I’ve been familiar with the basic concepts around the use of open badges for a while now but I have to admit that they hadn’t really grabbed my attention front and centre until, that is, I got my first badge almost by accident yesterday. Let’s just say it was an aha moment.
Now, as an aside, let me say that this course was one of the best pieces of online learning that I have ever undertaken. The use of video explanations coupled with interactive exercises is extremely well done. The explanations are perfectly pitched. The technology used is powerful but seamless. In short, I loved it and I learnt a lot that will improve the way I code.
When I’d completed the course I was reviewing my details when I noticed that there was an option to add my course to Mozilla Open Badges. Of course I clicked the button, authenticated and was taken to the open badges site and there was my badge. I dragged it into a group that I’ve decided to call Technical Badges and clicked on the share button.
You can see my badge in my backpack on open badges. I also shared it to my Linked In profile. This morning I installed the WP Badge Display widget for WordPress and now you can see my badge displayed on my blog (it’s on the right).
I have to say that my feelings where of enormous pleasure at finishing my course and being able to display that quickly and easily. It also made me very eager to get get another badge to add to my collection. If feelings like this can be engendered in someone as notoriously cynical as me then that’s a pretty powerful reaction.
My other immediate thoughts were of the implications for higher education. I know lots of people with more experience in open badges than me have already written a lot on this but my my immediate reaction is that open badges will become increasingly popular as more providers offer them (that’s fairly obvious) . I also suspect that traditional higher education providers will resist providing them because they don’t fit in with traditional academic perceptions of achievement and credentialling. This means that non traditional providers will step in to provide that service. They’ll be doing that anyway for other reasons.
It’s interesting that the reaction to open badges from senior academic managers is often to dismiss them as being child like and akin to collecting a badge for sewing at scouts. It’s often extremely difficult to understand the power of badges until you’ve actually been through the process and got one yourself.
I’d encourage all of you to have a go at a course with a provider that gives you an open badge. It’ll be a real eye opener.