Monday, 19 May 2014

Open Badges Generator

We have been looking recently at how we could issue Open Badges, an initiative backed by the Mozilla foundation for standardising the issuing of badges for 'verifying learning'.

There are many systems available for issuing badges to recipients, however all of the systems we have come across (including BlackBoard) need the recipient to be a registered user of that specific system. This became a stumbling block for us as we would like to issue badges based on the more frequented face to face elements the Elevate Team offer. Workshops, Masterclasses and group sessions are all based away from systems such as BlackBoard, so how could we issue badges?

The option of creating a new module in BlackBoard's CourseSites was an option, however this would become cumbersome and yet another task a user would have to go through to simply claim a badge.

Whilst searching around various user groups and communities we stumbled across an article on how to use Google Sites as a badge issuer using Mozilla's Open Badges Issuer API by +Martin Hawksey . After testing what Martin had done, including using Google Forms to process user information, we decided to try and modify the system to suit our needs.

The 'proof of concept' we have ended up with ended up being quite different from what was detailed in the article. Martin's project issued a static two badges, we modified this code to allow us to issue any number of custom badges.

The process would be:

  1. User signs up, for example a workshop session, leaving Name and Email
  2. Attends the workshop
  3. After, the Elevate Team uses the generator to select appropriate badge for the workshop, uses Name and Email in the form.
  4. Users gets email to claim their badge
What's nice about this process is it only introduces one step for the end user outside of normal operations (Signup form etc), simply clicking a link in an email.

We created a dynamic Open Badge generator where only our team can select which badge we wish to issue and to whom. The script behind the form will dynamically pull the relevant information (Criteria, Evidence) for each badge based on what badge has been selected, rather than having it as a manual process. We intend to extend this function by having another form which will allow us to 'create' a new badge which can be referenced within this system.

If you wish to test the generator in it's development state and issue yourself either a 'Novice' or 'Expert' badge, please visit the Google Form below.

We have integrated a faux-aunthentication function to negate any spamming of badges for unauthorised users, this was simply done by using a required field in the Google Form which had to match some text exactly to submit the form.

For this proof of concept, the Team Code is "pleaseletmehavethebadge" sans quotes.

If you have any feedback on using the system or if you wish to discuss with the Elevate Team about Open Badges, please contact us at

Please note that by it's very nature, this system is likely to change and possibly stop working altogether.

The Elevate Open Badge Generator will be for the private issuing of badges by our team, however the underlying code and technical functionality will be posted under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. CC-BY which will come shortly.

With thanks to +Martin Hawksey 's original code and article -