Preparing to “Launch” Our Open Badging System

Preparing to “Launch” Our Open Badging System

As we have detailed several times in this blog, I’ve been hard at work researching, developing, and (hopefully) soon will be implementing an open badge initiative. To tell the truth, I’ve got a crack team of great graduate students that have been researching and pushing my thinking about badges…but I get to take the credit (and the blame) here on this blog. Nevertheless…I wanted to share some recent work over the past week as we come closer to identifying and building these badges.

The badge system will be fully integrated into the ORMS MOOC that I’ve been developing. The idea is that we’ll have five modules of work. Participants will be able to “pledge” for a badge in any one of these modules. We’re still finalizing the specifics about what will need to be submitted to earn a badge, but at this point it looks like this for Module One:

  • Complete all activities and read all materials in Module One.
  • Complete an online tutorial complete with all supporting materials to scaffold learners through the activity. Indicate the appropriate grade-level and content area. Specifically state the student learning objectives for your activity. These materials need to be posted openly online and to the MOOC (to be added by the admin). They should be Creative Commons licensed.
  • Complete a self-evaluation and submit to the course “master”. This will be posted publicly online with your work submitted.
  • Request and submit a peer-evaluation of your work and submit to the course “master.” This will be posted publicly online with your work submitted.
  • Request and submit a “shepherd”-eval of your work and submit. This will be posted publicly online with your work submitted.

The following figure provides a graphical representation of our thinking on this process.

Open Badge Flow Chart Upgrade 2

Of course we’re still nailing down some of the specifics, but at this point there seem to be three levels of users in the system. The first level is the participant, or general student in the MOOC. Once you achieve all five badges for all five modules, you will have completed the requirements of the course. At that point you have “unlocked” a meta-level badge…and you move up to the second level. The second level is the “master”, “guide”, or “mentor” level badge. We’re still trying to figure out the names of this level. I hate the term “master”…and don’t want to copy Mozilla by using “mentor”, but we’re still thinking. Once you have earned the “master” level badge, you can bring students through the class. You can use all materials for free. You cannot award badges to anyone. After you have brought one class of students successfully through the MOOC…and they earn badges…you move up to the third level of badges. The third level of badges is affectionately referred to as the “shepherd” badge. With the “shepherd” badge you are able to continue brining participants through the MOOC. You can also edit & revise the MOOC. Finally, you are able to award badges as well.

Once again…we’re still tweaking things, but we’ve come a long way. Mostly we’re thinking about graphics and descriptors. Our goal is to be as granular and rigorous as possible. The ultimate objective for the badges…and the MOOC is to empower educators to effectively embed new, digital, or web literacies into their content area. The ORMS MOOC focuses on the new Mozilla Web Literacies, and the CCSS (in the U. S.) that will be important.

The answer to the ultimate “so what” question about the MOOC and these badges came to me this week while meeting with students in a Google Hangout. I would envision a teacher being able to work their way through the MOOC while understanding & openly sharing effective ways to embed the Web Literacies into content area instruction. Then, after they earn the “master”, or “shepherd” badge, they can lead others through the program. They can sign on in their district to offer professional development days, or workshops. In this they can freely use the materials included in the MOOC. The teachers they bring through can also build up skills and product if they want…but this is not necessary.

We hope to be “launching” our badges and re-launching the ORMS MOOC in the next two weeks. We’ll share more here.

 

Image CC by grantpotter

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