16b) Motivating students, recognising achievements and supporting employability with Open Badges

Farzana Latif (CICS)

Third Session (14:00 – 15:00) 
Inox Conference Suite 2

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What is this about? 
Open Badges are a way to award students after they have demonstrated specific learning achievements, such as understanding a particular topic or acquiring a specific skill. Devised by the Mozilla Foundation (creators of the Firefox web browser), they are images with embedded validation information and offer a secure online way to recognise informal learning and achievements. These can be drawn from different activities (e.g. placements, student union, modules), offering staff the opportunity to monitor and support both online and offline learning. There is a growing interest in the potential of Open Badges (Sharples et al., 2013), both as a mechanism for recognising skill acquisition and experience, and as a tool for motivating students to take control of their own learning. This reflects a sector-wide focus on Employability and Retention, which badges have the potential to support by surfacing the less-obvious learning that is often hidden due to the focus on grades and transcripts. Sharples, M., McAndrew, P., Weller, M., Ferguson, R., FitzGerald, E., Hirst, T., and Gaved, M. (2013). Innovating Pedagogy 2013: Open University Innovation Report 2. Milton Keynes: The Open University

How will colleagues benefit?
This session will explore in further detail what Open Badges are and why there is a growing interest in them across the sector. Current and potential applications within the University will be outlined, alongside the benefits and value, in order for attendees to identify applications within their own context. Student perceptions towards Open Badges will be highlighted, alongside their perceived value in terms of motivation and employability. Practical considerations will also be taken into account and at the end of the session attendees will know how to create and distribute Open Badges within their practice.

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