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Notes on alternative credentialing with badges

Today I attended a 1-day conference called “Alternative Credentialing: Badges and ePortfolios”. Here are my notes:

The badges sessions were all unique, tackling different aspects of what is, evidently, quite complex. Here is a link to the event with agenda:

The Quinnipiac case showed badges used in a Blackboard course (though he didn’t explain the technical piece, which is OK) where the professor awarded badges for 30-40% participation and 60-70% projects. Students earned badges for demonstrating competency or mastery via assigned projects. They used discussion to share their work and get ‘nominated’ for a badge. Once the project passed peer review, student submitted it for credit and badge.

The Harvard cases showed badges for learning and reflection on learning. It was difficult to understand how they justified badges awarded. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t quite ‘get it’ with Harvard.

Nan Travers, from SUNYEmpire got us back to square 1 and she pushed the bar higher by getting into the assessment elements of badging. Her focus is on validating prior knowledge so that adult learners are recognized for their expertise and mastery of skills and can use that validation to obtain certification or acceptance to a degree program. She did an outstanding job of explaining relationships between traditional assessment methods and this new form of credentialing.

Nan’s colleague at SUNYEmpire Amy McQuigge talked more about the awarding process. She also compared traditional to relational validation. Attendees really liked her 360 approach – self-assessment, peer review, expert assessment contributing to ‘micro-credentialling’ within a program.

In closing, Jonathan Finklestein from LearningTimes showed how his company is working with organizations like museums and YMCA centers to use badges and gamification techniques to help kids do more. His company provides the back end for badging programs.

All good stuff! If you are going to EDUCAUSE, watch for more discussion on badges (Jonathan will be there).

I organized the tweets into a storify which you are welcome and encouraged to view as well: