Authenticating Your Skills
As reported in The New York Times Education section this past June 2013, former President Bill Clinton, in association with Mozilla and the MacArthur Foundation, announced a project that promotes virtual learning. The goal is to expand the use of Open Badges and online credentials.
The Mozilla Open Badges code is not proprietary—it’s free software and an open program. That means any organization can create, issue and verify digital badges. How will they be regulated and how are they different from current acknowledgements like LinkedIn endorsements and Klout scores?
Says Karen Solomon of Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association: “Students earn degrees once they demonstrate mastery of competencies. Accrediting agencies will need to identify peer reviewers that can evaluate institutional preparation and resources available for degrees that are decoupled from the credit hour. Each institution is expected to have policies and processes to evaluate the quality of credits it transcripts, and we review how the institution follows its own processes. The same expectations would be in place if an institution were to award badges based on credits or competencies."
The badge itself is more than just an icon or button; its value comes from the information (or metadata) attached to it. According to openbadges.org, the information behind each badge provides justification and validation, including:
- The issuer of the badge
- How the badge was earned and when
- Links back to artifacts, documents, or testimonials demonstrating the work that lead to earning the badge
- Authentication back to the issuer and relevant standards bodies
This supporting data reduces the risk of “gaming" the system and builds in an automatic validation system. Also, accreditations would be moderated and controlled by appointed agencies.