Badges have not just motivated students to take a deeper look at the skills they’ve earned. Several institutions also issue badges for professional development.
At Emporia State University in Kansas, badges awarded to faculty who’ve completed a course in online teaching readiness have been viewed online more than any badge the institution offers to students or instructors. “Faculty are parlaying that into potential evidence for tenure and promotions,” says Rob Gibson, director of learning technologies.
Auburn University in Alabama does not specifically mandate professional development. So, Lindsay Doukopoulos, assistant director of the university’s Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, launched a badging program in April 2017 to incentivize participation in the university’s workshops.
But completing a workshop doesn’t automatically result in a badge. “Faculty have to give us data or other artifacts that show how they’re using what they’ve learned in professional development programs,” Doukopoulos says.
Badges are also a big part of the Association of College and University Educators’ concerted effort to improve the teaching skills of higher ed faculty. The association, which has several higher ed partners, awards badges to faculty who complete 25 modules in its online course in effective classroom practices.
All of the badges add up to a certificate in effective college teaching that’s backed by the American Council on Education.
The University of Southern Mississippi has incorporated the association’s PD program at its faculty development institute. “We’re trying to build recognition throughout because it’s a significant amount of work,” says Amy Chasteen Miller, vice provost for academic affairs.
“We want to distinguish faculty from others who aren’t participating—they can be acknowledged as experts and can serve as resources for other faculty.”