Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who need grades at school, when you can get badges!

ON Course - Release the Badges!

"After working on the badges system that I outlined in a previous post, it has finally reached a point where it is functional enough to be ‘released’. It should be noted, though, that it is neither fully functional ‘out of the box’ and is by no means a shining example of development practices at their best. The mini-project of looking at how a system such as the Mozilla Open Badges platform could be used in higher education has suffered tremendously from scope creep and the underlying code (at the moment) reflects this. Over the past few weeks I’ve been through the following phases:

  • Consider how Open Badges (or similar) could be used in higher education.
  • Create a prototype system to be used in higher education.
  • Develop a more stable system that could be used in a trial run within our university.
  • Develop the system in such a way that it could be picked up and used in a variety of institutions or situations with minimal reconfiguration.

Initially, I considered creating a small database to hold ‘objectives’ that need to be met in order to be awarded badges, along with the bare minimum of APIs in order to interact with the database and the Open Badges framework. After starting out down this path, I started to realize that there was far more potential in a badging system within a higher education institution than I had originally thought and began to think of more features that would be useful.



ON Course - Designing a Badge System for Universities

"Over the past week or so we have started looking at the Mozilla Open Badge platform and how it could, possibly, be applied to use within HEIs (and beyond). It started to become apparent, through reading other peoples blog posts and reading through mailing lists, that there is already some work going on to award badges for completion of modules of study or achieving particular learning outcomes. After looking at what information is required to award a badge using the Open Badge framework, I created a design for a platform that can be picked up and used within another institution or context with minimal customization required. The purpose of this blog post is to document the decision processes involved and to describe and show the resulting design.

The Basics

The basic premise of the system is fairly simple: create badges and award them to individuals who meet the criteria for each badge. These awarded badges can be ‘baked’ (to include the relevant information) and sent to individual’s ‘backpacks’ – be that the OpenBadge backpack or an internally hosted version.

This suggests that data pertaining to the following is required: Badges, Objectives and Earned Badges.


This is a PHP based system and not one I'm likely to play with myself, but I really like the thought of this, the gamification of school. If grades themselves are not enough to engage our students, then maybe badges/achievements can?

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