About Digital Badges

Micro-credentialing is growing in popularity in higher education and is being used by universities to document student learning as well as faculty/staff professional development. To learn more about badging initiatives across the country, we invite you to explore the resources at the bottom of this page. We will continue to add examples and articles to this section as we encounter news items and articles on the topic. Over the course of developing the FacultyBadges@GVSU program, we build of a collection of student- and faculty-focused exemplary programs. We are happy to share these materials - you may contact any of the program partner offices for additional information.

Why are digital badges being offered for faculty professional development? What’s in it for me?

Faculty are doing amazing things. So many of you are actively engaged in significant learning experiences and innovating in your teaching and scholarship. We want to help (digitally) recognize, validate, and share these efforts. Digital badges simplify the process of keeping track of professional development activities. Instead of maintaining files of paper certificates or letters confirming participation, you can supply a link to your digital badges.

When faculty members earn, display, and share badges, they help draw attention to their engagement in professional development experiences. The FacultyBadges@GVSU program does not simply acknowledge participation in workshops and trainings, but emphasizes accountability and application of new skills. All digital badges require submission of a tangible product - e.g. a completed Blackboard learning module, conference presentation, and/or written reflection.

We have designed a comprehensive professional development program that joins partners from across the university to not only elevate awareness of learning opportunities available to all faculty but to also foster integrative learning. We encourage faculty exploration of new and ongoing learning opportunities that will be more visible and clarified by inclusion in the FacultyBadges@GVSU program. Lastly, the communication among faculty regarding digital badges has the potential to facilitate digital networking and create communities of learning and engagement. In whatever form your lifelong learning takes, we hope that you will consider participating!

How do I earn a badge?

All faculty (tenure-track, affiliate, visiting, part-time) are eligible to participate in our programming and apply to earn a badge. The requirements for every badge are different, but in general there are two fundamental steps:

  • Participate in a badge-eligible event or program offered by the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, University Libraries, or eLearning and Emerging Technologies.

  • Submit evidence of how you have used what you have learned. For example, for the eLearning Foundations Silver badge, faculty participate in the Foundations of Online/Hybrid Course Development and Delivery workshop and create a learning module that is reviewed by peers.

Unless otherwise specified, the deadline for submission of a badge application is the end of the semester after the badge-worthy activity: Fall, Spring/Summer, Winter.

Credly is the badging platform that is used to store, display, share, and manage digital badges. Credly alerts individuals who meet the established criteria via email with instructions on how to accept the badge. The instructions include information about creating an account with Credly. Once accepted, the badge will be publicly available on your profile. If preferred, you can change the visibility of a badge from public to private. Credly displays not only the badge icon but provides additional metadata that describes the accomplishment and the criteria that the earner was required to meet. Credly is free to use and it makes it easy to share badges with individuals and post to personal websites or social media platforms such as LinkedIn. The Pew FTLC provides coordination for Credly. For technology support, please visit the Credly knowledgebase. For helpful guidance on displaying your badge in LinkedIn, visit this Credly page

How was the FacultyBadges@GVSU initiative designed?

The Initiative was designed as a collaborative effort of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, the Robert and Mary Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, and University Libraries. Over the past several years, we have been learning about digital badging best practices, examining micro-credentialing initiatives at other universities, and gathering input from stakeholders across campus. The Badge Council oversees all aspects of the program, including reviewing and approving all badges offered, implementing a badge award workflow, and crafting a communication plan. The Council is committed to upholding the rigor of our professional development offerings, increasing transparency of opportunities across campus, and supporting faculty learning and exploration. You will notice that the highest levels of achievement (gold badges) emphasize faculty collaboration and public dissemination.

The FacultyBadges@GVSU Initiative has an official start date of January 1, 2017. Unfortunately, we are not able to issue badges for professional development accomplishments before that time. 

Where can I learn more about digital badges in higher education?

Diaz, V. & S. Smith. (2014). Educause 7 things you should know about badging for professional development. Educause. https://library.educause.edu/resources/2014/8/7-things-you-should-know-about-badging-for-professional-development

Education Design Lab 21st Century Skills Badging Challenge: How might we capture learning beyond the traditional transcript in ways that are meaningful to employers http://eddesignlab.org/badgingchallenge/

Fain, P. (2016). Digital, verified, and less open: more colleges are issuing digital badges to help their students display skills to employers or graduate programs, and colleges are tapping vendor platforms to create a verified form of the alternative credentials. Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2016. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/08/09/digital-badging-spreads-more-colleges-use-vendors-create-alternative-credentials

Finkelstein, J., E. Knight, and S. Manning. (2013). The potential and value of using digital badges for adult learners. American Institutes for Research. https://lincs.ed.gov/professional-development/resource-collections/profile-716

Grant, S. (2014). What counts as learning: open digital badges for new opportunities. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. https://dmlhub.net/publications/what-counts-learning/

Reid, A. and D. Paster (2016) A digital badge initiative: two years later: The founders of Coastal Carolina University’s digital badge program report on their progress, the response from students and faculty, and what lies ahead. Campus Technology, April 6, 2016.  https://campustechnology.com/Articles/2016/04/06/A-Digital-Badge-Initiative-Two-Years-Later.aspx