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Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Only Sessions at Location/Venue 
 
 
Session Overview
Date: Wednesday, 25/Oct/2017
9:30amWorkshop — Addressing the Open Badge Challenges (1)
Session Chair: Nate Otto

During this series of workshop we will be working in groups to address a selected number among the 10 Open Badge Challenges: 1. Open Recognition Networks; 2. Informal Recognition; 3. Open Endorsement; 4. Open Discovery; 5. Advanced Visualisation; 6. Social Capital Representation; 7. Open Pathways; 8. Semantic value; 9. Open Services; 10. Interoperability. During this first session, we will investigate the state of open recognition, examine the different challenges and use each as a window into building Open Recognition Networks. Each team will nominate one chair person who will be leading the work on the challenge and report on the results. 
Main Room 
 

Open Pathways

Nate Otto

Concentric Sky, United States of America

As an example of progress toward true Open Recognition Networks, Nate Otto will present on the Open Pathways challenge as a organizing principal: Move beyond simply issuing badges or sharing badges on social networks and into networks of shared learning. How will the forthcoming Open Pathways system change how learning and recognition are understood to incorporate the learning network?
 
11:30amKEY1.1: Launch of the Open Recognition Day: Italy adopts Open Badges!
Session Chair: Tania Martinelli
Session Chair: Chiara Carlino

During this plenary session broadcasted on the web keynotes speakers will explore Open Recognition and how it could change, not just the learning landscape, but the social and employment landscape altogether.

Round table with the participation of:

  • Davide Conte, Assessor to Budgeting, Finance, Corporate Participation, User Participation in Quality Control of Public Services
  • Marco Lombardo, Municipal councillor, mayor's delegate to European relations and projects
  • Alessandra Biancolini, ANPAL - National Agency Active Labour Policies
  • Marco Mantoan, Chief Executive Officer of ANFIA Service
  • Marcello Bogetti, Director of LabNET, SAA University of Turin
Main Room 
 

Towards Transparency 4.0

Andrea Simoncini, Alessandra Biancolini

ANPAL - National Agency Active Labour Policies, Italy


Digital Badges for the Automotive Industries - The ANFIA Service and IQC project

Marco Mantoan

ANFIA Service

 
2:30pmWorkshop — Addressing the Open Badge Challenges (2)
Session Chair: Don Presant
Session Chair: Chiara Carlino

During this second session, group will deepen their understanding of the challenges chosen and work towards possible solutions. Participants are free to move from one group to the next. Observers are welcome to lurk on the work being done.

Main Room 
5:00pmORA: Open Recognition Alliance
Session Chair: Nate Otto
Session Chair: Don Presant

An open meeting of the Open Recognition Alliance.

Kick off of MIRVA (Making Informal Recognition Visible and Accessible), a 3 years ERASMUS plus project that will greatly contribute to the implementation of the goals of the Bologna Open Recognition Declaration.

Main Room 
 

Making Informal Recognition Visible and Actionable

Serge Ravet

Reconnaître - Open Recognition Alliance, France

While the recognition of formal learning rests on the extensive paraphernalia of grades, exams, diplomas and certificates, are those instruments fit for the recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of informal learning? Does the recognition of informal learning mean formal recognition of informal learning, or is there a space for developing something akin to the informal recognition of informal learning? What policies, strategies, practices, supporting infrastructures and technologies could make informal recognition possible and valuable? How to best combine the formal and informal recognition of learning to support lifelong learning?

The contribution of Open Badges to rethinking learning recognition

When addressing the issue of recognition of informal learning, what is generally explored is the formal recognition of informal learning: under which conditions official authorities recognise informal learning, so it could be further recognised by other stakeholders like potential employers or clients (for the self-employed). Yet, informal recognition of informal learning exists, for example when a technician is promoted engineer by an employer, but this recognition tends to remain local. Open Badges are changing that by providing the opportunity to make local recognition global.

The contribution of Open Badges to the recognition of learning is the provision of a unified instrument supporting:

  • The recognition of formal (accreditation) as well as informal learning—using Open Badges in formal learning settings can contribute to increasing its acceptance for informal learning.
  • Learners taking control over the recognition processes—using Open Badges to grow their identity and social reputation.

Depending on who is at the initiative of the recognition process we can distinguish two main types of badges:

  • Claims: the process is controlled by the recipient who is seeking recognition by peers, members of the community or authorities, e.g. a person creates her own badge describing a personal achievement and asks others to endorse it or someone to issue the badge on her behalf.
  • Credentials: the process is controlled by the issuing authority and is delivered upon satisfaction of the criteria. Although badges can be used for macro-credentials, like diplomas, this kind of badges is often used to deliver finer grained credentials called micro-credentials.

While today Open Badges are mainly used as micro-credentials delivered by authorities (schools, universities), there is a huge untapped potentials in using badges to support learner-controlled recognition processes as an alternative and/or support to formal recognition, validation and accreditation. This could be particularly valuable in countries with poor or inexistent formal systems of recognition.

Open Badges to Open Recognition

As visual symbols, Open Badges are accessible to people within a wide range of literacy levels. Using badges as the milestones of a curriculum or a learning programme is a means to convey their meaning to all prospective learners. As visual symbols are used for all kinds of programmes, from basic literacy to rocket scientist, there would be no stigma attached with Open Badges as something “just for people with low literacy levels.” Moreover, those who have earned a badge would be able to share their achievements with the members of their community, independently of their respective literacy levels.

So we have the following virtuous circle:

  • Open Badges makes the learning provision visible to people with low literacy levels.
  • Open Badges makes the learning achievements of people with low literacy levels visible to all.
  • As learners with low literacy levels can share their achievements within their community, it is an incentive for other members of the community to share their own achievements.

Moreover, Open Badges open the “space of recognition” far beyond formal recognition. While competency Badges have the advantage of providing a finer level of granularity to the recognition process, the recognition process itself remains in the conformance quadrant (formal/traditional): badges tell what the person was able to do in the past, information from which one can infer possible future performance. In the other quadrant, empowerment (non-forma/non-traditional), we have self-issued badges and peer-endorsed badges so someone could for example making a statement by claiming the Doctor Badge to then go to the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières to offer their services in their current capacity, get the badge endorsed by their peers and colleagues in these communities then go to the university using that badge in the application form to demonstrate her commitment and personal values.

About the "Plan of Recognition":

The 2 axes defining the Plan of Recognition are:

  • Formal (institution centred) / Informal (community centred
  • Traditional (static, centred on past achievements / Non-Traditional (dynamic focused on the future)

Those 2 axes define 4 quadrants:

  • Conformance (formal / traditional)
  • Inclusion (informal / traditional)
  • Empowerment (informal / non-traditional)
  • Enabling (formal / non-traditional)
 
Date: Thursday, 26/Oct/2017
9:00amPR21A
Session Chair: Don Presant
Main Room 
 

ePortfolio and Open Badges: Lifelong Learning Practices In Siberian Federal University

Olga Smolyaninova, Ekaterina Bezyzvestnykh

Siberian Federal University, Russian Federation

The material was prepared within the framework and sponsorship of the project powered by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFFR)" It is Siberia and the Arctic Ocean that will give the might to the Russian state”: “The Development of education and research center in the Krasnoyarsk Region by means of an electronic platform of longlife learning (PL2S) to support the development of human capital of Krasnoyarsk Region" (№ 16-16-24005/17 ) [1].

One of the goals of the Program for Enhancing the International Competitiveness of the Siberian Federal University (SibFU) is "Development of the open educational system (Citizen University)" [2]. With this in mind openness and transparency in assessing the educational outcomes of university students is a strategic constituent of the program for the development of e-learning and distance education technologies of a modern university.

Over the decade the Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Sociology (IPPS, SibFU) has been positively employing the e-portfolio technology in the system of training bachelor- and master-level student in the field of Pedagogy. Open Badges technology is new and is virtually not used in the Russian universities. SFU became one of the first universities to implement this advanced technology into the educational process of the teaching master-level student. An electronic educational course was developed in the MOODLE system based on awarding Open Badges. This course is intended for the master's program "Management of Educational Innovations" in the discipline "E-Portfolio and Open Recognition of Personal and Professional Achievements Throughout Life

In the context of continuous education policy, the introduction of OPEN BADGES technology at the university is regarded a seamless extension for the use of e-portfolio technology in the educational environment of the Siberian region.

One of the mechanisms for supporting the e-portfolio and Open Badges are the scientific and educational resources of the electronic educational platform for continuing education in Siberia [3]. The electronic platform (PL2S) was developed within the framework of the RFBR project implementation and provides dissemination of experience in the following areas of activity:

  • the line between non-formal and formal;
  • the nature of non-formal learning;
  • workplace learning;
  • the way that the individual is positioned in the recognition debate;
  • levels of learning below upper secondary schooling;
  • the distinctions between types of non-formal learning;
  • the enhanced potential of informal learning through ICTs.

In view of the novelty of the OPEN BADGE methodology (recognition of educational results) as one of our mainstreams and our mission, we consider the communication and promotion of the OPEN BADGE methodology in the academic and professional pedagogical community. The technology of Open Badges was presented at 2 plenary sessions and master classes of the International conferences "Development Practices: Educational Initiatives", "Education Throughout Life: Continuing Education for Sustainable Development".

It is the teaching community that is the guide and new ideology people for mainstreamification of Open Badges technology.

We outline the following milestones of the implementation and dissemination of the Open Badges technology of in Russia: the first stage – probematisation, the second stage - the actualisation, the third stage - the personal value-personalizing, the fourth stage – implementation in the practice and adoption.

References:

[1] The project powered by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFFR)." It is Siberia and the Arctic Ocean that will give the might to the Russian state”: “The Development of education and research center in the Krasnoyarsk Region by means of an electronic platform of longlife learning (PL2S) to support the development of human capital of Krasnoyarsk Region".

[2] Program to enhance international competitiveness of the Siberian Federal University.

http://about.sfu-kras.ru/docs/9241/pdf/329134.

[3] Global Perspectives on Recognising Non-formal and Informal Learning. Why Recognition Matters. UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2015


Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP): Equipping All Learners with 21st-Century Skills

Roberta {Robin} Sullivan

State University of New York at Buffalo

The State University of New York Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP) < http://suny.edu/toep > is a flipped professional development model that encourages faculty to explore and reflect on innovative and creative uses of emerging technologies through hands-on discovery activities. TOEP promotes lifelong learning in a digital world and provides a focused venue to experiment with the constantly evolving landscape of social-media and the latest web-based technology tools.

TOEP is not traditional professional development but instead provides online access to resources for instructors to explore at their own pace through a set of hands-on, discovery activities. After participants explore a section and complete one of the activities they are prompted to reflect on their learning by posting about their experiences within a connected private social-network community. This avenue for peer support and inter-campus collaboration has resulted in a robust dialog about how the application of new tools can be used to help facilitate communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. This learning environment empowers faculty to master new technologies and helps them transfer knowledge to their students about how to effectively work with new communication and collaboration technologies.

Digital badges and other professional development award incentives are used to provide motivation for participants and complete the project requirements. Awards are issued through a peer-review process to community members who share the most innovative use of TOEP tools and who provide optimal levels of peer support within the online social network community. Results from recent analysis of the online community postings has shown that many participants report vicarious learning through the experiences of others in the community.

This cross-campus collaborative project has just completed its fifth year as faculty professional development. New grant funding has just been awarded to transform this successful system into a MOOC based on the TOEP model which will be targeted to all learners. The future of this innovative professional development model will target the needs of faculty, students, and professionals alike to provide 21st-century skills which are necessary for today’s society. This session will provide an overview of the project’s history and a look into how future iterations of this project will take shape.


Digital Badges for Workforce Development

Kathleen Radionoff

Madison Area Technical College, United States of America

Digital Badges for Workforce Development

Madison College has one of the oldest badging program in the United States. Launched in 2012, the college’s School of Professional and Continuing Education has awarded over 3000 badges to both credit and noncredit students. This presentation will have examples of badges developed and awarded to young students preparing for a career in healthcare, incumbent working adults who seek out noncredit training opportunities for the purpose of upskilling, and customized training provided to employers and their workforce.

Practical tips on how to launch a successful badging program will be shared as well as issues that occurred that were not anticipated. In addition to the sharing of best practices, new research will be shared on the use of badges.


Student Transformative Learning Record

Brenton Rylan Wimmer

Credentialing for Transformative Success: The Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR)

The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is a four-year public metropolitan university located in Edmond, Oklahoma. In 2006, UCO adopted transformative learning into its mission statement and began to envision new possibilities for student learning, but did not yet have a way to award badge level achievements to students. Based on the work of Jack Mezirow (1978; 2000) and others such as Stephen Brookfield (2005), UCO defined transformative learning as a holistic process that places students at the center of their own active and reflective learning experiences. By emphasizing the development of beyond-disciplinary skills and expanding students’ perspectives of self, community, and environment, the institution began planning ways to integrate transformative learning experiences into courses and co-curricular activities across the campus. Initial efforts to implement the initiative on campus were supported by all levels of university administration (including the President and Provost) and a collaborative project team including members from academic affairs, student affairs, and information technology, was formed.

Soon a campus-wide plan, known as the Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR), was launched with the help of a $7.8 million-dollar Title III grant from the United States Department of Education in an effort to support, assess, and track student progress across six core tenet areas based upon the American Association of College and Universities’ High-Impact Practices: 1) Discipline Knowledge, 2) Global & Cultural Competencies, 3) Health & Wellness, 4) Leadership, 5) Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activities, and 6) Service Learning & Civic Engagement. Rubrics were developed for each of these core tenet areas by modifying existing AAC&U-VALUE Rubrics. These rubrics were highly vetted and adapted among our faculty – who were actively involved in the collaborative process of their development.

Currently, the institution has (through a grass-roots movement):

1) Implemented STLR in over 225 courses across diverse disciplines.

2) Funded 380 unique student/faculty-proposed paid projects and internships situated around at least one core tenet-area rooted in High-Impact Practices (including the Black Male Initiative, the Hispanic Success Initiative, a Native American Success Initiative, an Oklahoma History Project where students uncovered history on the Tulsa Race Riots, a mobile clinic for nursing students to treat the homeless, a project where students are researching squash proteins to help treat cancer, and a Living-Learning Garden where students grow food on campus for the Central Pantry – to name a few.)

3) UCO has also supported 25 co-curricular student groups and has hosted some 165 campus events aimed at increasing student engagement outside of the classroom.

4) Trained over 40% of our faculty and staff who have voluntarily integrated our program into their courses and activities across the campus.

So, what? Although we are still in the process of gathering data, our results suggest that the Student Transformative Learning Record has been highly successful. For instance, retention rates for our priority (low-income, first generation, and non-majority students) cohort of first-time freshmen students from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 has increased significantly from 54% (Non-STLR involved students) to as much as 73% (STLR involved students). For students who are part of our non-priority population, retention rates have increased from 49% (Non-STLR involved students) to 75% (STLR involved students).

By attending this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the structure of our unique program, the ways we have operationalized transformative learning theory for student success, and how we track and assess student learning through our three unique achievement badge levels: exposure, integration, and transformation. In addition, participants will also have the opportunity to hear about how our students are using ePortfolios to showcase their skills to prospective employers and how we plan to turn our highest badge level, Transformation, into a portable micro-credential that can be used outside of just the university setting.

References

Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, J. (1978). Perspective Transformation. Adult Education Quarterly, 28(2), 100-110.

Mezirow, J. & Associates. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

 
11:00amKEY2.1: Keynote Session
Session Chair: Chiara Carlino
Main Room 
 

Open Badges for Global Workforce Development at IBM

Marjolein van Eck

IBM, Corporate Talent

How IBM embraces digital credentials to address the dynamic talent market and enable the shifts in expertise of their workforce;

IBM has made digital credentials essential to their employees’ growth & success. They use badges to provide IBM’ers with a flexible, contemporary skill roadmap and signal the key growth skills. The integration between certification and badges provides an holistic approach towards career development across all major professions. Additionally, IBM has developed a suite of resources to make it easy for badge issuers, earners and consumers to gain significant value from the program.


Opening up Education - A Support Framework for Higher Education Institutions

Andreia Inamorato dos Santos, Yves Punie

DG Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Presentation of a report which is the final outcome of the OpenEdu Project, which aimed to support the Communication ‘Opening up Education: Innovative Teaching and Learning for All through New Technologies and Open Educational Resources’ (DG EAC, 2013). It presents open education as an umbrella term under which different understandings of open education can be accommodated, such as open educational resources and MOOCs. The report also presents the main outcome of the OpenEdu project, the OpenEdu Framework for higher education institutions.

This Framework identifies 10 dimensions of open education, giving a rationale and descriptors for each. The goal is to promote transparency for collaboration and exchange of practices among higher education institutions. Without a framework, stakeholders could overlook important questions and could put effort into matters that need little further investment. It is a tool to be used mainly by higher education institutions, but it is also very relevant for EU policy makers and other types of educational institutions.


The Time for Self-Sovereign Identity is Now: Case Studies in Open Standards for Decentralized Identity and Verifiable Claims

Natalie Smolenski, Kim Duffy

Learning Machine, United States of America

In 2016, Learning Machine collaborated with the MIT Media Lab to develop Blockcerts, an open standard for issuing and verifying credentials on the blockchain. The aim behind Blockcerts is to give recipients ownership of their official records so that they are freed from ongoing dependency on issuing institutions--or any centralized authority--to verify their own credentials and achievements. This not only affords recipients a maximally portable, private portfolio of their own records, but simultaneously helps issuing institutions prevent fraud and misrepresentation of official documents that they issue while allowing independent parties to instantly verify the authenticity and validity of records and credentials presented to them.

The Blockcerts standard was made open-source in 2016 so that any institution, vendor, or researcher can use it to build their own applications for issuing and verifying claims on the blockchain. The intent behind open-sourcing Blockcerts was twofold: 1) avoiding a standards war and 2) ensuring maximum portability of records by recipients and issuers (helping to avoid vendor or issuer lock-in). Since 2016, dozens of organizations and individuals around the world have begun building on the Blockcerts standard; Learning Machine has also developed enterprise software that is fully Blockcerts-compliant. During the summer of 2017, the first organizations issued blockchain credentials using the Learning Machine solution.

Blockcerts was designed to be identity-agnostic; that is, to take a claims-based approach to identity, which allows organizations and recipients to employ their preferred methods for identity management. However, the possibilities afforded by blockchain infrastructure for the development of identities that are truly self-sovereign cannot be ignored. Especially worrying in the current historical moment is the unstoppable intensification in data collection and transferability made possible by nation-states, industry leaders, and software providers. Regulating this momentum from a policy standpoint will have at best limited effects so long as the incentives for powerful actors are aligned toward maximum one-way transparency into the lives of citizens, employees, customers, and learners.

Any long-term solution to protect individual privacy and social agency must be technological and infrastructural, and that is precisely the opportunity now provided by the blockchain. Accordingly, Learning Machine has been actively contributing to technology standards organizations that are at the forefront of the movement toward self-sovereign identity—the Open Badges Initiative, the Web-of-Trust, and the W3C’s Credentials Community Group—to help define next-generation open standards for user-owned identity and claims.

This paper first outlines what has already been achieved in the path toward user-owned identity and claims and then looks toward the path ahead. We begin by describing the development of Blockcerts and its synchronization with the OBI standard; we then present case studies of some of the first Blockcerts-compliant blockchain credential issuance events. Next, we chart the initiatives that are still underway: the progress toward a truly decentralized identity management structure and the obstacles it faces, primarily from actors intent on capitalizing on the centralized control of identity. We discuss how the security imperatives of governments and other institutions can be fulfilled without compromising individual control of their own data. We discuss the amenability of Blockcerts toward self-sovereign identity solutions.

Finally, we conclude by stressing the urgency of digital self-sovereignty. Inasmuch as the blockchain affords, for the first time in history, the possibility of true individual ownership of their own data, it is a double-edged sword: it also opens the door for powerful actors to monitor and control the actions of human beings with unprecedented precision, at an unprecedented scale. If we want to avoid a future in which individuals are enslaved by smart contracts and decentralized autonomous organizations, we must build alternative possibilities now. Conservatism and inaction, including relying on legacy policy-based approaches to regulate technological development, are not options; the momentum is already in place, and innovation will respond to the incentives that are already at work.

The time for self-sovereign identity is now. This paper is a call for good-faith actors across the world to join in this initiative.

 
1:45pmKEY2.2: Panel: Humanitarian Passport Initiative
Session Chair: Don Presant

A diverse panel of humanitarians will provide an update of current developments and exciting next steps for the Humanitarian Passport, an emerging Open Recognition service for the sector.

  • Don Presant, Humanitarian Leadership Academy consultant
  • Petra Pojerová, Humanitarian Leadership Academy
  • Roisin Cassidy, Save the Children
  • Jose Manuel Lorente, Médicos Sin Fronteras
  • Victoria Fontan, Collaboration Centre for Quality Learning in Humanitarian Action
Main Room 
3:30pmWorkshop - Semantic value and Discovery - OB Challenges (3)
Session Chair: Bert Jehoul

4. Open Discovery

Key challenge: How to discover people, competencies, resources, service providers, etc. based on the data generated through Open Recognition while preserving the anonymity?

Statement: Search of talents is mainly confined within silos where participants are not in control of their data. Open Discovery means that it is possible to expose one’s data publicly and anonymously, independently from service providers, so that a variety of services, including services unknown to the data owner, can search the data to provide services.

 8. Semantic value

Key challenge: How can we write criteria that contain semantic information, so they can be processed by computers to provide meaningful information to humans?

Statement: Today, the criteria field in Open Badges is simple text and is created by the issuer. The semantic value is nil.

Main Room 
 

Linking Open Badges with ESCO: an Auto Badge Designer built during #oSoc17

Bert Jehoul1, Vincent Van Malderen2, Agis Papantoniou3, Christine Copers5, Bart Hanssens5, Johan Potums4, Pierre-Alexandre Blanc4, Niels Dewelde4, Eva Jacobs4, Pol Labaut4, Eveline Vlassenroot4

1Selor , Open Knowledge Belgium; 2Jobpunt; 3CogniZone; 4oSoc17; 5Bosa Digital Transformation

For the Summer of Code event (http://2017.summerofcode.be/) we have developed an interface to link Open Badges to ESCO (https://ec.europa.eu/esco/portal/news/4c7a4fea-5dc7-46f0-9bda-0cfdcf345c74).

THE PROJECT

Giving non IT people a user-friendly tool to create and issue visually attractive, ready to use badges while exploring the possible ways to link them with the ESCO taxonomy and, in doing that, testing the potential of ESCO; that is the scope of the Be Badges project.
Our team of students developed and came up, as they would in a professional labour context, with solutions to create digital badges i.e. an auto badge designer to be used in Belgium i.e. Be Badges but also, in the future, use that experience as a first step to promote the concept of digital badges as a beneficial tool to further enhance mobility in the European labour market.

They tackled several aspects in developing the Be Badges such as the issuing of the badges (via blockchain or other means), the representation of the skills and how they are related to occupations, the preservation of the badges or the aspect of trustworthiness and recognition of the badges.

During their work, they wereable to rely on the experience of Cognizone and its partners (see below) in the different IT domains that digital badges involve.

THE PARTNERS

This year, Cognizone was partnering with:

  • Be Badges – an Open Badges inspired platform powered by
  • Bosa DG R&O (former SELOR) – the Belgian Federal Government institution responsible for screening, recruiting, training & career guidance of Federal civil servants;
  • Bosa DG DT (former Fedict) , the Belgian Federal Government institution for Digital Transformation with a strong expertise on Open Data, and
  • Jobpunt Vlaanderen, the HR partner of governmental organisations in Flanders and a leading organisation in bringing the innovation of Open Badges to the labour market,

To assist and sponsor a team of 5 students on the very exciting Be Badges project and bring them our expertise and knowledge on linked open data, data management and on the soon to be published ESCO classification.

For more information on the Open Summer of Code 2017 please follow this link and Be Badges on Twitter.

 
4:30pmPR22: Projects presentation
Main Room 
 

Badging formal degrees: we need critical mass

Paolo Cherubini, Laura Appiani

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Italy

According to the First EUA Learning&Teaching Forum (Paris 28-29 September 2017), European Universities growingly acknowledge the usefulness of badging strategies for motivating students to engage in extracurricular activities and to acquire generic skills and competences. Beyond that, at the University of Milano Bicocca we are also badging formal graduation degrees. Graduation Badges (GB) are official certifications, easily portable and sharable, and less cumbersome than official diploma supplements/tracks of records. They synthetically report what a student learned in a degree, how he/she performed, and the jobs/professions relevant for that degree. GBs are aimed at improving the circulation/shared knowledge of the actual contents and learning achievements implied by acquiring a degree, for the sake of global employers. In time, endorsements (or lack of endorsements) by different employers will testify the high (or low) value of a specific degree issued by a specific university for employment in the global market. However, GBs will attain their goals only when many different universities will issue them, and as a consequence employers, graduated students, and job-oriented social forums will ask for them in electronic CVs as a substitute for the degree owner’s self-declaration (typical of traditional CVs).


Life-long, life-wide and life-deep professional learning: what do open badging and eportfolios have to offer?

Mandia Mentis, Alison Kearney, Wendy Holley-Boen

Massey University New Zealand, New Zealand

The landscape of ongoing professional learning is changing. ‘Becoming’ and ‘belonging’ are important aspects of developing a professional identity, and involve life-long, life-wide and life-deep learning. Ongoing life-long learning beyond formal study, life-wide learning across different contexts and disciples, and life-deep learning of embedding values and identity within practice are relevant shifts in thinking about professional development. The challenge lies in credentialing this authentic learning that occurs over time, across boundaries and is shaped by personal values and identity development. The ‘work in progress’ presented in this abstract questions whether open badging and eportfolios can offer some solutions to this challenge.

The case study presented here involves an initiative, funded by the Ministry of Education in New Zealand, of creating networked professional learning opportunities for learning support teachers - SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators). The role of the SENCO is to facilitate equitable and inclusive education systems in schools. This role is not formalised in New Zealand and typically these teachers are based in individual schools, and are relatively unsupported with no professional learning pathway. In 2016, the authors were involved in providing a blended (online and face-to-face) non-formal learning ‘course’, in which 75 SENCOs across New Zealand participated. Findings from this project revealed that despite being time-poor and under-resourced, SENCOs actively sought and valued opportunities for team-work and collaboration. In addition, the participants indicated high levels of flexibility, autonomy, and job satisfaction. Given these findings, a case was made to continue to support the autonomy and flexibility within the SENCO role, and then provide improved structures for ongoing professional learning, collaboration and sharing of practice. Our approach aimed to address SENCOs’ needs for professional learning and collaboration, extend their opportunities to build capability and leadership within schools, but also avoid standardising and prescribing their role.

We thus developed a new ‘network of expertise’ model to provide opportunities for flexible life-long learning. This is designed to overcome the isolation in individual schools, promote authentic and contextualised life-wide learning with and from each other, and personalise life-deep learning that promotes professional identity development. Valuing this alternative learning through alternative forms of credentialing will enhance the status and professionalism of the role.

The SENCO network will provide a range of modalities for SENCOs to connect, communicate and collaborate with each other across four blended (online and face to face) hubs. Hub 1 is an open and free network where SENCOs can share resources, debate and co-construct knowledge around evidence-based practices. Hub 2 involves paying a subscription to a more extended members’ network that includes opportunities to attend regional and national face-to-face workshops, virtual webinars, collaborative research and inquiry into practice, participation in journal clubs, access to resources and updates on events etc. Hub 3 is a professional learning network where authentic learning within practice can be used as evidence to meet competencies of SENCO practice. These artefacts and evidence of learning can be added to an ePortfolio and these can be digitally badged and used as an alternative form of credentialing learning in practice. This learning is thus individualised, contextualised and authentic, and contributes to the SENCOs ongoing life-long, life-wide and life-deep identity development. Hub 4 is a formal learning network where these alternatively credentialled credits can potentially be bundled together and cross-credited as modules towards a university qualification in Learning Support (LS). This level proves still be be a challenge within existing university structures.

Digital badging and ePortfolios offer a fluid and flexible way for professionals to learn in different contexts and be recognised for the knowledge and skills acquired in these alternative environments. They challenge traditional approaches of teaching and learning and offer innovative alternatives to credit skills and knowledge outside the formal curriculum. These emerging tools also offer the possibility of displaying (ePortfolios) and verifying (digital badging) an achievement, ability or skill. They then become a means of transition from the informal (hubs 1 & 2) to the more formal learning (hubs 3 & 4) context.

Badging and ePortfolios can transform conceptions of learning and provide ways of recognising more diverse learning pathways and opportunities for learners, that can then transition into formal qualifications. Our ‘network of expertise’ approach demonstrates the affordances of open badging and eportfolios as alternative credentials for informal and formal types of learning for SENCOs. We look forward to sharing our ideas, connecting with other similar approaches and addressing the challenges we and others face in creditionalling alternatives.


Designing Badges for student and faculty development

Monica Fedeli, Carlo Mariconda

Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

What do you learn at university? You learn what is set out in the course programme, of course. You learn to study. You often learn a language. Sometimes you learn something that, at first sight, may seem unrelated, but that makes us better members of society, like Basic Life Support. The lecturers learn to better themselves and innovate, day by day, year by year. They put cross-cutting competencies into practice, which will be useful at work and in life.

The University of Padua, with more than 60,000 students and almost 800 years of history behind it, has decided to turn the spotlight on to all these opportunities for learning, which make the university a place for all-round growth. The objects chosen to turn on this light are the Open Badges.

Linguistic eligibility: Open Badges and recognition of study credits

The first experiment involving the students concerns the activities of the University Language Centre: for the TAL (Test of Linguistic Ability) in English Level B1 and B2, which is held in the Language Centre, in computerised form (listening and writing), or in person with a mother tongue teacher (for oral expression), students who pass the test in the University Language Centre receive an Open Badge issued by Bestr, as evidence of the exam passed.

Integration with ESSE3 also enables the student office to recognise the credits automatically, where applicable, and thus save on bureaucratic procedures for the students and the operators.

The awarding of the Open Badges for the language tests has proved reasonably successful, with a percentage of students collecting their Badge equivalent to the average registered in general on the Bestr platform, a fact which is especially relevant, seeing that the students are not obliged to take this step in order to have their credits recognised. Therefore, the students perceive the value of the Badge and the competency it represents, irrespective of the administrative usefulness within the study course.

Teaching4Learning: training of teachers

From the students to the teachers, in-service training is a lifelong process and doubly important when it is a question of educating for educating, sharing good practices of teaching, experimenting with didactic strategies and making lessons more and more engaging and actively attended.

The University working to improve itself is enhanced with these Badges, issued to those teachers who want to take part in the virtuous circle.

Basic Life Support: sensitisation and active civic duty

The University is the place for a person to grow and a citizen to be trained: with a show of great sensitivity, the Paduan University collaborates with the association "Padova fa battere il cuore" (Padua makes the heart beat) in providing its students with a Basic Life Support course, which makes them aware of how each of us, if we are prepared and suitably trained, can really make the difference.

This is a Badge expressing a highly concrete competency, but also the willingness to put oneself to the test, to be active towards the world and the person standing next to us.

Starting on a pathway

The University of Padua has reached the Open Badges “starting from the need to find useful tools to certify the soft skills of the students through cross-cutting activities”: those mentioned are the first Badges, which already map out three clearly distinct paths.

These paths may be extended, developed, expanded step by step, as the experimentation goes on, identifying the activities within the University that may benefit from an innovative certification and stimulating their creation, starting from the opportunity for formal recognition and moving on to involve businesses, as well, which can make their own endorsement of the University Badges that they consider to be representative of useful values in an employment context.

For Bestr and Cineca, this has been an opportunity to develop and refine the way in which the Badges can be integrated into university systems and add value to the Universities and the people who are their heart


Visualising Teamwork Credentials in the Medical Sciences using ePortfolios and Badges as Symbols of Achievement and Skills Recognition

Patsie Polly1, Thuan Thai1,4, Jia-Lin Yang2, Annie Luo1, Cristan Herbert1, Nicole Jones1, Richard Vickery1, Trevor Lewis1, Suzanne Schibeci3

1School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Australia; 2Prince of Wales Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Australia; 3Science Administration Unit, Faculty of Science, UNSW Sydney, Australia; 4School of Education, University of Notre Dame Australia, Australia

How are graduate capabilities such as teamwork visualised and recognised within an undergraduate medical science degree program? This is a question that our team of medical research scientists who are discipline specific higher education teachers at UNSW Sydney collaboratively asked when we embarked on a project to capture and make sense of how our students develop this highly sought after professional skill. Development of informal, co-curricular professional skills and capabilities by undergraduates that are linked to formal academic learning is difficult to capture at the program level within higher education institutions. Feedback from employers, educators and students suggests that the teamwork graduate capability is a key competency, but it is hard for students to prove mastery and equally hard for us as teachers to warrant how that mastery is attained a part of an undergraduate learning experience. In the Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSci) program at UNSW Sydney, a program-wide Comprehensive Teamwork Learning and Assessment (CTLA) model was initiated by aligning assessment tasks longitudinally across the program and transversely across discipline, with particular focus on building teamwork capabilities. This was addressed by combining formal curricular assessment of these tasks by academics and student peers, coupled with co-curricular assessment using self and peer evaluation of teamwork skills awareness and development by students, ePortfolio implementation for reflective practice and a teamwork student satisfaction survey. These CTLA model elements support student reflective practice and awareness of teamwork skills attainment as well as supporting their emerging identity as scientists-in-the-making. In particular, our CTLA model involved tracking, mapping and aligning assessment tasks that built relevant, authentic skills for teamwork and incorporated standards-based criteria that directly addressed teamwork skills development using an adapted Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) VALUE rubric for teamwork; the UNSW Teamwork Skills Development Framework. This process integrated content knowledge and technical skills that articulated with professional skills development across all the medical sciences disciplines. We implemented this system using Workshop UNSW in Moodle for teachers to monitor and students to evaluate teamwork skills progression for themselves and their peers. ePortfolio/reflective blogging using WordPress to document and reflect on their personal-professional development of teamwork skills was implemented as a key part of this approach for raising awareness of attaining the teamwork skill. Student satisfaction was surveyed at the completion of the teamwork assessment tasks across the program. Study outcomes demonstrated the innovative CTLA model and assessment approaches improved teamwork skills awareness and attainment in the medical science program at UNSW. A cross-disciplinary skills awareness and development capture strategy developed as part of a UNSW Innovation Research Project will be presented. The integration of ePortfolio/reflective blogging coupled to the Teamwork Skills Development Framework, for use in the medical science program to evaluate teamwork skills as well as application of the Reflective Rubric UNSW will be discussed. There is scope to implement this mechanism for extracting data across any ePortfolio platform and from a learning management system such as Moodle for application as metadata that sits behind badges as symbols of achievement and recognition of professional skills attainment. A pilot system of badging these teamwork credentials using the Cengage platform will also be discussed. Our approach for measuring informal co-curricular skills attainment when coupled to authentic assessment tasks will be useful across the sciences and indeed other disciplines at higher education institutions.


Digging into Open Badges through a Province-wide Sandbox

Joanne Kehoe

eCampusOntario, Canada

Creating

Support for the growth and expansion of online learning and teaching is central to the mandate of eCampusOntario and its members. In June 2017, eCampusOntario announced an Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting its 45 member post-secondary institutions to participate in an EdTech Sandbox. The aim of the Sandbox is to provide institutions with an opportunity to explore a new set of tools to support technology-enabled learning in a risk-free environment. One of the areas of exploration was around Open Badging through provision of a limited number of institutionally-branded CanCred Factory environments and the new eCampusOntario Passport. CanCred is a Canadian cloud-based open badge management platform for creating, issuing and managing meaningful digital credential systems.

The eCampusOntario Open Badging Sandbox is meant to give Institutions access to explore how, through CanCred Factory and the new eCampusOntario Passport, open badges can be created and employed as recognitions of learning in order to support and extend technology-enabled teaching and learning, particularly in the areas of:

  • Alternative recognition of learning
  • Recognition of prior learning
  • Informal co-curricular learning
  • Skills and knowledge required for transition to work
  • The overall goal of these action-based pilot explorations is to generate a diverse collection of case studies based on hands-on experience in designing and using open badge systems. These case studies will be used to inform future decision-making around potential shared services around open badging that will benefit Ontario’s Post-Secondary Environment.

    Implementing

    Applicants interested in participating in the Open Badges Sandbox were required to submit an Expression of Interest, detailing the following:

  • a description of their proposed Open Badging project, including details on the system goals, the type of learner, the learning environment, and the relevant activities or competencies.
  • their vision for the concept proposed and success indicators
  • a description of who is involved in the badging project and how they propose to communicate and collaborate with learners, colleagues, employers and other stakeholders
  • a plan for evaluating data and communicating value and opportunities for enhancing value of their open badging project.
  • Of the ## applications received through the EOI process, eight participating institutions were identified: Durham College; Fanshawe College; Georgian College; Loyalist College; Ryerson University, University of Waterloo; Western University and York University.

    Through a series of webinars, orientation packages and one-on-one support from eCampusOntario and the CanCred implementation team, each are now developing, issuing and managing their own Institutionally branded badges. All badge data is securely stored on Canadian servers that are compliant with the Mozilla Open Badge standard. A dedicated eCampusOntario Passport was also set up as the common storage and display platform for Open Badges issued by the Factory environments. Badge earners are able to curate their badges in the Passport with other evidence, such as documents, text and embedded media using Pages which can function as micro-portfolios.

    Evaluating

    Although it is early days, initial feedback on this evaluation has been positive. We anticipate gathering and sharing results as they are accumulated through the following required reporting process:

    Project Status Report

    Project Interim Report

    Final Report

    This session will provide attendees with an overview of how you can work to engage your partners in an evaluation project around open badging systems. The Expression of Interest, implementation and support and evaluation and reporting processes will be highlighted. It is our intention that this could be used a model for others in their exploration of open badges with their target groups.

     
    Date: Friday, 27/Oct/2017
    9:30amPR31: Presentation of projects
    Main Room 
     

    Preparing Career Aware Graduates by applying an ISA Model and Integrative Career Development Learning in Science Courses at UNSW Sydney

    Jia-LIn Yang1, Patsie Polly2, Thomas Fath2, Nicole Jones2, John Power2

    1Prince of Wales Clinical School, UNSW Sydney; 2School of Medical Sciences, UUNSW Sydney

    The success of student employability post-graduation is not solely determined by obtaining an academic qualification. Other qualities are also important including: graduate attributes, professional skills and the ability for students to properly package and present their credentials and capabilities. The ISA - Image of potential own career, Self-directed life-long and life-wide learning as well as Assessment and adjustment model was implemented in senior third year science courses at UNSW using ePortfolio pedagogy to raise awareness and develop career relevant skills for undergraduates. The idea was to engage students recognizing their emerging identity and their images of own potential career, carry out a self-directed learning journey to understand and pursue their career goals, and take assessment and adjustment of their studies and get the most from them. We were the first to deliver integrated career development learning (ICDL) in a learner centred ePortfolio (a teaching ePortfolio in Moodle plus student ePortfolios in Mahara) utilising emerging technologies. We have used the internationally recognized assessment tool: Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy (CDMSE) Scale, which seeks to measure the confidence of a student in pursuing their career goals and assess the longitudinal impact of interventions in career development education. We have proposed an ISA model to deliver integrative career development learning (ICDL) in our teaching and research project approaches. The pilot application of ICDL in a cancer sciences course showed that students became significantly more confident in career associated self-efficacy, which formed the basis of the present study which delivered ICDL to students in four 3rd year senior science courses versus a control class across disciplines within the School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Sydney. The goal of our study was to evaluate effects of the ICDL on career associated self-efficacy of students from career-intervention classes that raise student awareness of potential career paths available to them, as well as whether there were observable effects between female and male students in each course, using an international standard career decision making and self-efficacy (CDMSE) score. Study outcomes indicated a significant improvement in the CDMSE scales pre- and post-course within four courses that received ICDL intervention individually or as an intervention group, but not in the control course. The improvement was noticed in either females or males pre- and post-ICDL intervention when analysed in single gender. Males showed slightly better improvement than females at the end of the ICDL intervention. The introduction of this pedagogy and model has proven t be successful in evidencing graduate learning outcomes for improving student confidence in CDMSE. Reflective practice that was integrated with career learning was a key aspect to this approach and facilitated student awareness of their emerging identities as scientists-in-the making. Implementation of ePortfolios to build student identity in the sciences supports them in developing reflective practice, metacognition, digital literacy, career awareness, knowledge of graduate employability and professional identity. Importantly, ePortfolios assist students in higher education to ultimately develop evaluative thinking allowing them to make sense of their learning. Students can then become owners of their professional identity and navigate their way towards future employment.


    OpenAgri: New Skills for new Jobs in Peri-urban Agriculture: Using Open Badges for Urban Innovation

    Chiara Carlino1, Rossana Torri2

    1Cineca, Italy; 2Municipality of Milan

    In the public agenda, food is no more considered just as a commodity or as a nutritional necessity; it is an emerging multidimensional policy challenge, which crosses ecological, social, economic and spatial dimensions. A sustainable and integrated urban approach is needed to deal with the main issues that must be addressed: an inclusive, coherent and reflexive urban-rural food governance system; a more solid social and physical infrastructure to reduce the distance between producers and consumers, and to promote circular economy; reliable markets for quality food producers, resulting in new opportunities for SMEs development; the need for experimenting new forms of entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector, and for creating new jobs and skills.

    OpenAgri is an EU-funded project under the Urban Initiative Actions umbrella, lead by the City of Milan and gathering over 16 partners, from start-up incubators to social enterprises, from agriculture and food innovation experts to universities and technology providers.

    At the core of the project there is an “Open Innovation Hub on Peri-Urban Agriculture”. The Hub will be a physical place, Cascina Nosedo, at the southern border of the city of Milan: with its buildings to be restored and opened to the public, and some acres available for cultivations projects and the like. But the Hub is also an integrated strategy to deliver innovation in existing and newly created nodes of the agri-food value chain, focusing on new skills, training, pilot projects for SMEs and startups ideas.

    The project aims at improving interactions between traditional knowledge holders and other more innovative actors, between local and city-wide realities engaged in product, services or process innovation. It is also expected to foster cross-sector linkages and hybridization between different fields (agriculture, food industry, culture, education…) and actors (SMEs, NGO, PA) with the ultimate aim of testing an innovation-driven inclusive growth model.

    How shall we highlight all the knowledge, skills, competencies that already are within the local territory and its actors, and those who will be created through the virtuous interactions activated by the Innovation Hub? How do we map all this value and make it readable as OpenAgri’s value while giving proper credit to the multiple actors who are cultivating, assessing and endorsing skills? How do we provide lifelong learners who will be engaged in the Hub’s activities with something tangible as a result of their path, of their willingness to get involved and share?

    These needs lead to the engagement in the project of Cineca and its Open Badge platform Bestr. For OpenAgri the Open Badges features on Bestr will be expanded to include Learning Pathways: a learning pathway can be made up of many Badges by different issuers and may or may not lead to a macro-Badge identifying a professional profile or a specialization related to urban and peri-urban agriculture and the agri-food sector in general. The various skills and competencies growing in and around Cascina Nosedo will be mapped, as will be the different – possibly alternative to each other – ways to develop and assess them.

    In this way the different training opportunities, that will arise in OpenAgri, will be matched to Badges and interconnected to form learning pathways that the learners involved in the project will experience, demonstrate and share.

    The main challenge will be the mapping itself: we will deal with competencies varying from soft skills to entrepreneurial skills to very specific domain skills; competencies for which the partners are Learning Providers or Assessment Providers, and competencies still unknown to the partners, which will be brought to the table by the candidates for new projects to be realized at the Hub and for which Learning and Assessment opportunities will have to be found or created.

    We will need a way to master the complexity while letting it express its potential. We’ll need to set boundaries related to the granularity level to which Badges may be meaningful (not too detailed, but not too broad nonetheless), and we need to define processes to let all actors interact fruitfully while maintaining a clear readable and valuable result in the eyes of learners and of the general public.

    The presentation will detail the broader purpose of the project, the challenges expected in the implementation of the project’s competency system through Open Badges and the value that we expect this system will bring to the overall project and the territory.


    Analysis of proposed expansion of TESOL Arabia’s open badge system from simple recognition of participation at face-to-face events to online evidence-based recognition of activities and artefacts that demonstrate application of professional practice

    James Buckingham

    TESOL Arabia, Oman

    Introduction to general context

    The “open badge” project to be presented is in the context of supporting the mission of the Non profit organisation (NPO) - TESOL Arabia (TA) and addressing recent challenges that impact on TA’s programming efforts. TA is an organisation whose mission is to address the professional development (PD) needs of its members, namely EFL teachers, most of whom are based in the UAE but who are also growing numbers in other parts of the Arab Gulf region. It is run by volunteers elected from its membership and is financed by both membership subscriptions and proceeds from its annual international conference and exhibition .

    Impact of change

    TA is facing at least two major challenges - a change in membership profile, and a change in UAE Ministry of Education policy. Both have significant implications for TA programming and by extension, the organization’s badge ecosystem. Membership statistics over recent years reveal a decline in its traditional membership base, UAE teachers, while membership from outside the UAE is trending upwards. The result is that membership growth has plateaued. Yet the bulk of the Organization’s programming efforts - face to face events - remain largely focused on serving the needs of only UAE teachers and participation rates at these events are on the decline, with only one exception - the annual TESOL Arabia conference - where members throughout the Gulf region bolster numbers. Part of the reason for this decline appears to lie in policy changes at the Ministries of Education level in the UAE and other countries in the Gulf region. Up until recently, Ministries of Education had a largely decentralized approach to promoting teacher PD. TA programming helped address much of what was then UAE teacher driven demand for PD programming, and UAE Ministries at least, formally expressed their support for such programming by promoting teacher attendance at TA events and taking a highly visible sponsorship role at the annual conference. At the advice of international organizations, such Ministries are now focusing on improving graduate education results. As a result, Ministries are now taking a more centralized approach to promoting teacher PD which has led to more funding being directed at organizing such PD with higher quality and in-house. These changes have precipitated a rethink of TA’s programming efforts. It is now apparent that they not only meet the PD needs of UAE based TA members but also those in other parts of the Arab Gulf. They also need to be more closely aligned with the new centralized PD programming efforts at the ministry level if TA wishes to garner the same or even greater Ministry of Education support.

    Response to change

    Online instruction strategies are now being pursued by TA as a means of addressing these challenges and “open digital badges” are seen as playing an important role in supporting this initiative. Since their introduction in 2014, “open digital badges” have been used by TA to recognize volunteer participation in TA events, especially the annual TESOL Arabia Conference. Proposed now is expansion of the existing badge ecosystem to include “evidence” based badges that recognize membership engagement in activities that demonstrate application of professional practice. This is more closely aligned with both TA’s fundamental mission and the Ministry of Education policy push to promote higher quality PD. Currently being entertained is the use by members of a basic professional practices framework to document and share their engagement in PD as criteria for earning such badges.

    Challenges in design

    A number of key challenges to realizing this initiative have been identified. Foremost is how to increase the likelihood of its successful implementation. The presentation seeks to evaluate the current plan in terms of recognising/ characteristics common to successful badge programs elsewhere ; reviewing how many of these already exist within TA’s current badge ecosystem; and identifying which characteristics if any should be included in the proposed plan. Equally important is conducting careful review of whether badge criteria should be compliance based (addressing a checklist of preconditions) or competency based (meeting clearly defined standards) or a combination of both. Identified here is a tension between realizing practical badge administration and realizing possible badge endorsement from Ministries of Education in the region.

    Promoting inclusion in the design process

    The presentation also proposes the use of “design thinking” practices as another means to increasing the likelihood of the successful adoption and sustainment of the plan. Such practise invites input from members during the design and implementation stages. This is done with the intent of not only improving the quality of the design, but increasing its ownership and subsequent dissemination.

    Presentation will offer detail on the rationale for the current badge system changes and will welcome discussion on the planned badge initiative, its challenges, and its methods for promoting greater membership inclusion.


    Open Badges in the Higher Education student lifecycle

    Federico Giacanelli

    Cineca, Italy

    Open Badges represent the competencies and results achieved by a person, but their nature of digital objects conforming to a standard and objects that can travel over internet makes them not only a “message” but also an “instrument”.

    They are, in reality, an easily adopted instrument, one that is simple and reliable and enables interoperability and integration between platforms and therefore between organisations and heterogeneous contexts.

    Open Badges represent the standard for Open Recognition of learning achievements, enabling the creation of an Open Recognition ecosystem.

    Cineca supports the Italian universities in digitalising their processes and is providing technological solutions to manage the organisation overall, from internal administrative processes to those of management of Research and Teaching, as well as all the processes regarding the student. Cineca is, therefore, one of the stakeholders who are called upon “to establish a trustworthy system of human and machine verifiable learning credentials and to adopt open standards facilitating the comparability and transferability of learning credentials” (Open Recognition Declaration, second action).

    In 2015 Cineca set up Bestr, the first Italian digital platform to exploit Open Badges for enhancing lifelong and lifewide learning. Over the two years since then, Cineca has published more than 450 Badge Classes from more than 70 organisations and set up various scenarios and use cases typical of the university world. These use cases have led to an organic view of the Bestr platform and the Open Badges relative to university processes and their implementation has been based on the integration of different systems (LMS, SIS and others) through the use of open standards for the exchange of events and data.

    In 2018 Cineca and the Universities in a consortium decided to focus development of the Bestr platform on the life cycle of the university student and identify the six core stages that make it up: Orientation, Admission and enrolment, Exams, Acquisition and recognition of study credits, Conferral of the degree, Alumni.

    This operation will have two aims. The first concerns the students directly and is that of exploiting Open Badges at every single step in the life of the university student, to increase the value of the competencies and results achieved. The second concerns the University and is that of exploiting Open Badges to digitalise or improve internal processes.

    The first use case allowing us to focus on the student life cycle concerned the stage of acquisition and recognition of study credits. Since the end of 2016 Bestr allows the consortium universities to exploit Open Badges as an instrument for recognising competencies and results achieved by students in formal credits: extracurricular activities, language certificates, periods of external mobility, activities carried out with companies and external organisations or on-line activities supplied by other organisations can be automatically converted - “monetarised” by a University, making use of endorsing and the capability of the Student Information System to handle Open Badges and attribute a value to each Open Badge in terms of formal credits.

    In 2017, the University of Milan Bicocca proposed a second use case connected with the process of “Degree Conferral”. In this case the Open Badges have been exploited to represent and certify automatically (thanks to integration with SIS) Open Badges representing a university study certificate. In this accomplishment, as well as the Open Badge standard, the xAPI standard was also exploited, to enable the SIS to transmit to Bestr the event of conferral of the degree and a set of outcomes (for example, grades, date) and evidence (for example, title of thesis, abstract of thesis) that give better communication of the value of the Open Badge conferred.

    To deal with new use cases regarding the other stages of the student life cycle, Cineca has defined a series of further new scenarios and identified actors, aims solutions that look on Open Badges as a key instrument for digitalisation or improvement of university processes and for implementing new forms of Open Recognition.

    These scenarios have been shared with the Universities in the consortium, so that they can used them as a tool for exploring and understanding the specific real needs of each University and then pass on to an implementation stage.

    The paper will describe the scenarios already implemented and those proposed by the Italian universities, providing an example of a possible application for these.

     

     
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