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Mahara and Open Badges?

Don Presant's profile picture
Posts: 255

25 August 2011, 11:10 AM

Mozilla Foundation and P2PU's Open Badges project is generating a lot of anyone interested in seeing how it could interoperate with Mahara?  I think this would be a great way to validate learning outside the classroom.

Please respond to this thread if you're interested. I've opened a conversation with them, and and they're open to partnerships.

Currently funded by the MacArthur Foundation.



"We're building an open platform that will enable anyone to issue, collect and display badges. Providing learners with new ways to get public recognition for their skills and achievements."

The project in a nutshell:

Today's learning happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. But it's often difficult to get credit for it.

Mozilla and Peer 2 Peer University are working to solve this problem by developing an Open Badges infrastructure.

Our system will make it easy for education providers, web sites and other organizations to issue badges that give public recognition and validation for specific skills and achievements.

And provide an easy way for learners tomanage and display those badges across the web -- on their personal web site or resume, social networking profiles, job sites or just about anywhere.

The result: Open Badges will help learners everywhere unlock career and educational opportunities, and regonize skills that traditional resumes and transcripts often leave out.

Andrew Langford's profile picture
Posts: 20

25 August 2011, 7:55 PM

Gaia University at very interested and active in this type of thinking ... plug us in please ...

Don Presant's profile picture
Posts: 255

26 August 2011, 6:24 AM

Sure, Andrew.

Open Badges certainly seems quite consistent with what I can discern of Gaia U's approach to learning from a glance at your website.

I have a teleconference with them next Friday. Yours and other input will be useful.

I'll report back here.

François Marier's profile picture
Posts: 411

28 August 2011, 9:05 PM

I think it's a great initiative and I'd love to see it in Mahara.



Don Presant's profile picture
Posts: 255

29 August 2011, 7:22 AM

Noted, Francois, thanks!

I think Open Badges could help a lot of organizations, even traditional education institutions, if they also believe in Open Education. The learner stories provided help show how the framework can help with learner engagement, Recognition of Prior Learning, employability and Continuing Professional Development.

Graham Attwell, a well-known blogger in the edtech world, has just  published a nicely reasoned post entitled "Open Badges, assessment & Open Education", which also outlines some of the potential issues. It looks like he will soon post another, outlining how Open Badges can support formative assessment (ie assment FOR learning), not just summative assessment (assessment OF learning).

Andrew Langford's profile picture
Posts: 20

29 August 2011, 11:38 AM

The more I investigate the Open Badges project the more I like it - it would, for example, be a great way to give e-portfolio makers using Mahara a staged learning pathway to become a fluent and proficient user - building this e-learning course - how to do Mahara epf's - could be a very nice collaboration in the Mahara community, especially for those of us (like me) who don't have so much of the geeky stuff as part of our skill flex ...

The example of the way P2PU is piloting the badge system for Open Maps makes it clear that this type of learning would be well served by the approach.

And, in general, the badging approach would strengthen the concept of keeping and maintaining a life-long e-portfolio .

Don Presant's profile picture
Posts: 255

30 August 2011, 9:19 AM

Here are some technical notes from their whitepaper about how they cobbled an early version together  (diagram not included)...I'm not sure how Mahara as currently configured would fit with this.




A proof of concept of a federated badge system was developed over two days at the Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona in November 2010. To demonstrate the badge system functionality, the following web applications were built:

  1. A web site capable of issuing badges.
  2. A central hub used to store information about badges.
  3. A badge "Backpack" capable of collecting badges and providing a view of all badges stored in the hub.
  4. A third party web site, such as a personal blog, capable of displaying one or more badges stored in the backpack.

Badges are stored in the user's browser using HTML5 localStorage. In order to address a greater variety of use cases, server-side storage could easily be added if necessary. Badges are encoded using a simple JSON schema that was developed for the demo. The JSON is passed between sites using a Javascript library developed at Mozilla called JSChannel. JSChannel provides an abstraction around postMessage, enabling sites to send and receive information through a hidden iframe. In developing the hub portion of the demo, we wrote a high level API around JSChannel, so that sending and receiving information about badges is as easy as including a Javascript library and calling a function.

For the purpose of the demo, a site issuing a badge uses a simple Javascript API to push information about a badge into the hub. The Badge Backpack retrieves this information from the hub using the same API and presents the user with a visual interface displaying all of their badges. Any site wishing to display a subset of the user's badges can do so by requesting information from the hub using the Javascript API. The end result is that sites issuing badges or displaying badges do not need to know anything about each other — they are only concerned with exchanging information with the hub.

Details about verification and identity were intentionally ignored, mostly due to time restrictions. To address issues of badge authenticity, there are plans to extend the demo to include a mechanism that those sites displaying badges can use to confirm that the user is a legitimate holder of the badge.

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 41

08 September 2011, 4:59 AM

In we are very interested

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