Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Open Badges: Issuer vs. Displayer

Discussions, readings, review and reflection continues to deepen my understanding of the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI). One item that is important, and has been given considerable thought by the Open Badges team, is the difference between an Issuer and a Displayer. As you start diving into open badges it could make sense that the issuer and displayer could be the same entity. It kind of makes sense; if Girl Scouts Canada issued a whole lot of badges to someone, why wouldn't they also provide the feature to display the badges that had been awarded to this person (the earner)?

vista mar girl scouts 1964
The scout badge analogy continues to work well here. Once a badge has been issued to someone, where they display them and what they do with them through time is really up to the person who earned the badge. Upon reflecting on this I believe it would NOT make sense to leave the badge sash at the scout office because every time the badges were to be displayed the viewer would have to go to the scout office to see them. The better solution is to decouple the issuing of badges from the display of badges. This way the earner can choose how to display the badges for themselves;
  • Determine where to display their badges (personal blog, facebook, other...)
  • Grouping the badges (volunteer activities, webmaking activities, professional development, community involvement, learning milestones, coursework, etc...)
  • Organize badges from different issuers to create a greater meaning (or meta-credential)
Even though having the issuer and displayer be the same entity is technically possible, it is a better solution to keep these two separate. This will allow the earner greater control over their badges and how and where they display them.