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In 2015, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education carried out a review of non-accredited professional development and found that a range of ever-widening CPD opportunities offered across HE institutions and the teaching and learning landscape were similar.

 

In order to capture the potential of accreditation for these activities, and to ensure that individuals had an opportunity for their skills and competencies to be acknowledged, verified, and recorded, it was proposed that they received recognition for completing this form of CPD. Therefore the National Forum undertook, in collaboration with the Higher Education sector, the development of a National Digital Badging System that could be thoughtfully integrated into practice.

What is a digital badge?

A digital badge is a visual representation of a skill, achievement or knowledge gained which can be displayed or shared online via a variety of platforms (e.g. blogs, websites, ePortfolios, social media sites etc.).

Digital badges have metadata embedded which outline information about the badge i.e. the badge issuer, criteria for earning the badge, evidence of achievement, expiration of the badge etc. Those who earn badges can use display platforms such as Open Badge Passport, Mozilla Backpack or Credly, to display their badges online making them available to potential employers, voluntary organisations and other interested parties.

 

Digital badges are commonly used to recognise learning that occurs outside of the classroom e.g. extra/co-curricular activities such as volunteering, mentoring, tutoring, participation in societies and entrepreneurial schemes. Badges can also be integrated into academic programmes and modules where they are linked to a specific skill or seen as a type of ‘micro-credential’ or milestone intended to motivate and encourage learners.

What types of badges will be available?

In December 2016, the National Forum issued a call for submissions to identify teams to develop a digital badge for particular competence clusters as a way for an individual to demonstrate a shared understanding of accomplished outcomes in professional development. They received 75 expressions of interest and identified the following 15 badge areas for badge development.

  • Academic writing in higher education
  • Programme-focused assessment
  • Enabling Student Volunteering
  • Online Teaching: Getting Started
  • Universal Design for Teaching & Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Entrepreneurship
  • PhD Research Supervision
  • Programme Design and Re-Design
  • Intercultural competencies for HEI staff
  • Mentoring in T&L
  • Teaching Strategies for New Lecturers
  • Reflecting on Teaching
  • Policy Development for T&L

Who are these badges for?

These digital badges will be awarded to professionals in higher education who want to develop and obtain recognition for the development of particular skills and knowledge sets relevant to their teaching and learning practice.These digital badges will be awarded to professionals in higher education who want to develop and obtain recognition for the development of particular skills and knowledge sets relevant to their teaching and learning practice.

How much time will be involved?

Each digital badge will represent approximately 25 hours of learner effort. Each badge will have the same components, i.e.:

  • It will identify 4 criteria that must be met to be awarded the badge
  • It will  have a short video outlining the area of development
  • It will provide links to useful websites and resources

It will contain a workshop package that would enable any institution to deliver the PD programme.

Each digital badge will represent approximately 25 hours of learner effort. Each badge will have the same components, i.e.:

  • It will identify 4 criteria that must be met to be awarded the badge
  • It will  have a short video outlining the area of development
  • It will provide links to useful websites and resources

It will contain a workshop package that would enable any institution to deliver the PD programme.

Each digital badge will represent approximately 25 hours of learner effort. Each badge will have the same components, i.e.:

  • It will identify 4 criteria that must be met to be awarded the badge
  • It will  have a short video outlining the area of development
  • It will provide links to useful websites and resources

It will contain a workshop package that would enable any institution to deliver the PD programme.

Each digital badge will represent approximately 25 hours of learner effort. Each badge will have the same components, i.e.:

  • It will identify 4 criteria that must be met to be awarded the badge
  • It will  have a short video outlining the area of development
  • It will provide links to useful websites and resources

It will contain a workshop package that would enable any institution to deliver the PD programme.

Each digital badge will represent approximately 25 hours of learner effort. Each badge will have the same components, i.e.:

  • It will identify 4 criteria that must be met to be awarded the badge
  • It will  have a short video outlining the area of development
  • It will provide links to useful websites and resources

It will contain a workshop package that would enable any institution to deliver the PD programme.

Each digital badge will represent approximately 25 hours of learner effort. Each badge will have the same components, i.e.:

  • It will identify 4 criteria that must be met to be awarded the badge
  • It will  have a short video outlining the area of development
  • It will provide links to useful websites and resources
  • It will contain a workshop package that would enable any institution to deliver the PD programme.

 

Will these badges be recognised across the Higher Education sector?

These badges were developed against nationally agreed criteria, and will be recognised across the sector, thus enabling staff to have mobility within their continuous professional development journey and career advancement; therefore, it is envisioned that official recognition of skills and competencies will move with individuals as they go from one HE context to the next.

What is CIT’s involvement?

Of the 15 badge areas identified, CIT is lead developer on two:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Teaching Strategies for New Lecturers

And are collaborating partners on a further two:

  • Online Teaching: Getting Started
  • Student Engagement

When will these badges be available?

The National Digital Badging System is still under development but the intention is that a schedule will be drawn up for the delivery of the 15 PD workshops that have been developed for the badges and these workshops will take place in late September.

 

So watch this space and keep an eye out for notifications via email, the TLU website news and what’s on sections or on social media.

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