Conference Presentation on Role of Digital Badges in MOOC

Anthony, Elizabeth, Ambrose, G. Alex (2016) “Examining the Role of Digital Badges in a University’s Massive Open Online Course” Association of Authentic, Experiential, and Evidenced-based Learning (AAEEBL) Midwest Regional Conference. Notre Dame, Indiana.

This presentation examines the role of digital badges – an emerging alternative micro-credential – in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Math in Sports (Math) offered by the University of Notre Dame in 2016. Three badges were designed and awarded with an accompanying study.  The study addressed four research questions about the impact of digital badges on MOOC participants, the profile of digital badge pursuers, the perceptions of digital badges, and the ability digital badges have to ensure that MOOCs serve their purpose. We can draw five major conclusions from this research:
1)“MOOC participant” should only describe those who engage with MOOC content
2) MOOC passers are interested in credentials that distinguish them from other course participants
3) MOOC passers do not perceive the digital badge to be equivalent to the verified certificate
4) The majority of MOOC passers are previously-educated, adult males from the United States, but digital badges may be used to diversify the population of MOOC completers
5) MOOC participants need more information about digital badges to fully understand and appreciate their value.

With these conclusions in mind, we offer three design recommendations for badges in MOOCs: create digital badges that recognize, validate, and assess distinct and specialized knowledge or skills gained in the course; distribute more information about the value of digital badges and how to use them; and connect digital badges more directly with social networking sites, particularly LinkedIn.

About the Conference:
The Kaneb Center for Teaching & Learning, in partnership with the Open Badges in Higher Education, is hosting the Association of Authentic Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) Midwest Regional Conference on Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12, 2016. Click here for more details about the conference, program, and registration.

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