Best Practice

Awarding Digital Badges

Digital Badges are the new ‘hot ticket’ for recognising learning and accomplishment in this Digital Age.

Taking inspiration from the Scouts which have given out physical badges for lots of different activities, Digital Badges are designed to be hosted online and shared on websites, blogs, ePortfolios, social networking platforms, CV’s etc.

Digital Badges are digital micro-credentials that acknowledge learning and accomplishment in a particular skill or area. They can be earned in a variety of learning environments, including higher education. Digital Badges can be awarded to staff and students for knowledge and achievement, but also for other activities such as volunteering and activism. By collecting multiple badges, you can then build a profile of skills to share with your personal and professional communities. This can ultimately help to gain recognition, and for students, help them stand out to potential employers.

Digital Badges are a useful tool for encouraging student participation and engagement with learning, and also to recognise achievements in extra-curricular activities. As an example, Digital Badges can be used to award particular skills learned over the course of a final year research project. Every students gets credit for their research project but it’s difficult to acknowledge exactly what skills the learner gained over the course of their particular project. Whether it’s giving a badge for French translation, medieval history, chromatography or water analysis, recognising the particular skills attained can help students stand out from the crowd. The use of Digital Badges by the learner will also increase the visibility of UCC as a university which embraces technology and supports student and staff achievement in digital, as well as classical forms.

After successfully issuing a ‘Digital Champions’ digital badge as part of the Transformation Through Collaboration project, the Office of the Vice President for Teaching and Learning has decided to pilot the use of Digital Badges for the 2016/17 academic year. The pilot has already awarded its first round of Digital Badges. These were given out to Staff who participates in the TEL Tasters sessions that ran from 29th August to the 1st September. These badges recognised the learners’ skills in TEL, and application of TEL in their teaching in four key areas: Presenting, Collaboration, Video and Internet. For more information on the pilot you can view the summary here.