Over the past year, we have made a lot of investments in areas that are driving change in the industry. One of those areas is digital badges, which is rising quickly as key enabler of competency-based learning and approaches that empower learners. Blackboard supports badges in a number of ways, including the integration of the Mozilla Open Badges framework  into our learning management systems which enables educators around the world to issue badges to millions of students. We also just recently announced our plans to integrate badges into the MyEdu platform that became a part of the Blackboard family of solutions earlier this year. 

But we think it is important for us to take an even greater role—a leadership role—in shaping the direction of this powerful movement. That’s why I am excited to announce that Blackboard is a founding member of The Badge Alliance, a new network of organizations with a primary focus to grow, sustain and further promote an open badging ecosystem.

What are Digital Badges?

Digital badges are flexible, open, and portable symbols of an accomplishment, skill, competency, or interest. Learners earn badges from many different types of providers—often via blended or fully online courses—when they complete specific criteria designed to show competency in a given area. Badge achievements can be added to online resumes, social media profiles, personal websites, and job sites so that the knowledge learners have acquired can become—literally and visibly—part of their identities.

Digital badging has risen as a “common currency” that transcends multiple learning venues, offering the ability to demonstrate knowledge acquired from a variety of sources such as MOOCs, professional development courses and workplace training and allows students to display their mastery in skills no matter where they were acquired.

Blackboard’s Role in the Badge Alliance

As a founding member, we will be heavily involved in shaping and supporting the Badge Alliance in the initial stages, working with other educational thought leaders like Mozilla and the MacArthur Foundation to tackle important issues, questions, and opportunities to support the optimal evolution of the badging ecosystem.

Specifically, we will be involved in shaping the evolution of the open infrastructure for badges; solving how to support badging in other countries and cultures; determining how to build functionality and practice around endorsement of badges; and helping to scale the  effectiveness of badges for promoting and recognizing important digital skills.

We are confident our efforts will open immeasurable opportunities for millions of learners around the world. I’m looking forward to sharing ways our work in the Badge Alliance is contributing to the evolution of the open badges ecosystem. Stay tuned for updates.

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