Several months ago, I was sharing with my husband that Grantham University will be running a pilot on these digital badges in some of our business courses. He was a bit confused. He didn’t quite understand the idea of a digital badge. What is a digital badge ... and why is it important?
I explained that a digital badge is something students can put into their digital backpacks, something that demonstrates they achieved an educational accomplishment. He said to me, without hesitation, “Are they like pieces of flair?”
“YES! Yes, digital badges at Grantham are your educational pieces of flair.”
A Flair for Education
If you have seen the movie Office Space, you may recall the scene in which Jennifer Aniston's character is having a conversation with her boss about the “flair” on her suspenders. “People," he says, "can get a cheeseburger anywhere. They come to Chotchkie’s for the atmosphere and the attitude and that’s what the flair is about.” To him, “flair” is a way she can express herself to her customers and colleagues.
The Grantham Digital Badges will serve a very similar purpose. But more than simply a way to "express" themselves, these badges will demonstrate the skills and achievements they have earned during their educational journey to friends, family, colleagues and even future employers.
The Digital Badge Revolution
Digital badges are a revolution in higher education and corporate America. Research has shown digital badges increase student participation, grades and student success.
At Grantham, the Mark Skousen School of Business is piloting our Digital Badge program from April to October in 2016. Offered in six business programs, these badges will demonstrate a progression of skills and achievements a student should learn in these courses about the discipline of marketing.
For example, in BA101 – Introduction to Business, students can earn the “Marketing Basics” badge by achieving 70% or higher on the Week 1 and Week 4 discussion and earning an 80% or higher on the Week 1 and Week 4 assignment. Each course has its own set of discussion and assignment requirements.
In addition to BA101, courses with badge opportunities in the pilot program include:
- BA181 – Foundations of Marketing
- BA280 – Consumer Behavior
- BA330 – Marketing Communications
- BA440 – Marketing Analysis
- BA460 – Public Relations
The cool part of this program is that students can show off their achievements online through Mozilla Backpack.
Once earned, badges can be displayed on social networking profiles, job search sites or personal web pages. Let’s say a student exports the “Marketing Basics” badge to LinkedIn. Later, a potential employer comes across the badge. Clicking it gives the employer a description of the specific skills and achievements the student accomplished to earn it. It's like a digital credential.
The badge movement continues to gain credibility and momentum with universities, students and employers. At Grantham, we're excited to be a part of this educational revolution.
Students interested in the digital badge pilot – and in learning about the specific courses piloting the program – should reach out to their student advisors.