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Thursday, 26/Oct/2017:

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ePortfolio and Open Badges: Longlife 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.


[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.


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

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.

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