January 29, 2013 - Badges in Higher Education

The Transformation Imperative: Could alternative forms of credentialing transform the college degree? Badges in Higher Education

Panel discussion moderated by Provost Randy Swearer
12.20-2.15 pm, Kanbar Performance Space

Kevin Carey, Director of Education Policy Program, New America Foundation, Washington DC 
Emily Goligoski, Design and Community Manager, Mozilla Open Badge System 
Joanna Normoyle, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Agricultural Sustainability Institute, University of California - Davis
Kyle Bowen, Director of Informatics, Purdue University

The panel presents the concept of badges and new forms of credentialing that recognize learning, skills and knowledge gained inside and outside of the classroom or university. Participants will provide information about what badges are, how they came into being, their development and potential futures. Participants will also provide examples of the integration of badges into university academic programs and teaching. 

With this panel, we intend to consider the potential for alternative forms of credentialing, such as badges, to transform the typical undergraduate degree. We hope to explore questions that badges raise for higher education like the following: 

  • Could badges present the story of a student’s educational journey to employers and graduate schools more descriptively than the typical pairing of degree and transcript?
  • Could badges eventually challenge the credentialing monopoly of academic institutions? 
  • What would be the implications if badges were pervasively integrated into undergraduate curricula?
  • How might badges define discrete units of learning/knowledge that could be repackaged for diverse constituencies of students, such as executives, mid-career retooling, etc.?

This discussion invites you to share your perspectives and consider concepts that creatively and productively challenge what we do.  Our purpose is not to promulgate one approach or another, but rather to ask whether any of these alternatives, or aspects of them, could generate new ways of thinking about the future of Philadelphia University and our efforts to re-envision general education.


Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems,  UC Davis
A Discussion Session with Joanna Normoyle
Tuesday, January 29, 10:00-11:00 AM, SEED Center Conference Room

Joanna Normoyle, Advisor and Internship Coordinator, will provide an introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SA&FS) Bachelor of Science degree at UC Davis. This interdisciplinary program uniquely integrates the social, economic, and environmental aspects of agriculture and food to provide students a thorough understanding of the issues facing farming and food systems today– from farm to table and beyond.  In this program, students gain a diversity of knowledge and skills both in the classroom and through personal experience on and off campus.  As the director of SA&FS states, “Learning through doing and reflection adds a valuable dimension to students’ education because it helps them see the connections between theory and practice in the real world.” More information.

Digital Technologies to Support Student Success
A Discussion Session with Kyle Bowen, Director of Infomatics, Purdue University
Tuesday, January 29, 10:00-11:00 AM, Kanbar 312

Kyle Bowen, Director of Informatics in Information Technology, will provide an overview of the studio projects, a suite of digital technologies designed to support student success in Teaching and Learning Technology at Purdue University. Projects include Passport, a system for badges and competency-based learning; Jetpack, a mobile app that creates e-book hybrids that replace text books and course packs; Mixable, a platform that promotes social web experiences and student connections outside of the classroom; and Hotseat, an interactive discussion session for questions and answers outside of the classroom. More information.

Faculty Workshop: Creating a Badge for General Education Outcomes with Emily Goligoski
Tuesday, January 29, 3:00-4:30 PM, DEC Center 312

In an age of anywhere, anytime learning earners and issuers of Open Badges are helping to build an ecosystem of digital skill sharing. Mozilla Foundation will discuss the infrastructure that supports these badges, including personal repository Backpacks, and how the Open Badges community is contributing to next generation education. This session will include discussion of a) how badges can help learners demonstrate their interests and competencies, and b) how individuals can utilize that to access new educational and career opportunities.

More information:

KCKevin Carey is director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation. An expert on Pre-K-12 and higher education issues, Carey has published articles on education and other topics in magazines including The New RepublicWashington MonthlyThe American Prospect, and Democracy. He writes monthly columns on education for The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New Republic and edits the annual Washington Monthly College Guide. Carey's research includes higher education reform, improving college graduation rates, college rankings, community colleges, and the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. His writing was anthologized in Best American Legal Writing 2009 and received an Education Writers Association award for commentary in 2010. He appears frequently on media outlets including CNN, C-SPAN, and NPR.

From: "Kevin Carey." NewAmerica.net. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. <http://newamerica.net/user/478>.

Carey, Kevin. "College as We've Known It Will Soon Die (And Should)." NewAmerica.net. 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. http://newamerica.net/publications/articles/2012/college_as_weve_known_it_will_soon_die_and_should_71605

Carey, Kevin. "The Siege of Academe." NewAmerica.net. The Washington Monthly, 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. http://newamerica.net/publications/articles/2012/the_siege_of_academe_70747

Carey, Kevin. "Here's a Diploma, With Ball and Chain Attached." NewAmerica.net. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 June 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. http://newamerica.net/publications/articles/2012/heres_a_diploma_with_ball_and_chain_attached_68645

Carey, Kevin. "A Future Full of Badges." The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 8 Apr. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. http://chronicle.com/article/A-Future-Full-of-Badges/131455/

Carey, Kevin. "The Higher Education Monopoly Is Crumbling As We Speak." Education Sector. The New Republic, 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. http://www.educationsector.org/publications/higher-education-monopoly-crumbling-we-speak

Cruz, Gilbert. "Holding Colleges Accountable: Is Success Measurable?" Time. Time, 07 Jan. 2010. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0%2C8599%2C1948175%2C00.html

Davies, Dave. "What's Driving College Costs Higher?" NPR. NPR, 26 June 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. http://www.npr.org/2012/06/26/155766786/whats-driving-college-costs-higher


Mozilla’s Open Badge System

Learning today happens everywhere, but it's often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements gained outside of school. Mozilla's Open Badges project is working to solve that problem, making it easy to issue, earn and display badges across the web. The result: recognizing 21st century skills, unlocking career and educational opportunities, and helping learners everywhere level up in their life and work.

Get recognition for new skills and achievements: The web and other new learning spaces provide exciting ways to gain skills and experience -- from online courses, learning networks and mentorship to peer learning, volunteering and afterschool programs. Badges provide a way for learners to get recognition for these skills, and display them to potential employers, schools, colleagues and their community.

Through a simple framework that's open to all, using Mozilla’s Open Badges infrastructure, any organization or community can issue badges backed by their own seal of approval. Learners can then collect badges from different sources and display them across the web -- on their resume, web site, social networking profiles, job sites or just about anywhere.

Unlocking new career and learning opportunities by displaying skills and achievements that traditional degrees and transcripts often leave out, badges can lead to jobs, community recognition, and new learning opportunities. To learn more or get started, visit www.openbadges.org.

From: "Mozilla Open Badges: About." MozillaWiki. Web. 19 Sept. 2012.