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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Can Digital Badges Help Encourage Professors to Take Teaching Workshops?

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"A few colleges are trying a new incentive to get professors to participate in professional-development workshops: digital badges." according to Jeffrey R. Young, senior editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education and adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park.

The idea of offering badges has become popular in education-technology circles in the past few years, in most cases as an alternative to a traditional college diploma, or even as a different way of giving grades in courses. The goal is to create an easy way for people to show employers they have attained a given skill. After all, who ever looks at a college transcript?

Several badge formats have emerged that can be embedded on a LinkedIn profile or a personal web page, in a way that certifies the achievement was in fact earned and can be clicked on to reveal a detailed record of what the learner did to get the badge. Among the most popular badge platforms are Credly and the Mozilla Open Badges project.
Now some colleges are trying the badge approach in their in-house training, in part to expose more professors to the badge concept so they might try it in their own courses.

Kent State Credly Badges overview and basic tutorial

Kent State University, for instance, is offering badges to professors who complete workshops on how to improve their online teaching, which are offered by Kent State Online. The group started the experiment last November, and it has awarded about 500 badges during the 12 workshops it has given since then.

“Our motivation is to provide faculty a convenient means to track and display their professional-development efforts,” said Valerie Kelly, executive director of Kent State Online. “There are a lot of people putting a lot of effort into creating really good online courses.”

Many professors don’t seem to be in it for the badge, though. In fact, only about 150 badges were “accepted,” meaning that a recipient registered to receive a badge so he or she could show it off.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education and Kent State Online Channel (YouTube)