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OLDS-MOOC badging strategy

posted Nov 14, 2012, 4:06 AM by Rebecca Galley   [ updated Nov 29, 2012, 9:17 AM by Yishay Mor ]
We've drafted our badging strategy for the olds-mooc and are now starting work on integrating the badges into the design. Let us know what you think :-)  (

OLDS-MOOC Badging strategy


The OLDS-MOOC project team anticipates that the introduction of badging into the OLDS-MOOC will have a three-fold impact.

o   Firstly, that participants will feel more motivated to complete the MOOC, and that the approach will to some extent manage the high drop-out rates commonly experienced in open online courses.

o   Secondly, that participants will be encouraged to push their practice beyond the central learning design journey ‘story-arc’ that the MOOC presents, and engage in the more challenging aspects of learning design practice. For example in terms of their engagement with a wider community, and development of their identity and responsibilities within, across and beyond that community.

o   Finally, it is hoped that badging will encourage participants to add links to their activity outputs in Cloudworks. This is thought particularly important in the context of this MOOC because it uses a distributed network of 3rd party tools rather than a central repository. It is hoped that encouraging the collation of links to participant outputs will better enable finding and sharing of outputs with other participants, and also will support the OLDS-MOOC project team in their evaluation activities.


Basic Mozilla badging functionality has been written into Cloudworks which will allow anyone to create and award a Mozilla badge. Awarded badges will appear on the user’s Cloudworks profile page. Users are required to input a badge name, description, an image file and verification criteria. Badge creators can then choose between two approval processes:

  1. Specify a set of users who can approve or reject badge applications
  2. The badge is awarded if a specified number of users on the site approve it (add number of users who must approve)

It is anticipated that the first option will be used where the criteria are identified as ‘product’ outputs (e.g. “create and share an OER”) and the second where the criteria are related to process (e.g. “engage in and reflect on a process of collaborative design with 2 or more other designers”). However, it is up to the badge creator to choose the appropriate approval process – for example predicted number of badge applicants may well influence the choice of approval process.

In the spring of 2013, we hope to be able to add a third approval process type based on Cloudworks activity (i.e. a badge is received when 10 people favourite your work, or when you have set up 10 Clouds, made 50 comments etc) however given time and resource constraints - and the distributed nature of the course (not all participants will choose to use Cloudworks) - this was considered of less immediate value to the MOOC and so is unlikely to be added in time for the MOOC.


Figure 1: Screen shot of the create a badge page


In order to apply for a badge, users click on the badge they want to apply for, read the criteria and add a URL link to their evidence. The evidence might sit in a Cloud or elsewhere e.g.  Blog, Flickr, Slideshare etc. An email is then sent to the verifiers (if approval process 1 has been chosen) or if approval process 2 has been chosen, the user then invites peers to approve their badge (i.e. via Cloudworks messaging, email or Twitter etc).

On the badging homepage users can see their own badge applications and any pending badge applications. Once the badge has been successfully awarded, the applicant will receive an email letting them know.

Figure 2: Screen shot of badge application page

OLDS-MOOC badging

The positioning and number of the badges is likely to be a very important factor in ensuring that the anticipated impacts outlined above are achieved. It is proposed that there will be 9 badges in total which will fall into four broad categories (Endeavour, Achievement, Practice and 'Hotshot' (!)) as described in the table below.








Encourage participants to continue to engage with the course over a period of time

1 week

Participant has engaged in (any) 1 week of the OLDS-MOOC

3 weeks

Participant has engaged in (any) 3 weeks of the OLDS-MOOC

6 weeks

Participant has engaged in (any) 7 weeks of the OLDS-MOOC




Encourage participants to share key learning design outputs

‘Learning designer’

Learning/ curriculum design completed and openly shared

‘OER developer’

OER created/ remixed and openly (re)shared




Encourage participants to extend and develop their open learning design practice

‘Resource gatherer’

Participant adds at least 5 new LD resources to the LD resource bank


Participant works effectively in a design team or study group, and reflects on the group design process


Participant critically reviews the designs of 2 others and gives constructive feedback



(gold and sparkly)

Encourage participants to engage in all aspects of the OLDS-MOOC

Achieved when all other badges won



Table 1: Proposed distribution of badges for the OLDS-MOOC

These 4  broad categories emerged from a discussion with Simon Cross (who is planning to blog about some of the theory, assumptions and principles we've been using in more detail here soon) and directly relate to the intended/ anticipated impacts described above. Do you think these badges will have the impacts they are intended to? Are there any badges that you would like to see that don’t appear (if so what impact would you expect the badge to have on participant behaviour/ learning)? Is the number of badges about right?