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Nate Otto // June 8, 2015

Digital Badges on the Open edX Platform

Badgr An open-source badge issuing, management, and user achievement tracking platform.

EdX and Concentric Sky have collaborated to incorporate digital badging into the Open edX platform. Following an integration of the Badgr software into a badging MVP on the open edX platform, students will be able to earn badges upon completing a course and share these badges on Mozilla Backpack.

At Concentric Sky, we’re proud to be part of a growing ecosystem around Open Badges. To support the community, we’ve developed Badgr - an open source platform for issuing and managing Open Badges. And we couldn’t ask for a better launch partner for Badgr than edX. Open Badges are visual symbols of students’ accomplishments that they can take with them to display all over the web alongside badges from their other experiences.

When the Open Badges feature is activated, Open edX communicates with Badgr to create and store badge records for each student who completes courses. Open edX administrators can either configure an instance of our open source Badgr Server package or use our free hosted Badgr platform. Every badge issued through Badgr is compatible with the latest version of the Open Badges Open Badges specification, which was created by the Mozilla Foundation to help people connect their learning achievements from all different spheres of their experience. Using the open specification means the badges issued from within Badgr may be moved to or displayed within any other application that understands Open Badges. Users who have earned Open Badges anywhere else on the web can import them into Badgr and build a unified collection of their accomplishments, no matter where they were earned.

Students can store their digital badges, and then present them together with badges earned in other experiences. Open Badges come in the form of an image file they could save on their hard drives or in the cloud. Various cloud platforms, including Badgr for web and mobile, the Mozilla Backpack, and Open Badge Passport are designed to understand metadata “baked” into badge images and verify the authenticity of those badges, so that learners can reliably use these credentials when applying for jobs or demonstrating their competence.

On its part, edX is proud to be collaborating with the Open Badging community and Concentric Sky in particular to herald a fundamental change in the way society recognizes, assesses, motivates and evaluates learning. Digital badges will be an important part of digital credentials on the edX platform. After the completion of this MVP, edX will continue to work towards becoming an issuer of badges for course completion and other incremental achievements for edX courses on edx.org. There are plans to instrument the edX platform to generate badging events for student achievements and do extensive data collection around edX badge usage.

Together, edX and Concentric Sky see some exciting possibilities ahead involving awarding badges for smaller achievements within a course, representing skills and experience gained, and connecting badges in learning pathways that travel through multiple courses.