Friday, September 18, 2015

The Possibilities and Challenges of Dual Enrollment for Assessment and Beyond

By Dan Hickey
My colleague James Willis was kind enough to introduce me to Emily Swafford who is the Programs Manager at the American History Association.  I emailed Emily about our several promising forays into history education, including our work with Chris Hitchcock to develop new participatory online courses at Indiana University High School and our initial discussion of the Dual Enrollment courses supervised by Indiana University's Advance College Project.  It just so happens that the current issue of the AHA's news magazine Perspectives on History just published a timely special issue on dual enrollment that was full of ideas we care about here at RMA.  In particular, it illustrated the complex challenges that emerge for assessment around dual enrollment in general and in particular when states mandate things like DE and get directly involved in school curricula.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Resource and Repository for Open Badges

by James Willis

We are pleased to announce a repository for open badges projects, articles, case studies, and links to additional resources. Our website, Open Badges in Higher Ed, has launched and is now searchable on Google and other web browsers. This site is an on-going effort by the collaborators of the OBHE project at Indiana University.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Calculus PLAnet: Promising First steps in Participatory Supplemental Instruction in Mathematics

by Suraj Uttamchandani, Tristan Tager, and Daniel Hickey

We discuss our recent pilot of networked online approaches for providing supplemental instruction for learners in Calculus. This work responds to the raging debate over how to respond to underprepared college entrants who are at high risk for failing "gateway" introductory courses, particularly in STEM and composition. Placing such students in remedial Developmental Education (DE) courses generates tuition revenue and fits within the existing course structure. But decades of research show that this approach does not work and that many of these student never move from this "remedial ghetto" into credit-bearing courses, and fewer still go on to graduate. Most now argue for providing peer-assisted Supplemental Instruction (SI) to support all students in challenging gateway courses. But because SI does not generate tuition, it draws from existing instructional resources. Additionally, SI requires space, scheduling, and supervision that many schools struggle to sustain. In this blog post we introduce an alternative approach to supplemental instruction that draws from recent advances on participatory and networked approaches to online learning.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Digital Badges on Resumes and College Applications

by James Willis 

Our recent article, "Where Badges Work Better," published as an ELI Brief in July 2015 by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative as a different version, notes the difficulty in getting organizations to value badges. Translating badges to real-world outcomes like obtaining employment or entry into college is one of the next major goals of open digital badge development. This is no small task: even as badges have gained traction in educational technology, they remain a bit more remote to businesses and some college admissions departments. The Sprout Fund, a Pittsburgh, PA-based organization that "supports innovative ideas that are catalyzing change...making our community a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family" is helping move badges into the workplace and college admissions practices.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Digital Badges and the Workplace: Some Recent Resources

by James Willis 

The use and interest in open digital badges continues to grow. This is especially true for the workplace. Seen as dynamic evidence of learning and skills, badges are becoming better known and accepted by employers. This trend is expected to continue as badges become better understood in the wider conversation of credentialing and in alternative models like competency-based education. I've gathered some recent articles (with links) that discuss badges in the workplace.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Connecting Students and Teachers with Open Digital Badges

by James Willis, Dan Hickey, and John Foster*

John Foster, Ph.D. (guest blogger) is President/CEO of NOCTI and its subsidiary, Nocti Business Solutions

The Open Badges in Higher Education project is collaborating with a number of entrepreneurs who are expanding into digital badges. Recognizing prior learning assessment (PLA) has been difficult to work into the curricula of numerous programs. This is due to a number of reasons which may include lack of uniformity, difficulty of assessment, and inability to situate prior learning into an existing curriculum. That is not to say, however, that learning hasn't happened. As those who work to connect prior learning, alternative credentialing, and skills assessment can attest, prior learning can provide compelling evidence for learner capability in job and academic skills.

Friday, June 19, 2015

IBL Studios Issues an Open Source Badging Platform

by James Willis

We worked with Michael Amigot at IBL Studios in a previous project to launch the first instance of open badges in Open edX in Lorena Barba's Python MOOC at George Washington University. The code to issues badges is now available at GitHub as an open source tool for those interested in issuing their own Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI)-compliant badges. IBL designed this to be "[a] platform to award your own institution's badges. The badges you create and earn with this server are compatible with the specifications of the OpenBadges project."

Friday, June 12, 2015

3600 US Cerfication Bodies Lacking Third Party Validation

By Dan Hickey
Lumina Foundation just released a report with some surprising data about the manner in which most of the bodies that award professional certification validate their credentials.  Make me wonder if all of the concern over validity of badges and other evidence-rich digital credentials is focused too narrowly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Is Self-Paced Participatory Learning Possible?

by Suraj Uttamchandani and Daniel Hickey

In this post, we discuss current efforts to offer the flexibility of self-paced learning with the interactive social engagement of participatory learning. We describe two new features in the Big Open Online Course (BOOC) on Educational Assessment that allow current learners to interact with prior learners and let learners proceed at their own pace.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Competency-Based Education, Badges, and Professional Development

by Benjamin Roome (guest blogger) and James Willis 

*Benjamin Roome, Ph.D., is Chief Product Officer for Badge List and Ethics Consultant at Ethical Resolve

While competency-based education (CBE) has been around for many years, a number of forces are now advancing CBE to the forefront of the educational reform. Major initiatives include the U.S. Department of Education, the Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others. This, in turn, is transforming how students, institutions, and employers think about education. Moving away from the traditional metric of “seat time,” proponents of CBE suggest representing learning through the lens of specific competencies. This has re-ignited a debate that has been simmering for decades, which helps highlight one of the many ways digital badges may serve educational reform more broadly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

2015 Learning Impact Awards Announced!

by Gina Howard and James Willis

This year saw the 9th annual worldwide Learning Impact Awards competition put on by IMS Global Consortium. The Learning Impact Awards program encourages and recognizes the exploration and use of technology in diverse contexts within educational institutions where observable and measurable results have been achieved. A panel of expert evaluators select the winners using a series of rubrics to evaluate eight dimensions for improving teaching and learning impact. Given the recent partnership between IMS and Mozilla Open Badge, we were pleased to see that badges were central to the efforts of at least one of the winners.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hollywood Airbrush Tanning Academy Issues Digital Badges

By Dan Hickey
My web crawler just picked up an intriguing new use of open badges as digital credentials for workplace competencies.  Hollywood Airbrush Tanning Academy partnered with Credly to offer digital badges for their graduates.  It was interested enough that I called Academy owner Simone Emmons to learn more. Sure enough, this example highlights some key points about alternative digital credentials.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

IMS Global Seeks Members for Its Newest Initiative with Mozilla Foundation

By Gina Howard and James Willis 

On April 21, 2015, the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS/ IMS Global) announced the creation of the IMS Digital Credentialing Initiative. This new initiative will aim to accelerate the adoption, integration, and transferability of digital credentials and badges in schools, institutions, and corporations. With this new initiative, they are now seeking to form a group of IMS Digital Credentialing charter members.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Amanda Opperman on Competency-Based Badging

by Gina Howard and James Willis

In a recent meeting with Amanda Opperman, a blogger for Wonderlic, James Willis and Dan Hickey discussed the implications of awarding competency-based, open digital badges in the evolving workplace. Wonderlic is a private company that has been offering businesses and schools with a comprehensive library of assessments and surveys for each phase of the hiring and student selection process for the last 75 years. Wonderlic is beginning to explore the potential of competency-based, open digital badges associated with their assessments of vocational competencies, starting with criminal justice and health care.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MOUSE Badges: Learning from Successful Projects

by James Willis and Gina Howard

As we finalize the soon-to-be published Design Principles Documentation (DPD) findings, we would like to highlight one particularly successful project: MOUSE. Marc Lesser, Education Director at MOUSE, recently posted an insightful blog entry, Why We Badge: Five reasons we set out to design a digital badging system for learners at MOUSE five years ago. Highlighting some of Lesser's points, we also can discuss what the DPD team found to be true about the MOUSE badging system.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Impacting Teacher Leanring through PPD and TPCK

by Rebecca C. Itow

On Friday, I gave a talk on this paper at the SITE conference in Las Vegas on the relationship between Participatory Professional Development and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK). Generally, I asserted that all of these innovations in technology are changing the ways learners interact with information, learning environments, their teachers, and each other. They are more connected – to everything – which means that we need to reenvision our understandings of what learning environments look like, how to design for them, and what counts as “engagement” and “learning” within them. However, this also means that we need to reenvision what professional development looks like and the ways in which it presents new information to teachers so that they can learn how to design for and teach  in these new environments. 

Read more here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Few Recent Badges Publications

by James Willis 

It's wonderful to see open digital badges research expanding rapidly. We have a brief list (with links) of recent papers that might be of interest to those studying badges. This is one effort our new project, Open Badges in Higher Education.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Open Badges at SXSWedu

by James Willis 

SXSWedu, one of the premiere educational technology conferences, will be held in a few weeks (March 9 - 12). With a very full schedule, we are happy to see several prominent panel discussions on open badges.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

OERu, Open Education, and Digital Badges

by James Willis

Open Educational Resources (OERu) is a network of schools dedicated to the goals of educating anyone with internet access and a desire to learn. Bringing together institutions from around the world, OERu offers free educational opportunities and low-cost assessments for potential academic credit. A recent news release by the Open University promotes Badged Open Courses.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Collaboration with Badge List

by James Willis and Daniel Hickey

In our continuing efforts to help facilitate open digital badges in higher education, we are looking forward to expanding our set of collaborators to include Badge List. We met with Benjamin Roome, one of the co-founders, to establish how we might coordinate our efforts.  Our initial goal is working towards an API to integrate with the learning management system, Canvas, in time for courses this summer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The OBHE Project is Seeking Collaborators

By Daniel Hickey
I am on my way to the Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy in San Antonio.  This event is hosted by UPCEA (University Professional and Continuing Education Association) and the American Council on Education.  Lawrence Ragan is chairing a panel discussion on open digital badges.  Mike Palmquist from Colorado State and Jason Fish from Purdue are on the panel and that should be a big draw as they are doing really interesting stuff.

I was happy to be invited because I think that the Summit will be a good place to find potential collaborators for the new Open Badges in Higher Education project.  As I elaborate below, my team is funded for two years to support people who are getting innovative badge systems operational in higher education.  We can offer quite a bit in terms of getting systems up and running, and documenting progress and projects in our open case library.