Starting Fall 2015, several groups at Earlham will explore using badges as a way to recognize student skills and knowledge, grant students access to various instruments and spaces, and give students a way to communicate to the broader world that they have been recognized for certain competencies.
Why Do I Care About Badges?
Currently, we have two ways of recognizing skills development, and they don't cover everything we would like.
One is the informal, often unwritten recognition of people who work directly with you on a regular basis. This is poorly quantified and hard to communicate to others effectively.
The other way is taking a full course, for several hours per week, with all the assignments and tests that go with taking a course. This can be overkill for learning basic skills, but it's documented.
Badges are a way to build and demonstrate skill, with a lot more flexibility than those two options allow. Having a badge communicates that you have a specific, quantifiable understanding of how to do something, in less time than it takes to complete a comprehensive course. It also offers a convenient way to display achievements to the outside world.
A badge augments what you learn in a classroom. It does not replace it, and no academic credit is given for it.
As we try out badges, we are using Moodle, which can connect to the widely-used Mozilla OpenBadges platform.
Enroll in the EC Badges course to start earning badges.
Scroll to the bottom of the Moodle page. Search: EC Badges. Enroll. You should have no requirements. Enrolling will grant you Earner status.
Then earn badges by meeting their requirements. Simple as that.
Managing Your Badges
Most of your work with badges will be earning them. They are meant to be low-overhead, low-maintenance.
However, you may want to show potential employers or clients that you have been recognized by the college as having a certain skill.
Go to your Moodle page. Then go to the sidebar Administration > My profile settings > Badges > Backpack settings. Moodle will walk through connecting. (If at first it doesn't work, try again later.)
Once you have a Mozilla account, you can send your Moodle badges to a Mozilla backpack by clicking to one of your badges and then clicking "Add to backpack." This will enable you to display your skills.
Faculty and Other Awarders
Most of these steps deal with making a badge. Once a badge is created, it requires little to no maintenance.
Note: All steps MUST be completed before a badge can reasonably be issued. Changing a badge after it is already available, and in particular if it has already been awarded to anyone, is difficult and may raise questions about expectations or ethics at a later date. We should all build good habits now to prevent problems later.
Getting Started in Moodle
Go to the EC Badges course on Moodle. Must have Awarder (Teacher) role in course. (Earner is the role equivalent of Student.)
Add a Topic for your badge. This will be the home for all activities needed to get that particular badge. Create these activities at any time before badge completion.
Creating the Badge
Scroll to the "Administration" section, click Badges, and click "Add a new badge." (If you click "Manage badges," you will have the option to change badge settings and add new badges.)
Fill out the blanks for "Name" (two badges may not have the same name) and "Description."
Have a square PNG image prepared as an icon, and upload it under "Image."
Under "Issuer details," change the name to your organization's name (e.g. Earlham CS, JMM).
Update contact information if desired. (You may change badge expiration information; default is that badges do not expire).
Click "Create badge."
You should now see the "Manage badges" screen, including your badge (name, icon, etc.). Click the gear icon.
Go to the "Criteria" tab. Options:
- Manual issue by role: allows a human being with a given Moodle role to grant a badge.
- Course completion: self-explanatory
- Activity completion: require a Quiz, Assignment, or other Moodle activity be completed as a condition for getting the badge
After all criteria are added, you may choose to reward a badge based on "any" of the conditions being met rather than "all" of them. As a rule, however, all conditions should be required. This ensures students earn their badges properly and that faculty/other Awarders are aware of who has earned the badges and stay in regular communication about it.
All criteria will be displayed when a potential Earner looks at the list of available badges.
Making the Badge Accessible
By now you have probably noticed the yellow text reading "This badge is currently not available to users. Enable access if you want users to earn this badge." When you are completely satisfied with how your badge looks and the conditions required to earn it, click "Enable access." Hit "Continue" if you are comfortable with the warning.
(The yellow box should now be green and read "This badge is currently available to users. Disable access to make any changes.")
The badge is now available for students to earn.
Awarding a Badge
Must be in Awarder role.
Go to Administration > Badges > Manage badges.
Scroll down to Recipients and click "Award badge"
Select from list of names of people who are enrolled.
Contact CS for more.