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Thursday, June 23 • 13:45 - 14:45
PK07.12b - Digital Badges - Empowering stakeholders by improving student assessment and engagement

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This presentation showcases the use of Digital Badges (DBs) in two different learning environments (university and college sectors) for two different reasons, namely improving student assessment and engagement. As for assessment, the widely used omnibus grading systems (e.g. the single letter or % grade) have long been recognized to have limitations (Schinske & Tanner, 2014), most notably a failure to communicate to stakeholders (e.g. students, educators, and employers) the specific learning outcomes assessed to calculate the final grade, information that could be valuable for job postings, for example. As for student engagement, developing strategies that motivate students to prepare for each class and to participate in all available learning activities (including those NOT graded) is a constant challenge (Abramovich et al., 2013). Such high-level engagement is critical in settings that rely on insightful discussion by an informed audience (e.g. in flipped classrooms).

In this presentation, participants will see how DBs can do both. In one scenario, DBs are awarded to university students as a formative and summative tool to complement the institution-mandated letter grades. DBs can be shared in the student’s online forums (e.g. Facebook or LinkedIn) at their discretion for other stakeholders to view and learn about their achievements (Gibson et al., 2015). Moreover, the concept of earning badges is familiar across generations. Consequently the buy-in and motivation to collect successive DBs does have currency in academic circles (Randall et al., 2013), as will be described in a college setting using DBs to rouse extra effort and greater completion of nongraded activities. DBs can be applied in any discipline but, due to their novelty and relative obscurity, certain noteworthy boundaries will also be addressed in this presentation. Our hope is that our audience will be motivated to consider incorporating DBs in their course curricula for the purposes of assessing and engaging students in their learning environments.

Abramovich, S., Schunn, C., & Higashi, R. (2013). Are badges useful in education?: it depends upon the type of badge and expertise of learner. Educational Technology Research & Development, 61(2), 217-232.

Gibson, D., Ostashewski, N., Flintoff, K., Grant, S., & Knight, E. (2015). Digital badges in education. Education and Information Technologies, 20(2), 403-410.

Randall, D., Harrison, J., & West, R. (2013). Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: Designing Open Badges for a Technology Integration Course. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 57(6), 88-95.

Schinske, J. & Tanner, K. (2014). Teaching More by Grading Less (or Differently). CBE Life Sciences Education, 13, 159-166.

avatar for Helena Merriam

Helena Merriam

Professor, Algonquin College
Helena Merriam,MLIS, is a Professor and Coordinator of the Library and Information Technician Program at Algonquin College. Helena is the recipient of the Capital Educator’s Award in 2011 and the 2012 NISOD Excellence Award.

Additional Authors

Alp Oran

Alp Oran is a member of the teaching support staff for the Faculty of Science at the University of Ottawa with an interest in teaching, learning, and evaluation. Un membre du personnel de soutien dans la Faculté des sciences à l'Université d'Ottawa. Soon completing a M.Ed. at... Read More →

Thursday June 23, 2016 13:45 - 14:45 EDT
UCC 146