Open Badges: Part One (or Getting my Cold Feet Wet)

This is the first fresh post I’ve written in quite some time.  This isn’t because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I’ve been working on a few projects which I’m not at liberty to discuss in my blog.  But now I’m diving into a new project and will be using my blog as a place to post my notes, observations, ideas, etc. as I move through the project.  I do this not only for your edutainment, but also to give myself a working area in the cloud where I can review previous mistakes and evaluate new possibilities.

The Idea

I’m working with a couple of faculty members to develop a brand new web-based component for our remedial math courses.  However, instead of using the traditional formula for online course design, we’re going about it from an entirely different angle.

The course will be divided into a slew of mini-lessons.  Upon completion of a mini-lesson, a students must complete a short assessment.  Students who pass the mini-assessments will be awarded mini-credentials in the form of badges.  Students who don’t pass the assessments will be redirected to the appropriate mini-lessons for remediation.  The redirection will be based upon the nature of their mathematical errors.  In order to advance, students will have to repeat mini-assessments on previous concepts and prove that they do understand the basic concepts before moving forward.

Geez, that’s hard to put into words, isn’t it?  Think about it like this…. Mathematical concepts build upon one another.  For example, before a student can factor a quadratic equation, a student must first understand several different concepts.  Let’s suppose that a student completed the mini-lesson on factoring quadratic equations and gave the incorrect answer because they failed to properly distribute the negative.  Under this framework, the student will be redirected to the mini-lesson on distribution of the negative.  Once the mini-lesson has been completed, the student will be redirected back to the mini-lesson on quadratic equations and given an opportunity to try the assessment again.  As students pass specific benchmarks within the course, they will be awarded badges.  The badges will be stored in the student’s backpack and when the instructor reviews the student’s progress, the instructor can customize assignments and instructions to fit the needs of the student.   The backpack will carry from semester-to-semester and teachers of subsequent courses will get a better understanding of the needs of each individual student.

Part One: Baby Steps

To start with, I’ve got to learn all about badges. Although I have a cursory understanding of badges and the concepts behind Open Badges, I figure it’s probably best if I take it from the top and learn everything I can… So to get started, I’ve enrolled in the “101 What are Open Badges?” course at P2PU and this entry and subsequent entries on the topic of Open Badges are parts of my course assignments, so I’m killing two or three birds with one stone and providing myself with a cloud-based document of my progress.

More entries will follow in the coming days/weeks/months/years/decades as I move through this project.

Here we go!!!

~Rodney