Friday, September 18, 2015

The Possibilities and Challenges of Dual Enrollment for Assessment and Beyond

By Dan Hickey
My colleague James Willis was kind enough to introduce me to Emily Swafford who is the Programs Manager at the American History Association.  I emailed Emily about our several promising forays into history education, including our work with Chris Hitchcock to develop new participatory online courses at Indiana University High School and our initial discussion of the Dual Enrollment courses supervised by Indiana University's Advance College Project.  It just so happens that the current issue of the AHA's news magazine Perspectives on History just published a timely special issue on dual enrollment that was full of ideas we care about here at RMA.  In particular, it illustrated the complex challenges that emerge for assessment around dual enrollment in general and in particular when states mandate things like DE and get directly involved in school curricula.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Resource and Repository for Open Badges

by James Willis

We are pleased to announce a repository for open badges projects, articles, case studies, and links to additional resources. Our website, Open Badges in Higher Ed, has launched and is now searchable on Google and other web browsers. This site is an on-going effort by the collaborators of the OBHE project at Indiana University.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Calculus PLAnet: Promising First Step in Participatory Learning in Mathematics

by Suraj Uttamchandani, Tristan Tager, and Daniel Hickey

We discuss our recent pilot of networked
approaches to calculus online. Current online math efforts rely heavily (and often ineffectively) on videos, textbooks, and isolated drill-and-practice sessions. Our participatory approach is an alternative to remedial math "ghettos." This is where a college's general education math requirement prevents some otherwise successful students from earning a degree, and keeps many others from pursuing STEM degrees. Instead, we insistently help learners contextualize abstract mathematics in the authentic relevant practices of their own disciplines.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Digital Badges on Resumes and College Applications

by James Willis 

Our recent article, "Where Badges Work Better," published as an ELI Brief in July 2015 by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative as a different version, notes the difficulty in getting organizations to value badges. Translating badges to real-world outcomes like obtaining employment or entry into college is one of the next major goals of open digital badge development. This is no small task: even as badges have gained traction in educational technology, they remain a bit more remote to businesses and some college admissions departments. The Sprout Fund, a Pittsburgh, PA-based organization that "supports innovative ideas that are catalyzing change...making our community a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family" is helping move badges into the workplace and college admissions practices.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Digital Badges and the Workplace: Some Recent Resources

by James Willis 

The use and interest in open digital badges continues to grow. This is especially true for the workplace. Seen as dynamic evidence of learning and skills, badges are becoming better known and accepted by employers. This trend is expected to continue as badges become better understood in the wider conversation of credentialing and in alternative models like competency-based education. I've gathered some recent articles (with links) that discuss badges in the workplace.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Connecting Students and Teachers with Open Digital Badges

by James Willis, Dan Hickey, and John Foster*

John Foster, Ph.D. (guest blogger) is President/CEO of NOCTI and its subsidiary, Nocti Business Solutions

The Open Badges in Higher Education project is collaborating with a number of entrepreneurs who are expanding into digital badges. Recognizing prior learning assessment (PLA) has been difficult to work into the curricula of numerous programs. This is due to a number of reasons which may include lack of uniformity, difficulty of assessment, and inability to situate prior learning into an existing curriculum. That is not to say, however, that learning hasn't happened. As those who work to connect prior learning, alternative credentialing, and skills assessment can attest, prior learning can provide compelling evidence for learner capability in job and academic skills.

Friday, June 19, 2015

IBL Studios Issues an Open Source Badging Platform

by James Willis

We worked with Michael Amigot at IBL Studios in a previous project to launch the first instance of open badges in Open edX in Lorena Barba's Python MOOC at George Washington University. The code to issues badges is now available at GitHub as an open source tool for those interested in issuing their own Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI)-compliant badges. IBL designed this to be "[a] platform to award your own institution's badges. The badges you create and earn with this server are compatible with the specifications of the OpenBadges project."

Friday, June 12, 2015

3600 US Cerfication Bodies Lacking Third Party Validation

By Dan Hickey
Lumina Foundation just released a report with some surprising data about the manner in which most of the bodies that award professional certification validate their credentials.  Make me wonder if all of the concern over validity of badges and other evidence-rich digital credentials is focused too narrowly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Is Self-Paced Participatory Learning Possible?

by Suraj Uttamchandani and Daniel Hickey

In this post, we discuss current efforts to offer the flexibility of self-paced learning with the interactive social engagement of participatory learning. We describe two new features in the Big Open Online Course (BOOC) on Educational Assessment that allow current learners to interact with prior learners and let learners proceed at their own pace.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Competency-Based Education, Badges, and Professional Development

by Benjamin Roome (guest blogger) and James Willis 

*Benjamin Roome, Ph.D., is Chief Product Officer for Badge List and Ethics Consultant at Ethical Resolve

While competency-based education (CBE) has been around for many years, a number of forces are now advancing CBE to the forefront of the educational reform. Major initiatives include the U.S. Department of Education, the Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others. This, in turn, is transforming how students, institutions, and employers think about education. Moving away from the traditional metric of “seat time,” proponents of CBE suggest representing learning through the lens of specific competencies. This has re-ignited a debate that has been simmering for decades, which helps highlight one of the many ways digital badges may serve educational reform more broadly.