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IP&T Students Use Open Badges As One Method to Verify Learning

Open badges are awarded to show that a student has mastered particular principles and skills.

24 January 2014 0 Comments

Students in many fields present portfolios to demonstrate their accomplishments to potential employers, but some skills can be difficult to represent. The McKay School of Education’s Instructional Psychology and Technology (IP&T) students are using open badges from IPT EdTec to demonstrate what they have learned in their classes.

Open badges are digital credentials that are verified through credible organizations. In the case of IPT EdTec Badges, they are awarded to verify that an individual has mastered a task specifically related to a technology. The IPT EdTec Badges allow both students and alumni to display their mastery wherever they need it, such as in an online portfolio.

Throughout fall semester Dan Randall, a PhD student in IP&T who is one of the instructional designers of the IPT EdTec Badges, presented at several educational technology conferences on the topic of designing and using open badges to benefit learning. Randall personally believes that open badges are a way for higher education to better serve university students. “Too many people who graduate feel their education did not prepare them for their career, or that they weren’t challenged enough,” he said. Badges are a way for professors to gauge their students’ skills and personalize the learning for each student.

The IPT EdTec badges have rubrics to measure the user’s mastery of a technology. Although these rubrics do not cover every single concept related to the technology, IPT EdTec Badges and the accompanying tutorials aim to give users a solid foundation. “We can’t possibly teach students everything they might encounter, but we can teach them all the principles so when they have a project or situation where they need to create something they haven’t done before, they can say, ‘I know I can manipulate this technology to do what I want it to do.’”

Currently only a handful of universities are issuing open badges to their students. Open badges are a non-profit product of a collaborative project between MacArthur Foundation, HASTAC, and Mozilla in an attempt to increase the dialogue on open platforms in education and on the Internet.

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