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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 — Open Badges 101: Create your own badge
Session Chair: Tania Martinelli

This session is designed for the Open Badge beginners. You will learn:

  • What are Open Badges?
  • How to create your own badge?
  • How to endorse a badge?
Breakout Session Room 
2:30pmWorkshop - Open Badges 102: Create your badge ecosystem (1)

During this second session, teams will be built to start working on the design to inform the development of mockups to demonstrate the potential capabilities of Open Badge applications. If you think that we should create a competitor to LinkedIn, don't be shy, use the collective intelligence of the participants and your design could become the next big thing!

Breakout Session Room 
Breakout Session Room 
Date: Thursday, 26/Oct/2017
Session Chair: Serge Ravet
Breakout Session Room 

GROWBIT - the zero blockchain interface

Alessandro Aglietti, Domenico Gemoli


The aim of the project is to give all students the unique opportunity to enhance and make transparent and accessible to the global society their lifelong and lifewide learning achievements.

In order to achieve this goal the project needs to primarily educate students on to the use of blockchain which has been identified as qualifying technology to certify student acquisition of specific learning skills and also to simplify and strengthen the trust of academic and business entities towards students.

The project leverages cutting-edge technologies like blockchain to propose an innovative approach for credential "self-check" while also enriching and enhancing the existing ecosystem of digital certifications. Indeed, existing entities in rapid growth like BADG, .BESTR, IQC and Mozilla Open Badge are already supporting primary academic institutions in providing digital certifications to their students.

The aim of the project is to transform a student private digital certification, for example a certification received by an academic institution, into a “self-checkable” information which can be publicly accessed by third parties thanks to the unchangeable evidence written on the public blockchain.

One of the key features is that evidence written into the blockchain does not violate student’s privacy, while at the same time leaving to anyone the ability to access metadata associated to certifications, in opposition of what nowadays we should need to expose if it was a public and centralized service. In our platform students can choose which information are public (and of course which are not), so they can be reached by academic institutions or companies while keeping a custom level of privacy.

The project works as an intermediary between students and badge issuers by creating an immediate access to blockchains for them, proposing an open architecture to guarantee the data continuity of Lifelong & LifeWide learning achievements.

Trustability and immutability of informations made availables by the platform (through the blockchain technology) does not favour academic world exclusively: without the need of a central authority, students can use public metadata to identify similar profile, facilitating the generation of new models of social connections and entrepreneurship.

The project is a unique opportunity not only for students to certify their learning path and core skills but also for the whole society to support both meritocracy and collective growth. The result is a social enrichment of the citizenship facilitated by creating awareness of its value for the citizen and from qualified support to institutions and businesses.

There is a monetary cost related to writing on blockchain: we doesn’t allow the students nor the issuers to pay these costs. We are going to create capital through crowdfunding, investors, sponsors and philanthropists, which guarantee this proposition.

Enabling students by now to use blockchains and allowing them to use it for self-notarising the owned OpenBadges, we are laying the foundations for a paradigm shift in metadata management not only on a technological level but above all on the social layer and entrepreneurial environment by providing future avant-garde skills to the next generation citizens.

Considering that the next few years will be decisive in developing solutions that allow you to write metadata on blockchains, the strategic importance of a project like this lies in creating an independent and non-profit service for the notarialization of Lifelong & LifeWide learning achievements on blockchain.

ePIC is a platform that a project like this needs to validate the assumptions taken, enrich the own vision with feedbacks and share the development path thus defining a new long term vision for develop solutions in the “Alternative Credentials - Credentialing Alternatives” enviroment.

Using an ePortfolio tool to underpin an institutional employability award at Durham University

Donna Hay, Tim Ellis

Durham University, United Kingdom

In January this year, Durham University launched a new 3 tier employability award to over 9000 students. From October, this will be introduced to an additional 3,500 incoming students. The Durham Award has three stages that encompass the whole student lifecycle from the transition into an academic department, the journey through university life and the transition into work or further study. This work was instigated to address one main issue – students not recognising the skills they are developing during their time at university or the value of their experience and activities.

The Durham Award is delivered using Pebblepad – an ePortfolio tool. PebblePad was purchased to facilitate the efficient deployment and management of the award at scale. The software provides students with a private reflective space for recording, tracking and maintaining their personal development activities and three structured workbooks to complete the Durham Award. The first element of the Award asks students to reflect on their discipline specific skills within their department. The second stage requires students to keep track and evidence their extracurricular activities, work experience and volunteering experience. The final part of the Award requires students to develop a showcase portfolio.

Using an online eportfolio tool has also helped us to engage with multiple stakeholders through the university. We are working with 26 departments and 16 colleges to help deliver the Durham Award to all undergraduate students at Durham. Relevant staff across the University including Academic Advisors, College tutors and mentors, and Careers Centre staff are able to provide feedback on completed sections of the workbook.

We will be discussing the journey that we have been on to get to this stage, and what still lies ahead. We have discovered what PebblePad can and cannot do and identified how we can make the product work for us and what we want to achieve. We have learnt some valuable lessons relating to how we can efficiently manage an extremely large number of users across a large number workspace and groups within the software.

We will also share what we have encountered in terms of supporting users of Pebblepad, both staff and students, and what we can learn from how they have engaged with the product. We are working with a huge diverse range of staff across the University to help run and validate the different components of the award and are relying on their input. We will discuss how we are managing this process and how we are ensuring consistency whilst providing a certain amount of flexibility to satisfy the diverse needs of the different stakeholders.

Finally, we will be looking to the future and how this project might look in a years’ time and what opportunities and challenges we still face. Metrics, impact and learning gain are all increasing in prominence across the Higher Education sector in the UK and departments are looking at ways of understanding how their students are progressing through their time at university. We are just beginning on a journey of using an ePortfolio tool at Durham to underpin students’ extracurricular activities, volunteering, and work experience, but we are looking forward to see what other opportunities might present themselves.

Soft Skills in the Management world -The role of Digital Badges

Marcello Bogetti

SAA School of Management - University of Turin

What we are witnessing are a series of phenomena that are deeply changing the labour market and the educational and training systems.

A gradual weakening of the ability of Educational system and the potential crisis of credentials. An increasing importance of the informal dimension of learning, in particular linked to:

  • The role of so-called soft skills, in other words social behaviours, habits and ways of being
  • The role of non-formal learning opportunities, both within the formal training structures and in the unintended learning contents, that contribute to learn and acquire of skills, soft in particular, but also practical (hard).

The centrality of the theme of competencies, as concrete "knowing how-to-do something" or "knowing how to show a certain behavior". As a consequence, the growing importance of evidence of such capabilities, explicit, observable, evaluable and therefore improvable, within paths not necessarily formal and institutional.

The decisive role of relational systems and thus of social capital into the recruitment processes, in terms of:

  • Importance of the referral system, that rely on the referrer capability to replace somehow the role of formal certification of the competencies the referee owns, especially the soft ones, or to be more reliable and credible.
  • The importance of endorsements and the reliability of their process, the crucial role that play social networks and the ”strength of weak ties” within them, the role of trust.

At the same time on the labour market, the traditional separation between primary market, made up of stable jobs, job positions, professional profiles - and secondary, precarious and occasional market, is losing significance and impermeability.

Likewise, immense social challenges, such as the issue of migration and mobility of millions of people, point out dramatic effect on educational and training systems. The need is to identify their level of knowledge and the types of skills that can be useful to the success of the integration process, both social and professional, formal and indeed informal. Migrants also need to become aware of their potential in relation to the new labour market they have to approach.

Digital Open Badges are the current trending proposal as “common currency” to define skills, competencies and achievements. They are usually issued against an evidence. Emerging technology like blockchain allows to create a decentralized digital “Competence Ledger”, where transactions are referred to by the recordings of skills acquired.

All these facts have led us to decide on how to initiate concrete experiments with Open Badges and Blockchain applied to the recognition of skills, especially informal ones.

The strategic goal is to try to create processes, methodologies and IT tools able to combine rigorous process of skills assessment, informal recognition, social network based reputation systems, to go beyond the value of formal recognition of educational and educational systems. The aim is to contribute to create a “Decentralized Competence Assessment Ecosystem” distributed, sharing same rules about the assessment and accreditation process, as well as the tools and the methodologies applied. Minimum criteria - without wich the badges would have no value in the job market - must be defined.

To do this we started a pilot project in which we have developed process, methodology and evaluation tools that we have applied experimentally to some of the soft skills that are objective of specifics activities inside of our undergraduate course in management, dedicated to learn these competencies and realized by a team of coachers. We have tested a method of assessment based on evidences on the basis of which results a badge of different level is issued, according to the degree of evidence of the behaviors that demonstrate the acquisition of these skills. Next steps will be to extend the experiment to other competencies, both soft and hard, but of meta-level. At the same time, we conducted a social network analysis on all of our students to understand how the informal peer mechanisms recognizes the degree of leadership. The aim is to try to understand how formal and reputational assessment could work together and ow to balance them. We want to avoid the risk of simply reproduce the current formal approach in a different way, but at the same time to avoid to lose rigor and trustworthiness, without which the Badges may be marginalized and overwhelmed by the consolidated mainstream.

In the next months, we are launching similar experiments applied to the field of recognition of past competencies of asylum seekers, where we are going to explore how to apply blockchain technology in order to create a portable “Competence ledger”; to the skills acquired in volunteering activities of young people seeking job, issuing a Badge.

With IQC and other stakeholders, we are defining a generalizable method in order to produce guidelines for the Badges that we'll create so to share a commune ground of information for our communities of practice.

4:30pmOpen Recognition Networks — OB Challenges (4)

Key challenge: how to make learners, individuals and citizens the builders of Open Recognition Networks?

Statement: Current recognition systems are structured around the individual. In contrast, Open Recognition Networks are structured around a shared community space and common context of goals and badges, where social understanding can develop and grow. Open Recognition Networks can be a place where badges and endorsements are created and understood. They can serve as an interface between a community and web services that server that community.

Questions: How do people construct their identity in relation to others in a community? How can we build meaningful visual representations from Open Badges, Open Endorsements and other verifiable claims that are more meaningful because they exist in a community? How can these representations enable reflection and action? How do they contribute to one’s identity construction? How do they facilitate the emergence of bottom-up recognition systems?

Use cases:

  • Community of practice: visualising the status of members (expert, apprentice, etc.)

  • Reputation-based recruitment services

  • Recognition of prior learning

Related challenges:

  • Communication

  • Employment connections

  • Mapping

  • History/timeline

  • Statistics: density, rate of endorsements, growth in badges, etc.

  • Events

More details here


Breakout Session Room 
Date: Friday, 27/Oct/2017
9:30amWorkshop - Open Recognition Network and Social Capital Representation - OB Challenges (5)

During this session we will look at two particular challenges: Open Recognition Networks and Social Capital Representation. This will be introduced by a presentation of a regional initiative, Badgeons la Normandie, which is confronted to those issues.

3. Open Recognition Networks

Key challenge: how to make learners, individuals and citizens the builders of Open Recognition Networks?

Statement: Current recognition networks are dominated by institutions of formal education. Already in the first version of the Open Badge infrastructure it was implicit that only institutions had the right to recognise learning while learners only had the right to be recognised by institutional authorities. Elementary informal recognition statements, Open Endorsements, can be combined with Open Badges and other verifiable claims to elicit recognition networks.

 6. Social Capital Representation

Key challenge: how to provide individuals, communities and organisation with dynamic representations of the assets composing their social capital?

Statement: the assets of a person is represented by the things they own and have produced, the trust they have endorsed and given. Open Badges and Open Endorsements are a means to provide a tangible representation of those assets that make it possible to provide some kind of tangible measurement of the social capital of person or a group.

Breakout Session Room 

"Badgeons la Normandie" — Using Open Badges to develop a Learning Region

Philippe Petitqueux

DRAAF de Normandie, France

April, 6th 2017, the actors of agricultural education and the farming profession of the Normandie region called for a regional partnership to explore the potential of Open Badges to build a learning territory. They made a launch statement presenting their common goals : - Facilitating the recognition and valorisation of skills and learning, formal and informal; - Preparing learners for lifelong learning; - Identifying emerging skills, connecting them with the job market; - Implementing digital tools to foster the learner’s ability to act autonomously. After a few months of hard work and a lot of communication, they want to present their first results. Their presentation will focus on the strategy they decided to enforce to bring together individuals, institutions, associations and organisations working in education and training, employment and social integration in Normandy. A focus will also be made on the functions of Open badges they want to use : - badges as connectors - badges for making visible informal recognition - badges to valorize individuals or communities of practice and the services and digital tools they wish to develop to foster the adoption of Open badges. You can read their launch of statement and call for interest here : Badgeons la Normandie [http://www.badgeonslanormandie.fr/?page_id=230]

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