Digital badges could allow students to work toward degree requirements and help employees demonstrate skills that would help advance their career.

As educators and companies look for ways to denote learning outside of the traditional college credit, some are beginning to look toward digital badges as a serious contender.

The badges could be particularly helpful for providing credentials for students who take online classes or massive open online course (MOOCs).

The WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies (WCET) has partnered with Sage Road Solutions LLC, Mozilla, and Blackboard, Inc. to explore the possibilities of digital badges through — what else? — a MOOC.

The “Badges as a New Currency for Professional Credentials” MOOC will begin on Sept. 9 and run through Oct. 14. The course will examine the burgeoning interest is utilizing digital badges to measure and recognize knowledge, skills, and competencies.

“We believe that badges offer a promising approach to addressing a vexing challenge, getting under- and unemployed Americans into high-paying, unfilled jobs,” said Anne Derryberry, one of the course’s designers. “We look forward to what is promising to be a lively and thought-provoking discussion.”

The concept is an attempt to recognize the sorts of achievements that are not always illustrated by a college transcript or degree. Digital badges could allow students to work toward degree requirements and help employees demonstrate skills that would help advance their career.

Think Boy Scout badges, but instead of earning a badge for camping, a student can earn one for leading a group discussion or mastering HTML.

See Page 2 for details on what the MOOC will cover.


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