As we’ve detailed here on this blog, we’re thoughtfully developing a series of open, digital badges for use in some of our programs here in the Education Department here at UNH. This blog post is merely to detail our thinking as we completed our literature review last week. I’ll be posting the lit review on “Open Badging Systems” this week on this blog for public comment. The literature review was a compilation of the relevant literature available on open badging systems and the beginnings of an argument as to why open badges are needed in our specific programs. Let me reiterate that the argument being presented is specifically suited to our needs as faculty (and students) in our program. In our thinking about badges it became apparent that badging systems need to be granular, as well as authentic.
What follows below is notes, feedback, and photos from our planning and writing sessions. Much of this work details the challenges and process of writing and researching collaboratively. Student names remain in the document with the permission of the students.
We began on Wednesday with reviewing the wonderful, informative sources you gathered. I took the information from the resource document online and created one index card for each fact or quotation. I created a color coding system. Each source was assigned a color and the facts from that source was printed in the corresponding color. So all of the information from the Erin Knight article “Assessing Digital Badges” were written in orange. Through this process, both Carrie and I could easily sort out the information you collected and reorganize the material.
We spent Thursday night rereading your sources and brainstorming with regards to the questions Ian asked us. Thursday we created an outline of the paper and a potential flow chart for a badge program at UNH. We posted both online for feedback. The input we received was invaluable. Thank you.
On Friday, we categorized the index cards of reference information based on our outline. Quotes defining badges were grouped together; quotes about employment advantages of badges were grouped together, etc. When completing this part, we had absolutely no idea which source the information came from (other than the color) or who from the class had posted the information. We were simply looking at the material on the card and how the material was going to fit into our argument.
On Saturday, we typed the quotes into our outline under the sections we had classified the information under. Then we began writing. Both Carrie and I worked independently on the different sections of the paper, bouncing ideas off one another. If one of us was stuck with a particular section, we would move on and the other went back later to add to it. Before writing a section, we would reread the information and quotes we felt could be used to make our argument. We worked to incorporate as many quotes as possible into each section. With each section, there were many great quotes that we had placed in the section but just did not seem to fit with the flow of the writing. We again did not know which source was which or who had posted the source during the writing process. No quote or piece of information was overlooked or carelessly disregarded. We did our best to utilize all of your hard work.
This morning, after a long day of writing, we woke up early to begin editing and revising. We reviewed the paper, made many changes, and again attempted to incorporate the information that you had gathered that we had yet to use in the piece. We, for the first time since we started, looked at which sources we actually used and converted our color code system into APA formatted citations.
We worked hard on the paper, just like you worked hard gathering all the information you did about open badges. (I know there is not a lot out there… we looked). We are proud of the outcome but know there are many changes that can be made to make this piece even better. We sincerely look forward to any and all feedback from you. You, like us, have a vested interest in making this paper the best it can possibly be. Our only request is you respect our hard work and not make any major changes to the document. Once a change is made it cannot be undone. Please leave feedback and comments at the top of the page or using the comment tool. We want to incorporate your thoughts and opinions, we just would like to have a discussion first. As you know, in the writing process, you have ideas and thoughts that seem clear in your own head but might not be clear on paper. Give us a chance to explain our thoughts and reasoning to you and we will work together to make any and all changes.
The more thought we put into incorporating open badges as part of a teacher certification program, the more excited we are about the potential benefits, especially at UNH. We are arguing for a program that places quantifiable value on your experiences as an intern that you can carry with you after you leave the program among other things. The paper is cutting edge in its concept and we are looking forward to helping develop a badge system. We have a long road ahead of us but what we have accomplished so far together shows great progress. Thank you for all you have invested into this paper and project. Keep up the hard work and keep the creative juices flowing.