Open Thinkering


Semester of Learning: Open Badges and assessment

Update: This will now take place at

Semester of Learning: Mozilla badges and assessment

At the Thinking Digital Conference 2011 Nicole Yershon, Director of Innovative Solutions at Ogilvy mentioned an idea that immediately struck a chord with me. The idea? Having a semester of learning. This, of course, is a term loosely borrowed from universities but the way Nicole described and applied it (before I drifted off into a reverie of what I could spend a semester learning about) was much more self-directed and informa.

I’d like to propose a collaborative semester of learning.

After being initially sceptical, I’m now super-excited about the revolutionary potential of Mozilla’s Open Badges project and I want to investigate it further. I want to go beyond the type of research I would do for a single blog post and go a lot more in depth.

I have a feeling some may wish to join me in this.

Mozilla’s project in a nutshell:

  • Today’s learning happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it’s often difficult to get credit for it.
  • Mozilla and Peer 2 Peer University are working to solve this problem by developing an Open Badges infrastructure.
  • Our system will make it easy for education providers, web sites and other organizations to issue badges that give public recognition and validation for specific skills and achievements.
  • And provide an easy way for learners to manage and display those badges across the web — on their personal web site or resume, social networking profiles, job sites or just about anywhere.
  • The result: Open Badges will help learners everywhere unlock career and educational opportunities, and regonize skills that traditional resumes and transcripts often leave out.

I’m proposing the following as a basic minimum for this semester of learning:

  1. It lasts about six weeks, from Saturday 13th August to the end of September.
  2. Participants pool their findings and have asynchronous discussions (location TBC)
  3. Synchronous discussions as and when required.

The whole thing would be very light-touch, completely interest-based and informal. We’ll experiment with approaches for badge-giving within communities both educational and otherwise and, well, generally just see how it goes.

So… you in? (let me know in the comments)

43 thoughts on “Semester of Learning: Open Badges and assessment

  1. Open badges is a great idea Doug! How’s this going to work? I’d like to get involved if I can  but will need some more details and I’ll see if I can squeeze it in

  2. I would like to use these for students who win Flat Classroom awards, our flat classroom certified teacher program, and even for those who do the global book club for our flat classroom book. What a fascinating idea! Could we have a group for those who want tonlearn how to do this?

      1. Sounds really interesting, though I’m not totally sure how it will work – but would certainly like to give it a go.  Is the fact I’ll be away for a week during the proposed length of the semester a problem?   So count me in please. 

  3. Doug, I’m interested and would be keen to share learning. I’m setting up a digital conference for independent prep school heads in the spring and this would provide the perfect springboard.

  4. looks like interesting stuff Doug. Also looks like you are heading for territories unknown ? was new to me, hopefully going to try a course there. 

  5. Great idea, fantastic initiative! I am in – as a learner, and will try to test this with some students in Finland later. Hope to see you at the SLF.

  6. “Today’s learning happens everywhere, not just in the classroom.”

    So true: I’m learning about this in a beach bar on the Costa Brava. Wifi is too dodgy for me to explore the links properly, and I’ll be here for a few more days, but will keep an eye on the project and see if I can chip in once I’ve actually understood it!

  7. Doug – I am also excited about this. I am in! Just let me know what you need from me and I am ready to go… I have been thinking for a long time now that there needs to be another way to “qualify” the education that an individual gets from all of those things OUTSIDE of class… This could be interesting.

    1. Oh good! Well, as I’ve been trying to convey, this is self-directed but collaborative, social and informal. It’s kind of halfway between a glorified Twitter hashtag and a MOOC. :-)

  8. Hi Doug, Please count me in. This seems like an amazing opportunity. As my school talks about ‘doing more with less’ This could be just the ticket. 

  9. Hi Doug

    I’m very interested in this. In preparation for an MSc in Multimedia and e-learning, I’ve  completed an OpenLearn unit: creating open educational resources, through which I have discovered more interesting courses ie through Merlot, Moocs.  Also ‘learning’ Mahara out to record information. 

    I’m now clearing out a drawer ready for my badges!! 

    I’m in hospital for a minor op, out on Saturday for 2 week recuperation – perfect timing to learn even more stuff.

  10. Hi Doug, I really like the open badges idea and would like to be involved… however…I’m on holiday during that period and we’re quite busy with launching the new (JISC RSC Scotland) service so not sure how much I’ll be able to contribute. Would still like to be involved if you think it would be possible though!

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