Sunday, December 21, 2014

Introducing Participatory Professional Development

by Rebecca Itow 
cross-posted at Join the conversation here.

This post introduces a new model of professional development that leverages teachers' existing experiences, understandings, and beliefs about knowledge and learning to help them adapt and integrate new practices into their courses. This is the first in a series of posts outlining Participatory Professional Development.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Call for Papers and Demonstrations: Open Badges in Education at LAK15

by James Willis and Dan Hickey

Along with Jelena Jovanovic (University of Belgrade, Serbia) and Steven Lonn (University of Michigan), we are organizing the 2nd International Workshop on Open Badges in Education (OBIE 2015) in conjunction with the 5th annual International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK15) in Poughkeepsie, New York (March 16-20, 2015). The call for papers and demonstrations is now open. **Update: Deadline extended to Friday, January 23, 2015**

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The First Instance of Issuing Open Badges in Open edX

By James Willis and Dan Hickey

We are happy to announce that our collaboration to build the first instance of open digital badges in Open edX is a success. This week the group presented the first digital badges in Lorena Barba's MOOC at the Open edX conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This collaboration features the hard work of Lorena Barba and her team, IBL Studios, Achievery, and the CRLT at Indiana University.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Digitial Badges Report from the Alliance for Excellent Education

By Gina Howard and James Willis 

We are excited to share our recent recognition on the first page of the new Alliance for Excellent Education report, Digital Badge Systems: The Promise and Potential by Kamila Thigpen. The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national organization that focuses on ensuring all students have an equal opportunity at graduating from high school and having the necessary preparation to succeed in college, work, and citizenship. Based out of Washington, DC, the organization focuses on developing and implementing federal and national policies that, “support effective high school reform and increased student achievement and attainment.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

The "Design Knowledge Evaporation Problem" and the Design of Complex Digital Badge Systems

By Dan Hickey
I am crunching out the final report of the Open Badges Design Principles Document Program and it pushed me to dig more deeply into the research on "knowledge evaporation" in the design of complex software architectures.  It makes me wonder if current efforts to build badges into the larger, more complex learning management systems are about to run into the wall that complex software systems always run into.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fostering a Self-Sustaining Professional Learning Community in Online Professional Development

by Rebecca C. Itow
Since 2011, I have been studying ways to help teachers adopt and adapt new practices that value learners’ experience and expertise as they explore new concepts. Often, this necessitates that teachers find ways to reconcile their experience and existing beliefs about knowledge & learning with the underlying assumptions of the new practices so that they can be worked into curricular designs. In Spring 2013, an opportunity arose to redesign the English Language Arts (ELA) courses of a university-run online high school. While the high school was ranked the #2 online high school in the United States, they wanted to update their pedagogy both to attend to the push to foster connected learning in participatory spaces and address accreditors’ concerns about their use of a correspondence model. Dan Hickey suggested I take on this task, enabling me to aid the school in redesigning their courses and to realize the potential of the research I had been doing for the last two years.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Open Digital Badges: Recognizing, Assessing, and Motivating Learning in the DPD Project

by Katerina Schenke, James Willis, and Dan Hickey

As the Design Principles Documentation team analyzes the project data from 30 digital badge projects awarded funding in the 2012 DML 4: Badges for Lifelong Learning Completition, certain principles and practices emerge as being successful or overly challenging. This post highlights the three most successful and challenging principles and practices in recognition, assessment, and motivation

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Open Badges Laboratory: Collaboration with Vitrine Technologie Education

by James Willis and Dan Hickey

We are pleased to announce that we were invited to lead an online Open Badges Laboratory with Charles Tsai, the Director for Learning Networks for Ashoka Canada, and Don Presant, the President of Learning Agents. This collaboration is hosted by Vitrine Technologie Education (VTE) based in Quebec, Canada. The first lab will kick-off on Thursday, October 23rd; the registration form is here. Registration in the lab is free of charge.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recent Digital Badges Literature and the Digital Archive

By James Willis 

Two recent contributions to the growing scholarly literature on digital badges strengthen the case for rethinking educational micro-credentialing. The proliferation of digital badges across numerous divergent and interconnected ecosystems certainly warrants scholarly attention. In particular, these papers highlight the importance of digitally-stable, educational artifacts.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Collaboration with Lorena Barba's Python MOOC and Open edX

By James Willis and Daniel Hickey

In this post, we discuss a new collaboration between Dr. Lorena Barba and her team at George Washington University, Open edX, IU's Center for Research on Learning and Technology, and IBL Studios. This collaboration will implement digital badges in Dr. Barba's new MOOC, "Practical Numerical Methods with Python."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nate Moves On; James Moves In

By Daniel Hickey
This week is a momentous one for the Open Badges projects housed at Indiana's Center for Research on Learning and Technology. Nate Otto, who has served as coordinator for the Design Principles Documentation Project, is leaving for an outside opportunity. To fill this role, a new team member, James Willis is joining the project as it winds down, and he will be heading up the BadgeKit and Beyond project that is now getting underway.

This post is one way of expressing my thanks to Nate and wishing him well, and introducing James Willis to our many collaborators

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Project: Open Badges in Open edX and Beyond

by Daniel Hickey
This post introduces our newest project with open digital badges.  The project got quietly underway in July 2014 with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning initiative. We are actively seeking collaborators and are in a position to help innovators in higher ed who want to implement open digital badges and other related digital innovations.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Of Course Alfie Kohn Dislikes Open Digital Badges: Transcending a 40-Year Old Debate

By Daniel Hickey
Serge Ravet just posted the recordings of Alfie Kohn’s virtual keynote address at the July 2014 e-Portfolio, Open Badges, and Identity Conference (EPIC), along with my response and some audience Q & A. Not surprisingly, Alfie had many concerns with digital badges being used as "extrinsic rewards." This post provides some background on this this crucial issue for the growing open badges movement.  I conclude with eight arguments against Alfie’s position on badges.  These arguments will be elaborated in the final report of the Design Principles Documentation Project (late September) and then in a formal empirical paper with Cathy Tran and Katerina Schenke.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MIT Report Questions the Fitness of the Course as the Organizational Metaphor for Higher Learning

Today saw the release of a 213 page report (PDF) from a cross-disciplinary MIT task force investigating the future of MIT Education, which makes 16 recommendations, including to further a commitment to innovation in pedagogy. The Chronicle of Higher Education today picked up on a key component of that innovation, a recommendation to explore "modularity" in the delivery of online learning environments, which could extend to experimentation in the classroom as well: Are Courses Outdated? MIT Considers Offering 'Modules' Instead.  

The question underlying the MIT task force's recommendation is whether a "course" as an organizing metaphor for learning continues to be appropriate in a landscape that sees as low as 5% MOOC completion rates.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Participation in the First Assessment BOOC at Indiana University: A Unique Learning Experience

 Marina was a student of mine in 2003-2004 at the University of Georgia.  She worked with me on a project that provided the core theories behind the participatory approaches to motivation and assessment that eventually formed the Participatory Learning and Assessment design research framework used to create the BOOC.  I asked her to write about her experiences.  Dan Hickey

Monday, May 5, 2014

Major Highlights of the 2013 Educational Assessment BOOC

by Tara Kelley and Dan Hickey

This post summarizes the high levels of engagement and learning that occurred in the Big Open Online Course (BOOC) on Educational Assessment in fall 2013.  The course will be offered again during summer 2014, starting May 13.  You can earn a certificate, digital badge, credit, or even just learn.  For more information and to register, visit here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

AERA 2014 Sessions on Digital Badges

by Christine Chow

Several of my colleagues in the world of open digital badges are heading to the AERA conference April 4-6 in Philadelphia. It looks like there’s a great program of sessions lined up, including some interesting research on digital badges. Here’s a rundown of the badges sessions at the conference.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Gold Standard of Education

Nate Otto, the project coordinator for the Open Badges Design Principles Documentation Project posted a nicely detailed post about credit hours at  It covers some important ground for RMA readers.  He quotes a 2012 report by Amy Laitinen that points out that while universities continue to be organized around credit hours, they routine refuse to refuse transfer credits from other institutions.  This is a complex issue and there are certainly related issues of keeping tuition flowing for large undergrad courses.  But is a great point.  Check it out!