as ‘coding’ below), issuers, and badge name within the Directory right now. Future plans include being able to search for badge instances, endorsements, and pathways, to get a broader view of someone’s learning beyond individual badges.


"Badge class" refers to information about types of badges, as opposed to a "badge instance" which refers to an individual earner’s awarded badge that is in their Backpack. See below for more detail on what Badge Class means according to the Open Badge Standard:


We’ve seen increasing numbers of badge earners and issuers over the past couple of years, but for those wishing to search for badges, we’ve had little to offer - until now. The Directory group has now built “the early technical infrastructure to make a Directory of Open Badges a reality" and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities for this prototype!

Badge issuers can go ahead and register their badges with the Directory to allow them to better connect learners with opportunities for earning badges.

Badge Issuers: Find out how to register your badges here

Other ways to get involved include spreading the word via social media, using the Directory API on your web sites, and getting involved with the Directory Working Group within the Badge Alliance.

Comments or questions? Get in touch with the Directory team at or

For more information, check out Kerri’s slides from the community call presentation, or this blog post over on

Collaboration with Lorena Barba's Python MOOC and Open edX

Re-mediating Assessment

Tue Sep 09 2014 01:50:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

By James Willis and Daniel Hickey

In this post, we discuss a new collaboration between Dr. Lorena Barba and her team at George Washington University, Open edX, IU's Center for Research on Learning and Technology, and IBL Studios. This collaboration will implement digital badges in Dr. Barba's new MOOC, "Practical Numerical Methods with Python."

As part of our new MacArthur-funded project, we are happy to announce a new collaboration between Lorena Barba and her team, Ned Batchelder and others at Open edX, IU's Center for Research on Learning and Technology, and IBL Studios. This effort includes building in badging capability with Dr. Barba's recently-launched massive open online course (MOOC), "Practical Numerical Methods with Python," on the Open edX platform. The press release from George Washington University details the structure of the course and the shared teaching responsibilities from universities in Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Chile. Dr. Barba is an Associate Professor of Engineering at GW, and effort has been multiple departments. Starting this August, over 2,800 students enrolled in the course.

Lorena Barba

The collaborative effort to build-in and issue digital badges is based upon the findings of the Design Principles Documentation project and is a project undertaken in the Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond initiative. The CRLT will provide a twofold mode of support for digital badges to Dr. Barba's MOOC: technology (facilitating coding in Open edX) and pedagogy (purposeful implementation, evidence, and assessment). Initial challenges to issuing badges include assessing student progress in specific, cumulative skills learned, assuring individual identity verification and management, and keeping open materials within the evidence of outcomes.

Exploiting one of the most important features of open badges, this collaboration aims to advance the inclusion of actual course artifacts in the badges that students earn for completing modules and the course.  The GW team were intrigued by links to completed "wikifolios" in the badges issued in Indiana's Big Open Online Course within the Google Course Builder platform.  But, Dr. Barba quickly recognized the impossibility of viewing public pages in Open edX (because a log-in authentication is needed); however, she quickly suggested a work-around by linking work to student course work in GitHub because the pages are publicly viewable. As far as we know, this is the first time anyone has considered using links to student work in GitHub as evidence in digital badges. This is a promising start because it might link the open coding context of GitHub with open badges.

The collaborative team has set the goal of issuing digital badges by mid-November to students who complete built-in assessments with proficiency. In the long-term, our collaboration will build toward gradual, but wide-ranging, stand-alone implementation across the Open edX platform and beyond. With a firm commitment to open education, our collaboration ambitiously hopes to integrate digital badging across multiple platforms from a future case library of lessons learned. We will write about the successes and challenges so our efforts may be patterned by others in the near future.

Breaking News in the Badgeosphere: You Can Now Earn a Master’s Degree in EdTech Through Competency-Based Digital Badges

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Mon Sep 08 2014 13:26:31 GMT+0000 (UTC)

We are thrilled to share this news from one of our favorite badgers, Dr. Bernard Bull, who has been hinting at this badged master’s program all year. The following excerpt is from his blog, Etale.

Read the post in full here.


As of August 2014, Concordia University Wisconsin is offering the first (to the best of my knowledge) online master’s degree in educational technology that is built around competency-based digital badges. That means that you earn your master’s degree along with a series of digital badges, each of which represent new knowledge and skill that you are developing as you work through the courses and program. This also means that you are gaining new micro-credentials (digital badges) even before you finish a full course. These are credentials that you can display online as evidence of your growing competence and perhaps your qualification for a new position for your current employer, or evidence of your skill for that future dream job.

Throughout your study, it is possible to earn 50+ digital badges that represent your competence in diverse areas. Each badge comes with an attractive visual design and important data attached to it denoting who issued it, what competency you met, and exactly what you needed to do to earn the badge. These are quality badges because each one represent solid evidence of knowledge and skill in a designated area. Here is a sample of badges that you can earn during this program.

  • Project-based Learning
  • Game-based Learning
  • Evaluating Tools and Technologies
  • Service Learning with Technology
  • Digital Literacy
  • Careers in Educational Design and Technology
  • Building a Personal Learning Network
  • Mind-Brain Education
  • Technology, Culture and The Human Experience
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Integrating Technology Models
  • Learning Experience Design Foundations
  • Social Media for Teaching and Learning
  • Internet Safety and Online Identity Management
  • Foundations of Educational Design and Technology Ethics
  • Data Versus Trend-based Decisions in Education

These badges are embedded into 3-credit online courses that last for eight weeks. During each course, you have the challenge and opportunity to earn 4-6 competency-based badges. You earn these badges by completing one or more applied and practical projects that show your competence. Depending upon the time that you can devote to the program, it is possible to earn the degree in 1 to 2 years.

Sample Competency-based Badges from the CUW Online EDT Program


Kudos to Dr. Bull and the team at Concordia for putting together such a rigorous badged program. We’re super excited to see how this work will pave the way for more badged programs in higher ed and beyond.

For more details on the course, click here.

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [56]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Sep 05 2014 15:19:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hey there, badgers!

Here’s your weekly roundup of badging news, updates and more:

  • On this week’s community project call, Emily Armstrong shared the work at Hull College in the UK to digitize their employability skills seal as an open badge - here’s the summary;

  • Also in the UK, the University of Brighton is starting to explore badges - read more here;
  • Your company loves it when you learn a new skill, and will give you a badge to prove it:" The Association for Talent Development (ASTD) published a piece on how badges are being used to motivate learning at the Deloitte Leadership Academy, an online learning environment for the company’s leaders - read more here;

  • Lastly, check out these awesome youth sports reporters earning badges through Digital Me in the UK:

That’s it from us this week - see you after the weekend!

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 3, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 04 2014 12:06:03 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, Sept. 3, 2014:



This week we heard from Emily Armstrong, Libraries and eLearning Manager at Hull College in the UK, where they have been exploring the benefits of digitizing their professional passport for employability as an open badge. The HCUK Employability Seal Open Badges Project is part of a larger Jisc project focused on Open Badges. The project began in April 2014 and the team is now at the evaluation stage, where they will gather feedback over the next six months.

The Progression Passport enables “students to keep a record of the skills they have developed and the industry-relevant training received at Hull College. This will allow [the] students to show employers that they are ready to work and will help employers to recruit the right staff with the right skills and attitude.”

The ‘Employability Skills Seal’ is our endorsement that a student has passed all levels required, including challenging high levels of attendance and punctuality. It demonstrates to employers that they stand out from the crowd by having the skills and qualities they are looking for.

Open Badges are issued to students upon completion of the HCUK Progression Passport and act as an online representation of the skills they have developed and their level of work readiness. By making this employability seal digital, they hope to improve student motivation and encourage employers to recognize the badges, which were broken down into three levels (Gold / Silver / Bronze).

The criteria for earning the badge included attendance, punctuality, and other desirable employability traits. Students’ progress was tracked using a diary-style notebook as well as a digital learning plan system, both of which captured students’ ability to set and work towards self-assigned goals and objectives as well as their attendance and punctuality. The goals were set according to SMART targets and monitored by the students’ tutors (advisers).

The Hull College team also provided students with a help sheet that showed them how to display their earned badges through social networking and web sites, as well as platforms such as LinkedIn and online portfolios. They also told local employers to look out for the badges, helping to bridge a gap that many education-based badge systems face, which is employer awareness and acceptance of the badges earned.

The team worked closely with a recruitment agency, and received a positive response to the badge from them – Emily reported that recruiters were excited about the ability to click through a badge and gain more detail about potential candidates. They are about to enter the next phase of the project, which will include surveying employers and students to gather feedback that will inform future iterations of the badge(s). They want to determine what employers think of the badges beyond the recruiters they’ve already worked with, as well as finding out whether students have found the badges useful since completing the course.

To stay up to date with this project and see the feedback being gathered by the surveys the team is putting together, check out the project blog at

Emily’s Prezi outlining the project is available here -

Chris McAvoy | Open Badges and JSON-LD

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Thu Sep 04 2014 11:54:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Chris McAvoy | Open Badges and JSON-LD:

The BA standard working group has had adding extensions to the OB assertion specification high on its roadmap this summer. We agreed that before we could add an extension to an assertion or Badge Class, we needed to add machine readable schema definitions for the 1.0 standard.

Check out this new blog post from Badge Alliance Director of Technology Chris McAvoy, which outlines the progress of the Open Badge Standard Working Group with the Open Badges assertion specification.

The group has gone from exploring to experimenting with JSON-LD, which “builds linked data semantics on the JSON specification., and adds several key features to JSON.”

Click the link above to read the full blog post.

The Open Badges Infrastructure

Chris McAvoy

Wed Sep 03 2014 19:26:56 GMT+0000 (UTC)

First things first, what do we mean when we say “Open Badges Infrastructure?” Infrastructure is a bit of a loaded term, you can interpret it as servers, you could interpret it as software, or both hardware, software, internet…all the things. We’ll make this easy and say that the Open Badges technical Infrastructure is all the things that make it possible to earn or issue an Open Badge.

“All the things” is an easy answer to the question, “what is the open badges infrastructure?” but it doesn’t help much when we’re trying to push the infrastructure forward, when we’re trying to grow the ecosystem. Given a technical infrastructure need, how does the Badge Alliance, and the Open Badges community, figure out the best way to address the need? If the OBI is “all the things,” who could support it without turning the OBI into a silo’d badge system?

When we asked what role the Badge Alliance would play in the OBI, we knew that the OBI needed a shepherd organization that could help the members of the OB community coordinate their efforts maintaining the long-term health of the OBI. So how do we decide what actions fit into that model? What parts of the OBI are fair game for the BA to directly touch, which parts can we influence, which parts should we stay away from entirely?

We built a three-tier model that represents all the pieces of the OBI,

OB Infrastructure 3 Tiers

The first layer of the tier is the Open Badges standard. If you’re issuing an Open Badge, you’re relying on the standard to make the badge interoperable, transportable and verifiable. It’s the layer that all the other layers of the OBI rely on.

The second layer is libraries and tools that interact with the standard. Badge issuing libraries, validation libraries, badge bakers, tools that you download and install on your machine, or use as a dependency to build a bigger tool, fit in this layer.

Lastly, the top layer is userland. The marketplace. All the hosted services that interact with badge earners, with badge issuers and with badge consumers. It relies on the layers below it, and covers them up. A student earning a badge never knows that layers one and two exist, they just know that they received a badge and are storing it in their backpack.

Given the three layer model of the OBI, the Badge Alliance realized that it’s absolutely vital that we take a very active role in the maintenance of the first layer – the OB Standard, a less active role in the library layer, and a purely advisory role in the top userland layer.

Like all frameworks, it’s possible to find edge cases that break the model, but for most cases, it’s a solid way to judge what actions the BA should take in the maintenance of the OBI. Sunny and I will write more over the next couple of weeks about exactly how the BA will play in the three tiers.

New Project: Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond

Re-mediating Assessment

Sat Aug 30 2014 20:43:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

by Daniel Hickey
This post introduces our newest project with open digital badges.  The project got quietly underway in July 2014 with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning initiative. We are actively seeking collaborators and are in a position to help innovators in higher ed who want to implement open digital badges and other related digital innovations.

If you are reading this blog then you likely know about open digital badges.  These are the web-enabled micro-credentials that are changing the way that learning is recognized in both formal schools and informal settings. Digital badges have proven particularly popular in higher education.  Hundreds of colleges and universities are using them to recognize a wide range of learning. They have obvious appeal for recognizing learning in MOOCs. For example, Deakin University used Credly to issue badges in one of their MOOCs. Some universities like Purdue are awarding badges for formal course completion. Others like Indiana are using badges (and Purdue's Passport system) to recognize faculty professional development.  Still, others like Michigan are using badges to recognize "co-curricular" learning outcomes. I got really ambitions with badges in my Big Open Online Course that Google supported.

Beyond Badgekit 
My new research project at the IU Center for Research on Learning & Technology aims to support widespread and effective uses of digital badges systems and related digital innovations in higher education. The project is called Badgekit and Beyond in Open edX and Beyond.  This is because we are starting with the Open edX platform and with the Badgekit badge issuing API developed by Chris MacEvoy at Mozilla. Nate Otto, Thomas Smith, and I started working in Summer 2014 with Chris and with Ned Batchelder at Open edX and we now have some basic functionality in place.

Karthik Bangera has since taken over programming from Thomas; Dr. James Willis just joined the CRLT as a Research Associate and is taking over project coordination from Nate. This new team is currently working with several instructors who are offering MOOCs in edX and have asked us to help them issue badges for module and course completion. We are currently trying to line up additional instructors and institutions using Open edX to collaborate with.  As long as they will let us share their ideas and practices with others in our open case library, we can probably help them out.

Beyond edX
Once we get the Open edX badging system
in place and are working with projects on that platform, we aim to turn our attention to other platforms, starting with Google's Course Builder and Instructure's Canvas.  There was a lot of interest in badges in the GCB workshop in Zurich this summer and we are working with Google to make some of the innovations we developed in our Big Open Online Course (starting with wikifolios) as primary features in that platform.  Additionally, we are already working with Canvas at IU and hope to use our current collaboration with Indiana University High School to pilot badges there before installing them in Indiana's version of Canvas. Afterwards, hopefully badges will be used in multiple universities participating in the Unizin Consortium.

We are pretty excited about all of the interest in badges in higher ed.  I am going to Australia to present at a national meeting in November at Deakin University and am also planning to meet with innovators at the University of Sydney and Australia National University in Canberra.  Higher educators around the world are recognizing that badges are much more than certificates or grades.  Specifically, they are seeing that digital badges can contain specific claims and detailed evidence supporting those claims.  They are also seeing that open digital badges allow this information to circulate in digital social networks. Many are also discovering that this makes open digital badges potentially transformative and routinely disruptive.

Open Badges and JSON-LD

Chris McAvoy

Sat Aug 30 2014 11:34:48 GMT+0000 (UTC)

The BA standard working group has had adding extensions to the OB assertion specification high on its roadmap this summer. We agreed that before we could add an extension to an assertion or Badge Class, we needed to add machine readable schema definitions for the 1.0 standard.

We experimented with JSON-Schema, then JSON-LD. JSON-LD isn’t a schema validator, it’s much more. It builds linked data semantics on the JSON specification. JSON-LD adds several key features to JSON, most of which you can play around with in the JSON-LD node module.

  1. Add semantic data to a JSON structure, link the serialized object to an object type definition.
  2. Extend the object by linking to multiple object type definitions.
  3. A standard way to flatten and compress the data.
  4. Express the object in RDF.
  5. Treat the objects like a weighted graph.

All of which are features that support the concept behind the Open Badges standard very well. At its core, the OB standard is a way for one party (the issuer) to assert facts about another party (the earner). The assertion (the badge) becomes portable and displayable at the discretion of the owner of the badge.

JSON-LD is also quickly becoming the standard method of including semantic markup on html pages for large indexers like Google. now lists JSON-LD examples alongside RDFa and Microdata. Google recommends using JSON-LD for inclusion in their rich snippet listings.

We’ve been talking about JSON-LD on the OB standard working group calls for a while now. It’s starting to feel like consensus is forming around inclusion of JSON-LD markup in the standard. This Tuesday, September 2nd 2014, we’ll meet again to collectively build a list of arguments for and against the move. We’ll also discuss a conditional rollout plan (conditional in that it will only be executed if we get the thumbs up from the community) and identify any gaps we need to cover with commitments from the community.

It’s going to be a great meeting, if you’re at all interested in JSON-LD and Open Badges, please join us!

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [55]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 29 2014 22:13:17 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Happy Friday, badgers! Welcome to the Badger Beats, your weekly list of blog posts, events and announcements from the open badges community.

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

  • On this week’s community call, Brandon “BK” Klevence joined us to share the work the Free Library of Philadelphia has been doing this summer to develop badges with the teens they serve - check out a summary here;

  • This week, KPMG, one of the leading providers of professional accounting services in the UK, announced they will be backing the  iDEA Award that encourages youth to develop their own business ventures - read more here;

  • University World News published a piece on a global quality platform to review non-traditional higher education providers, which, if successful, could have an interesting effect on the badging ecosystem;

  • A new piece from Edudemic discusses the ways badges could “really work in education” - read more here;

Don’t forget to vote for the open badges panel submissions for SXSWedu - read about our panels here - and check out the Connected Learning Alliance’s list of SXSWedu submissions here.

Have a great long weekend, folks! See you all on Tuesday…!

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Fri Aug 29 2014 08:18:35 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Open Badges Community Project Call, August 27, 2014:



BK joined this week’s community call to share what the Free Library of Philadelphia has been doing this summer with their teen participatory design badging program. 

The Free Library team developed 4 different badges around the college readiness process through the lens of creative maker projects in association with the Maker Jawn initiative, a team of artists, engineers, designers, and thinkers who work in libraries in Philadelphia.

Documenting summer learning and career readiness

Working with libraries in low-income neighborhoods as part of the North Philadelphia Library Cluster, the team led afterschool and summer activities in partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN).

The program served approximately 70 teens at 9 library locations working with 20 or so maker mentors and college prep specialists helping the students with SAT prep and scholarship applications.

The four badges created by the team were:

  • Community / team building
  • Creator / inventing
  • Presence / presenting
  • Life / being

The badge program was aimed at middle school students, although the team found that the high school students PYN hired to help with the program were designing badges for themselves, looking to college and career readiness, rather than skill-building badges for the younger students - perhaps offering an interesting insight into what the teens thought badges were most valuable for.

The teens created a number of physical badges and presented their badge projects to the larger group. Some of the teens also used online badge builders to create digital versions of the badges. The team took their badge projects and funneled them into actionable items that could guide those pursuing badges.

Participatory Design

The teens worked in groups, using prompts to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and community impact. From these, they created badge designs, projects and evidence to present to a larger group. A badging template was used to help guide the teens, and they were able to provide feedback on each others badge project presentations

Passport for Documentation

The team came up with the idea of creating a book for each student, to act as a passport for documenting the activities they participated in over the summer. This involved both the physical creation and customization of a journal, as well as filling it with documentation of interviews, artistic creations, online tests, critiques of others’ work, time management skill development, and other markers of progress from the summer’s activities.

The Free Library team’s goal with developing a prototype set of badges was to give the youth a means of documentation for their activities that they could take with them - not just physically, but digitally - beyond the program and onwards to high school, college, and careers. The portable and transferable method of recognizing skills offered by badges meant they were a natural fit for this program, and it will be interesting to see how it develops as the team rolls out the badges.

You can view the prototype of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s 21st Century Skills Youth Badging Program here:

What a good iDEA!

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Tue Aug 26 2014 20:22:11 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Earlier this year, The Duke of York and Nominet Trust announced the launch of a new initiative to encourage young people to start their own business ventures.

This week, KPMG, one of the leading providers of professional accounting services in the UK, announced they will be backing the initiative, which is aiming to help more than one million UK youth develop digital skills and business ideas over the next five years:

KPMG plus Barclays, MicrosoftTelefónica (O2), Mozilla,, Silicon Valley Bank and University of Huddersfield have given their support to iDEA – the inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, which has been devised by The Duke of York and Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder.

iDEA has been created to help 14-25-year-olds develop their digital, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills, boost the confidence of young people and increase their employability status.

Young people taking part in the iDEA award scheme will have their skills and achievements recognised through open badges - a new global standard to recognise skills and achievements across the web. In addition to the three core iDEA badges, many of the new partners will sponsor their own open badge and offer participants in the programme the chance to carry out online tasks in order to earn one.

A full launch of the initiative will happen in October 2014.

For more information, visit

Badger Beats: The Week In Review [54]

Mozilla Open Badges Blog

Sat Aug 23 2014 16:53:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Happy weekend, badgers! We didn’t manage to get the Beats out yesterday while the Badge Alliance team were traveling back from a week-long sprint in Maine - more on what came out of the week soon.

Here’s what happened while we were in Vacationland…

  • Former badger Doug Belshaw wrote about Open Badges on his blog, raising the question of whether badges are like “3D printing for credentials.” Read more here;
  • EdWeek took a look at the Pearson white paper, Open Badges Are Unlocking the Emerging Jobs Economy - more info here;
  • Credly and Pathbrite announced a partnership that will bring verified digital badges and credentials to academic and professional portfolios;

Mozilla also announced that the deadline for submitting proposals for MozFest has been extended to August 29th! If you’re interested in being a part of the Open Badges floor this year, get those submissions in by next Friday.

Now, quick - go enjoy the rest of the weekend!