Digital badges could help denote achievements in MOOCs and other forms of online learning.

Learning management system (LMS) giant Blackboard has partnered with the nonprofit Mozilla to introduce a new update to its LMS software that would support the use of digital badges in education.

With the update, students can use Mozilla’s Open Badges Infrastructure to earn digital badges through the Blackboard Learn system and then share those badges across the internet.

The concept is an attempt to recognize achievements and skills that are not always illustrated by a college transcript or degree. A journalism degree, for example, demonstrates graduating from such a program, but may not show a future employer that the graduate excels in using social media to find sources.

Digital badges could help denote achievements in massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online learning that don’t use traditional means of accreditation.

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.

The successful implementation of digital badges relies, of course, on their adoption by educators and employers as an accepted standard for denoting knowledge and skills. Support from a company like Blackboard, whose software is used by more than 9,000 institutions in 60 countries, could nudge the idea closer to the mainstream.

See Page 2 for how students can use digital badges beyond the classroom.


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