Micro-Credentialing System Unveiled for Students to Develop, Market Skills
Starting this summer, students at St. Francis College (SFC) will be able to earn digital badges in a variety of skills and share them with the outside world, giving them an edge in the job market or when applying to graduate school. Moreover, students will be able to keep their badges after they leave SFC — and earn new ones as part of their professional development and journey as lifelong learners.
What is a digital badge?
Digital badges are web-based versions of credentials that can be displayed, accessed and independently verified online. With origins in the video-game industry, digital badges are becoming increasingly popular in higher education, as they permit students to showcase abilities, specializations, certifications, achievements and other measurable learning outcomes. Badges can be displayed on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, or on a résumé to verify professional or technical expertise.
“Badges are a signature piece of SFC’s co-curricular learning initiative, which will direct students to the most useful structured learning activities while demonstrating how these experiences complement academic coursework as an integral part of a student’s educational journey,” explained Molly Mann, Director of the Center for Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE). “As co-curricular badging develops throughout the College, students will be able to earn badges along four co-curricular pathways — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Global Citizenship; Professional Development; and Service-Oriented Leadership — that highlight internships, global opportunities and community involvement alongside the College’s formal curriculum.”
SFC partnered with Badgr to develop its micro-credentialing system, which allows faculty members and other academic staff to seamlessly create a badge and award it upon successful completion of the corresponding program. A Badgr-based Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) will collect students’ marketable skills in the form of badges and credentials. Students determine how to organize their CLR and whether to make it public or private. Consumers of the records, such as potential employers, can click on any badge or credential to see details about the work it represents, how the skill was assessed and what pathway the student took to earn it.
“We believe the gamified aspect of the electronic badge system will help us engage our current generation of students and incentivize them to develop an array of skills,” said Benjamin Ciesinski, Assistant Director of Co-Curricular Learning at SFC. “The badges let students visualize and better understand the skills they’ve developed and share them with potential employers.”
SFC’s co-curricular badging initiative is funded through a $2 million U.S. Department of Education Title III Strengthening Institutions Program grant awarded to the College in October 2020. The grant helps higher-education institutions expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, management and fiscal stability. SFC is applying the grant money to a variety of areas across the institution, in addition to co-curricular learning.
The first digital badge to be rolled out at SFC will be at the New Student Orientations on June 25 and 27 and July 21. It will be one of eight badges that students will earn as part of the First-Year Experience program.
For more on digital badges at SFC, email [email protected].