RAPPORT, Volume 2, Issue 1 RAPPORT Issue 1 version4FINALSO - Page 19

RAPPORT WWW.RECORDINGACHIEVEMENT.AC.UK Issue 1 (2017) The International Journal for Recording Achievement, Planning and Portfolios Open Badges in Education Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell, Newcastle University. A digital badge is an online credential displaying achievement or recognition of a competency being met. An Open Badge is a digital badge containing metadata based on the Open Badge Infrastructure 11 . This metadata will include the awarding institution, the recipient, the name and description of the badge, the criteria required to achieve the badge, the date issued, and could also include optional data such as the badge holder’s evidence (Mozilla 2011). Open badges are not fixed to any proprietary system, and as they are based on an open standard 12 , users can receive open badges from many locations and collate them into collections. Thes e collections are held in a secure online location, often called a digital backpack 13 , and can be displayed on online spaces such as individual blogs or LinkedIn profiles. Abramovich et al. (2013) describes two alternative models of badges – merit badges and videogame achievements. The merit badge is the equivalent of the Boy and Girl Scout badges, where children would choose which badge to go for, and then earn the awarding of the badge by demonstrating they have learned a particular skill. The displaying of the badges on the shirt sleeve of the scout uniform acted as a type of curriculum vitae, showing the achievements of the scout. Videogame badges are awarded to videogame players when they accomplish a particular task or achievement within the game. Online profiles allow players to demonstrate their achievements to their peers Both of these models of badges have links to educational Open Badges which are a relatively new development. Students can earn badges by 11 12 demonstrating competency or skills development, and can display their badges on online spaces such as blogs and LinkedIn. They can also earn Open Badges for incidental activity similar to some videogame badges, as well as choosing to earn a specific badge. A report from the Open University in 2012 (Sharples et al. 2012) outlined the possible benefits and marked Open Badges as having a high impact over the next five years. The benefits described include the ability to break down a course into more manageable ‘challenges’, using badges as a self- awarding system to encourage reflective practice, and as the badge can provide a direct link to evidence that demonstrates achievement of the criteria , they argue that it has the potential to be more persuasive to an employer than a degree certificate Potential Benefits of Open Badges Increased employability of students Tymon (2011) has suggested that the introduction of tuition fees in UK HE has influenced why students choose to attend higher education. One of the main choice factors for students when picking universities is the employability of students upon graduation (Maringe 2006). The employability of university graduates is measured using the DLHE survey 14 . This is a survey by institutions to measure what proportion of their graduates are in employment, and also how many are in ‘graduate level’ employment. By recognising informal learning and linking this with employers’ demands, badging can be used to increase the employability of students. As the focus of Open Badges can be on skill acquisition they can be used to formally recognise informal learning (Glover & Latif 2013). Badging can offer a way of http://openbadges.org/ http://www.digistan.org/open-standard:definition 13 14 http://www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/dlhe/ https://backpack.openbadges.org/backpack/welcome 18