Monday, 14 July 2014

Issuing Open Badges at UCS - Where are we?

After the development and completion of the Open Badges Generator ( we trialled the use of open badges at various events over the last few weeks here at UCS. These included the annual Learning and Teaching Day, AMC Development Day and the Research Colloquium as well as badges for attendees to our Digital Literacy Programme courses.

The objectives needed to obtain the event badges were not to simply turn up, but to submit a short (~150 words) reflective piece reflecting on a key message that you had taken away from the event or workshop and how you could use that in your everyday work. This method also helps to provide event organisers with a source of feedback.

These reflections were captured using a Google Form and attendees were given two weeks to submit the form.

After the two weeks had past, a member of the Elevate Team would simply open the Open Badge Issuer selecting the correct badge and using the form information to issue badges to those who submitted their reflections.

We issued 41 badges in total over the various events and workshops.

Here is a brief overview of the process:
  1. Initial meeting with event/workshop organiser explaining 'What are Open Badges' and how they could be used for their sessions - 15m
  2. Create Google Form (Name, email address, reflection) and send link to organiser- 5m
  3. After event, Issue badges - ~30s per response

We have a main open badges page which can be found using the link below which details how we are using Open Badges at UCS.

Looking back over the whole process it's clear to see that for quite a significant result, I.e issuing an Open Badge, the process it self was very administration light.

The only issue we had with this process was one recipient having issues logging into their Mozilla Backpack, the issue was resolved by getting the recipient to use a different browser such as Mozilla FireFox or Google Chrome rather than Internet Explorer.

Each badge that got issued points to a 'Criteria' page on the UCS website where information about the badge is stored. 

Some questions for future use have arisen from the recent use of badges for these events. These include:
  • Does there need to be a review of the quality of reflections before issuing of badges and if so, who would do this?
  • A need to revoke or expire badges if the badge is for a re-occurring event or CPD which continually needs updating.
The expiring of badges is on the development list for our next sprint with this project. We will also look at scripting in some unique identifiers for each badge to help us track and maintain a clean and error free database. 

With word spreading and interest climbing for the use of Open Badges for face to face workshops and events, scripting in some sort of analytics would help us track 'number of badges issued' for individual events/workshops.

If you are a member of staff at UCS and would like to know more about Open Badges or how you could use them, feel free to contact us :)

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