Overview of Open Badges for students

We have created a Prezi which our students coaches will show to our students this year – it is hope this will raise awareness of open badges and their vales and thus improve uptake of our badges when they are issued in May/June 2015 – it can be found here.

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JISC Open Badge Design Toolkit: Good for Planning & Evaluation

To design our badges, we used the JISC Open Badge Design Toolkit – jiscopenbadgesdesigntoolkit. Our advice to those embarking on future Open Badge projects would be to use the JISC toolkit not only for initial planning but to revisit regularly during the project to evaluate progress and ensure effective management of the more complex aspects .

The toolkit was initially useful as a starting point for the project planning team, and enabled us to identify areas where we needed to make decisions and those which were already predetermined e.g.:

  • Badge content (converted from our paper-based Progression Passport)
  • Brand Design (delegated to our Marketing department as the badge was intended to be used externally). The badges we devised were in line with college branding and were circular to tie in with the Seal/Medal concept of Bronze, Silver and Gold. The designs were the same except for colour and wording to give them a unified look and increase the motivation to try and move up the levels. Font was a particular issue as the badge needed to be small but display text clearly and several iterations were needed to get this right.

Whilst the JISC toolkit was useful at the start of our project, our limited knowledge and overemphasis on the technical aspects meant we did not utilise it as fully as we could have done. Where it has been particularly valuable has been as a framework for evaluating our project and identifying areas for further improvement .
One of these has been to consider more fully Why? we were issuing the badges and the Channels where a user would find out about the badge(as part of evaluating our Badge System & Content Design) and this has led us to put a student briefing in place before the badges are issued to explain their value and purpose.
Another was the consideration of the Behaviours the badge is designed to encouraged (part of the Badge Content Design template) and this will be picked up as part of the on-going review of the HCUK Passport as a whole. This review will also picked up on endorsement of the Seal as part of further developments in partnership with our local LEP.
Technically, evaluation using the JISC Open Badge Design Toolkit has raised issued about the systems we use and the sustainability and rigour of our process such as:
• The need to monitor new opportunities for display Open Badges online
• The possibility of automating issue of our badges through Moodle
• The debate over the use of personal or college email addresses to issue the badges
• The ability to store online evidence as part of the HCUK Passport and link between our Pro-Monitor and Moodle systems.

We will continue to post about how we respond to these challenges as our project continues!

Open Badges: Reflections of an Employer

Open Badges: an Employers viewpoint

Through being part of this project,  I have learned what an Open Badge is and am able to see its potential to support employers in identifying students with appropriate employability skills whilst maintaining the integrity and appropriate security in an online environment. Employers regularly search social media for more information on applicants and these badges could also be flagged through blogs, websites and online CVs.

During the last year, the HCUK Progression Passport has continued to evolve and work has been done, in consultation with employers, to further define the skills sets, project work, work experience, participation in volunteering etc. to embed a framework of demonstrable skills. The Employability Skills Open Badge provides an online representation of the skills they have developed and their level of work readiness. I think the Open Badge aspect will continue to support the HCUK Passport by allowing students to more easily display their Seal through online media and this could support the embedding of the HCUK Employability Seal within recruitment and on the job assessment in the local business community. It would be useful to see the College offer other Open Badges for example badge students who have acquired specific skills.

As awareness of  Open Badge increases within society as a whole, this will assist in promoting the HCUK Passport model through the technology’s connectivity with social media channels. As Open Badges become more widely used, students will be able to use them to display to employers a collection of badges showing educational attainment from a range of different institutions plus achievements through other organisations such as volunteering awards. It would be particularly useful if job-specific websites, develop the ability to allow applicants to link to their Open Badges in their profile and also if it were possible for employers to search a website that could list students with particular badges and allow a contact email to be sent encouraging them to apply for vacancies.

Donna Edgar – Sental Recruitment Ltd
Aside from being the Director of a very successful recruitment business, Donna also gives her time for free to For Entrepreneurs Only (FEO) by offering advice and guidance to new and established companies looking to expand. Donna is also a previous Governor for The Hull College Group which looks after over 31000 students across the UK

Introduction to our project

This blog will follow the progress of our JISC Open Badge project which will create an online version of our HCUK Employability Skills Seals.

Our project will develop Mozilla Open Badges which will be issued to students on completion of the HCUK Progression Passport and act as an online representation of the skills they have developed and their level of work readiness.

Our  ‘Progression Passport’  measures student achievement in five key areas: Understanding the World of Work, Progression, Citizenship, Business and Enterprise, Communication Skills and Drive and Ambition, plus two softer skills aspects – Personal development health and well-being, and equality and diversity. As part of the Passport, an ‘Employability Skills Seal’ – a College endorsement that demonstrates students are ready for work – will be awarded at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, each with set standards in attendance, punctuality and attitude and work readiness.

More information about our Progression Passport can be found here.

Guidance will be issued to help students display this badge on their own websites, blogs and social media profiles and we will work with employers to raise awareness of the Seal.

Our project plan can be found here.