Last November, Warner librarians began brainstorming ways to creatively engage Eastern students when teaching them about research and information retrieval. We noticed a growing trend in education to use “gamification” principles in instructional settings. Gamification is the use of game-like techniques applied in a way that motivates people into learning and goal achieving. Digital badges are an example of this.
Mozilla, a leader in this movement, defines a digital badge as
a digital symbol of recognition that […] is useful in representing many things such as experiences, achievements, skills, competencies, learning, associations, interests, community involvement, peer interactions, etc. They can function in formal and informal settings and can lead to new learning opportunities, jobs, community interactions, etc.
The University of Illinois uses digital badging in business courses; the University of Southern California uses them in their service-learning program; and Seton Hall University uses digital badges during new student orientation. This month, Concordia University announced a new program that allows students to earn an online Master’s degree in educational technology, and it includes digital badges built throughout the curriculum to draw out “micro-credentials” while students are in the midst of coursework.
As we discovered the many applications of digital badges, we saw a great opportunity to use them at Eastern. During this past Spring semester, we explored the requirements of bringing a badging system to campus and sketched out a pilot program. Since our desire is to grow this system university-wide, we decided it would be important to involve another department on campus during the pilot. We reached out to the University’s Office for Talent & Career Development and invited them to participate.
Beginning this September, our plan is to pilot a few digital badge earning opportunities-
- Information Literacy badge
- Career Development badge
- Technology Literacy badge
- Information Literacy for Health Students badge
- National Library of Medicine® for the Health Sciences Students badge
Our future goal is to incorporate more campus departments, both academic and student services in nature, in order to grow our badging system. Visit eudigitalbadges.org to see our program.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: Here’s a great informative video on digital badges by the folks at the MacArthur Foundation