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I HAVE A DEGREE,


DO I NEED A BADGE? By Michael Swanson


Digital Badges are gaining momentum as a credential recognising learning and skills, but do graduates with degrees awarded at University need to consider earning badges as well?


Digital (or Open) Badges comprise an Image with a backbone of embedded metadata that record who earned it, who issued it and for what; they are intended to be a means to record and reward (Credentialise) knowledge, abilities and skills; they offer the flexibility to recognise learning that occurs outside mainstream formal education.


The Mozilla Foundation, creators of the Firefox web browser, developed the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI), rules that suggest how badges are built and how they work; but there is no owner of digital badging and no policing authority. Any Organisation or Individual can issue a digital badge to any other.


So how do they have value? The value is built into the design of the badge itself, each badge links back to the Issuer and criteria that led to it being earned, in this way a recruiter (for example an Employer or a University) can follow a trail that highlights who


issued the badge and determine for themselves if it has worth to them. It is (or will be) the reputation of the badge issuer and the criteria against which the badge was earned that underpin the badge’s value.


The badge holder can display their badges on the web in Mozilla’s Backpack or on a social media site or their own blog and so choose who is able to see what badges. There are issuing and display tools from other providers as well such as Moodle, Credly and Purdue University who have developed “Passport” a badge display app for tablet devices.


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