Badges – What did I learn until now in the OpenBadgesMOOC?

We got many literature links – some of them I put in the Delicious-Account. I was very impressed by the article „Genealogy of Badges“ by Alex Halavais – „badge“ may be a term with a whole lot of different meanings when you talk about it with different people. I also read some Higher Ed articles, but I don’t feel that it was what I was looking for.

Instead I focussed on something else. We heard a lot about the advantages of badges for learners until now, and I was curious how you could show your badges to others once you had earned them. So I created an account at mozilla backpack and tried to upload some badges I’d earned in a prior MOOC. I was lucky that I still had access to the prior MOOC platform and could download the badges (because at the time I didn’t pay much attention to badges and didn’t even download them). Once I uploaded them on mozilla backpack and put one in a collection to share (example 1), I was suprised that the website gave no sign of my name and I had to write instead something meaningful after clicking on „Edit this page“. So far so good. You could click on the criteria or evidence link and still didn’t get the information of my name. When I talked about badges with a colleague of mine the next day, he told me that my badge png file which was shown on the page contained kind of sensitive personal information which you could easily access just by putting the png file in the Windows text editor. And finally there was my name in it. Therefore, I got the strange feeling that normally you wouldn’t know what’s in the badge you’ve earned because the mozilla backpack display doesn’t offer this information but that everyone could download just the png and easily look into the complex metadata. The badges I’d tested were technically issued via a Moodle platform and I was curious if other badges looked and behaved differently.
My colleague told me of an easy way to get a badge for reading a paper about open badges and so I tried this one. This was totally different because I couldn’t download a png but just put it in my backpack via the issuing server. This png file didn’t contain any metadata, at least not in the image file (example 2).

Today I started as a participant in a German management MOOC and all the participants who had enrolled got a participant badge we could download as a png file. I was glad to have another test object, but then I was surprised that mozilla backpack didn’t accept it and instead gave the error message „Image does not have any baked in data.“ (so there is no example 3)

My tests with only three different badge issuers and three totally different results (which were all not so satisfying) left me with the first impression that there is much work to do.

When I logged into the Open Badges MOOC platform some minutes ago, I saw a new announcement about getting help with making badges and something about participant badges (another test object for me?) – this could be interesting. And I’ve still got to write my first forum entry. After I had realized that the badge challenge acitivities were beyond me (as I haven’t plans to implement a badge system) and on the other hand I knew too little about badges to write forum posts, I missed writing something in each of my group introduction forums. So that’s one task for tomorrow.