Micro-credentialing is an initiative that allows participants to track, document, and display non-credit professional learning achievements. Digital badges embed information about when, where, and how they were earned, including the name of the issuer, the date issued, and the criteria for earning the badge.
The Educational Development Unit developed the UCalgary Badges platform (badges.ucalgary.ca) to issue digital badges for professional learning and to allow other units to issue them. Participants in eligible programs can earn badges, display them, and share them through social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Mozilla Open Badges, and WordPress. Faculty, staff and students can document informal and formal learning accomplishments achieved outside of credit programs in a more flexible way than traditional methods such as transcripts and paper certificates (EDUCAUSE, 2012; Yu, Dyjur, Miltenburg & Saito, 2015).
This is the first micro-credentialing initiative at the University of Calgary to issue digital badges for professional learning. Currently, there are 27 badges being issued by four different groups on campus. As of September 2015, 620 badges had been issued to participants.
EDUCAUSE. (2012). 7 things you should know about badges. ELI 7 Things You Should Know. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-badges
Yu, L., Dyjur, P., Miltenburg, J., & Saito, K. (2015). Micro-credentialing: Digital badges in faculty professional development. In Preciado Babb, P., Takeuchi, M., & Lock, J. (Eds.). Proceedings of the IDEAS: Designing Responsive Pedagogy Conference, 82-89. Calgary, Canada: Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.
Related Documentation and Materials
UCalgary Badges website
Issuing badges on the UCalgary Badges site – handout
Sample UCalgary Badges certificate
Presentation slides from the Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching
Link to conference proceedings
Assessment Strategies and Results
The badges project collaborators have a Teaching and Learning Grant to study the micro-credentialing initiative. The purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of the role of badges in professional learning programs by systematically observing participants’ motivation, program completion, perception of the badges, and desire to take other educational development programs that offer digital badges. We will also be looking at the number of badges offered and number of units offering badges to gauge the interest in the initiative.
Reflection and Impact
There has been strong interest from groups outside the EDU in micro-credentialing, and several groups have begun using the UCalgary Badges platform to issue badges. Based on feedback from these groups and our own experiences with the platform, a number of improvements have been made to the site which make it easier to issue and share badges and enable groups to offer badges for different levels of achievement.
Next steps include expanding the badges platform to other interested groups. The badges collaborators are investigating the possibility of offering a workshop to raise awareness of micro-credentialing.
Project collaborators: Patti Dyjur, Joni Miltenburg, Kevin Saito, Lin Yu
ePortfolio post authors: Patti Dyjur, Joni Miltenburg, Kevin Saito