Sunday, June 03, 2012

Open Badges Evidence

What started as my exploration of the open badges displayer hack by David Wiley, ended up deepening my understanding of the assertion json required for issuing a badge. It really got me thinking about how assessment could be applied to peer-to-peer learning and self-directed life-long learners.

David Wiley put together the open badges displayer hack so his students could generate the code required to display their badges at any location they could host JavaScript or HTML. This hack was important to support the badges the course had issued to the students. What is also interesting is the varied approaches behind the criteria and evidence of the badges for this course. When you look into the different json for each badge with particular focus on the criteria and evidence attributes you get to see the varied capabilities of issuing badges. To get started I'd suggest you review the following sites looking at some particular attributes;
  • The introduction to openness in education course site provides a good look at the breadth of topics within openness in education. In particular, look at the right column list of topics. Spend some time reading all the tabs that make up the course. Look at the flexibility David Wiley has created in how to earn a badge. When you look at the badges issued, you see he also created ways for students to define their own criteria and then provide evidence.
  • The badges earned page prompts the students to claim their badges, and taking a look at each students json file gives great insight into how assessment and badge awarding can be achieved within an academic environment.
  • I opened up the json file for Wendy Woodfield and the awarding of the "OpenEd Overview" badge.The json file had the following criteria and evidence attributes; as you can see these two attributes resolve to URLs, and when you follow these you get the descriptions of what is required to be awarded the badge (criteria) and what Wendy created and accomplished to meet the criteria (evidence).
By looking into the json from this course you see what David Wiley has done around evidence and criteria. This is where I see academia starting to utilize the open badges infrastructure and applying it to the peer based approaches found in MOOC's.  This could be a very powerful combination. If you look at the json of the student contributed badges you can see them setting their own criteria then providing evidence of its completion... Kevin Ashton did exactly this and created the "OpenEd Visualization Ninja Programmer" badge. You can see in the json below the criteria and evidence links resolve toward two blog posts on Kevin's blog. Essentially, Kevin created his own criteria and then fulfilled the criteria and was awarded the badge. I would assume that David Wiley recognized the criteria as meeting some goals within the course. The main point is a person created both the criteria and evidence for a badge. This is amazing self-directed learning receiving solid recognition from a legitimate source.
  "recipient": "sha256$a782df7378fc6a5190b3b25dd7834ce8e0c192055595bc4ae7e79dc10831ad44",
 "salt": "#ioe12",
  "evidence": "",
  "issued_on": "2012-04-11",
  "badge": {
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "name": "OpenEd Visualization Ninja Programmer",
    "image": "",
    "description": "Has designed a badge-based assessment for the Introduction to Open Education course.",
    "criteria": "",
    "issuer": {
      "origin": "",
      "name": "David Wiley",
      "org": "Introduction to Open Education, 2012",
      "contact": ""
To further explore the approach of issuing badges and how it can be done within peer based learning environments it is very useful to view the work of Alex Halavais. In particular, the slides from the slideshare below at around the 14 minute mark speak to the approaches for peer assessment within an online course.
In my mind, this means it is completely legitimate that you could issue yourself your own badges. And you would be the one who sets and enforces the quality and rigor required to earn your badge. If people come across your badge, and believe it is worthy, they could follow the same learning journey defined in the criteria and evidence and attempt acquiring the badge themselves. The subject of issuing your own badges requires further unpacking... but combined with peer-assessment from your personal learning network could provide a vehicle for self-directed life-long learners to publish their accomplishments in a way people could follow and even replicate.