Blackboard partners with Mozilla to support use of digital badges

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blackboard has partnered with Mozilla, an industry leader in promoting openness on the Internet, to support broader use of digital badges and credentials in education. With the partnership, students and faculty can use Open Badges to promote their achievements within Blackboard Learn™ courses and across the Web using Mozilla’s Open Badges Infrastructure, the most widely used format and only open and shared technical standard for badging and credentialing. 

With a new update to Blackboard Learn, students can earn and faculty can assign Open Badges to signal the completion of a course or that key learning milestones have been met. Within a course, students can also view and share earned badges and see how much progress they have made toward requirements for earning new ones. Over half a million teachers and learners using Blackboard’s free, fully hosted CourseSites™ platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs) also have the ability to share earned badges on the platform.

Because the update is achieved through integration with Mozilla’s Open Badges, students can also display badges on their social networking profiles, job search sites or personal Web pages. Using the technical standard, Open Badges show how skills can build off each other and how the accumulation of earned badges show a complete view of a person’s skills and achievements. Additionally, Open Badges are digitally signed and verified, and the description and criteria for earning the badge are digitally encoded for others to see. 

“There is huge interest in finding new ways to measure and certify learning and mastery of concepts,” said Jessica Finnefrock, senior vice president for product development at Blackboard. “We want to give educators and students high quality options to experiment with badging and credentialing, and by working with Mozilla we’re doing it in a way that helps them measure competency and share achievements not just in their online courses but across the Web.”

“We’re proud to be partnering with Blackboard on this initiative,” said Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla. “Just as it has with the rest of the economy, the Internet is opening radical new approaches in learning. Open Badges are a part of this. They let people learn and show off their skills anywhere.”

This fall, Blackboard, Mozilla, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) and Sage Road Solutions will convene a national dialogue to explore badges as a currency for job seekers, learning providers and employers and the effective use of badges as a bridge between postsecondary education and the workplace. The six-week MOOC will bring together each of the organizations’ expertise as well as notable thought leaders in competency-based learning and assessment, 21st century skills, higher education accreditation and policy, and workforce skills standards. Course topics will include badge system design and implementation, funding and policy implications, and generating ecosystems of learners, educators, and employers around innovations in badging. To sign up for the course, please visit https://badges.coursesites.com/.

“Badges are going to transform processes for documenting mastery of knowledge, skills and competences leading to a high value credential,” said Ellen Wagner, executive director of WCET. “We are very pleased to help accelerate the conversation.”

For more information about Blackboard Learn, please visit http://www.blackboardlearn.com/new  or follow @Blackboard and #BbLearn on Twitter.