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A New Type of Incentive for Our Students: Digital Open Badges

The Digital Open Badges webinar was organised by our colleague Dr Wayne Gibbons from the Building and Civil Engineering Department in GMIT. It was one of the most interesting webinars and it has immediate applicability. The first session focused on a short literature review, as well as Wayne’s own research on badges. This gave us an insight into this area (completely new to me, I must admit).

I found out lots of new things:

  • What an open badge is
  • What type of badge works and what type doesn’t
  • How involving potential employers into the creation of a badge can give us, the educators, new perspectives
  • How engaging students in the development of a badge can contribute to the creation of a meaningful and valuable badge
  • How a badge can give the potential employer extra information about the recipient of the badge, which is not explicitly reflected by the final grade

The second part of the first session showed us how to create a badge using and Open Badge Factory and then how to issue and view the awarded badge on Open Badge Passport. The demo video Wayne created for us was uploaded to a MS Teams group designated for GMIT’s Badge Club and was very useful when I tried to create a badge myself a few days later. 

Wayne didn’t leave things unfinished. He followed up with a second session which gave us an opportunity to look at a few badges our colleagues had created and he answered lots of questions in relation to the same. And the story hasn’t ended yet! We are going to receive a badge ourselves, for being active, hardworking and being able to prove we’ve actually created a badge!

I’m definitely going to create and award a few student badges in the next academic year. I think there are a lot of aspects of the modules I teach for which students don’t feel rewarded. Badges seem to have the potential to motivate students, which is much needed in first year particularly. Looking forward to seeing how this will work and you should, too!

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