Towards a typology of open badges

The TLC webinar debate around open badges with Prof. Ale Armellini organised by Dr Rod Cullen and Calum Thomson on the 26th of October 2015, brought  different voices together to debate about open badges in an higher education context.

I am grateful to the above and colleagues who participated in the webinar for creating this thinking and inquiry space and especially Ale for challenging  and stretching me.

All related information about the open badges debate can be found following the links

All posts collectively linked to the open badges debate with resources can be accessed at https://tlcwebinars.wordpress.com/category/open-badges/

Final thoughts…

Multiple uses of open badges
Usually we hear about open badges in the context of skills development. In my view, there is the potential to use them in much more versatile ways, I am sure, we will come up with further ideas for open badges applications as their use spreads further across  informal and formal, lifelong and lifewide, organised and practice-based learning and development.

Open badges are digital stickers with metadata that can be shared easily via the Internet.

Using the Guildford’s Alternative Uses Task (1967) technique developed to measure creativity, I have started synthesising the versatile use of open badges thanks to the TLC debate and propose the below typology of badges. This typology emerged out of practice and is the result of how we have used so far open badges in the context of informal and formal professional development of academics and other professionals who teach or support learning in higher education since 2014 in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in informal collaboration with colleagues from other institutions and open education initiatives such as BYOD4L, TLC, FOS, LTHEchat, FLEX, Greenhouse etc.

 

Towards a typology of open badges

Momento: Badges can be evidence that we have been at a conference, at an event.

Community: Badges can evidence belonging to a community.

Recognition: Badges can be used to recognise contributions in the context of a course, learning activity, event, community etc. that stand out.

Achievement: Badges can be awarded for meeting specific criteria or standards in a variety of learning situations.

Playfulness: Badges can be awarded during playful learning activities as points and marking milestones.

 

Examples from practice linked to the above, are provided in my presentation from the debate. See below.

Anybody with Internet access, familiar with the idea and concept of badges and the badging ecosystem can award and be awarded badges by individuals, groups, institutions organisations, as well as self-create and issue these.

Badges can be awarded by institutions, organisations, groups, communities and networks, as well as by individuals. Individuals and groups can also award badges to themes elves turning them into useful self-motivators of the above typology.

These thoughts are still at an embryonic phase and your comments and suggestions are very welcome. My thinking will continue develop and change as we collect more evidence of their use and usefulness.

“Because something isn’t valued, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any value”

Thank you Ale, Rod, Calum and all!

Chrissi Nerantzi

 

Happy 2nd Birthday Dear Open Education Europa Portal! @OpenEduEU

2cakes

finger doodle made with the free version of Sketches

Open education makes us feel less lonely, more connected with ourselves, others and ideas wherever they are or come from. Open education gives us fresh hope, courage and wings to experiment, create and innovate, with others; to collaborate and develop valuable partnerships that help us move forward. This is how I see things.

The Open Education Europa Portal has become a valuable hub for such activities across Europe. It is a vibrant place to share practices, projects and research, as well as connect with like minded-people. Push the boundaries and make the otherwise impossible possible, to advance knowledge but more importantly to build cultural bridges that connect us more deeply as human beings, bring us closer together and transform our lives.This is the real value of open education for me. 

The Open Education Europa Portal has become a really useful source for me over the last two years to keep up-to-date with Europe-wide initiatives, pioneers and their work and related research. Some of the initiatives I have created with colleagues have been added to the database of open offers and I am grateful for this. I also had the opportunity to participate remotely in the Education in the Digital Era Conference back in 2014 which was a great experience and enabled me to be there and be part of the conference without actually being there. A fantastic CPD  opportunity from my armchair… so to speak. After discovering and starting reading with great interest the plethora of eLearning papers, colleagues and I actually submitted our own work for one of the recent issues around our open facilitator work linked to BYOD4L (Nerantzi, Middleton & Beckhingham, 2014) which consequently led to the creation of the Open Facilitator Project supported by CELT, Manchester Metropolitan University, the Open Knowledge Foundation and Carol Yeager a dear colleague and collaborator from the U.S. You never know where ideas will take you and this is truly fascinating.

There are still opportunities to do more, I feel, on the Open Education Europa Portal to take it to the next level perhaps. As an open practitioner, researcher and PhD student in open academic development,I would really like to see and help develop the following which have the potential to make a difference to all of us, I think. Some of my  ideas follow:

1. A community of open practitioners coming together that will help us find each other and identify opportunities for fruitful collaborations to advance learning, teaching, research, living and working.

2. Emerging open educational practices outside MOOCland often non-funded are often still in the shadow. I would like to see these supported, shared and showcased more so that we can celebrate a wider variety of open practices.We would, for example love to find collaborators from across Europe for our open professional development courses and initiatives for teachers in higher education, such as BYOD4L, FOS, #creativeHE and the #LTHEchat.

3. Find ways to promote cross-institutional collaborations in the area of open education that are sustainable and have a life beyond any funding cycles and create rich opportunities for exchange and learning beyond boundaries.

4. Create a hub for PhD students in open education across Europe (perhaps Prof. Martin Weller and his colleagues at the OER Research Hub could help with this? Just a few days ago, Dr Bea de los Arcos from Martin’s team made me aware of the GO-GN Global OER Graduate Network at http://go-gn.net/ could links be made, initiatives to be joined-up?) that forms a valuable peer support network (it is true that PhD students often feel that they are working in isolation), fosters sharing of exciting emerging research and findings that will be of interest to other researchers but also enables new collaborations to emerge.

5. … and a secret wish I have and had actually added to my original PhD proposal back in 2012 was to develop a cross-institutional Teaching Qualification for Higher Education with partners from HE in the UK. But what stops us working towards such a Europe-wide.initiative? Am I too ambitious or is it worth exploring this idea together? Please get in touch if you think we can make this happen!

Would love to work more closely with colleagues from Open Education Europa and make ideas happen, together, in collaboration.

  • We know that the future is collaborative. It is happening already.
  • Let’s build on what connects us!
  • Be creative, share and innovate with others!
  • Let’s celebrate together who we are and what we can achieve together!

Visit the Open Education Europa Portal today to seize the opportunities! Become part of Open Education Europa and explore the possibilities for a more open, creative and connected Europe.

The 1st Open Education Europa Week is between September 28th – October 2nd, 2015. How will you contribute? We start a brand new open course on the 28th around Creativity for Learning in higher education! Join us here.

It would be wonderful if this could be the beginning of a conversation. Thank you for reading.

Chrissi (Nerantzi)
Creative Commons License
Happy 2nd Birthday Dear Open Education Europa Portal! by Chrissi Nerantzi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

I received an invite from Open Education Europa to create this clip and become an Open Education Europa Fellow. Please note,  am NOT a Professor as the term used in the UK and shown on the official clip you will find here.

it is over, but is it the end? week 4 #openresearch

Monday evening and feeling extremely guilty. Not just any Monday evening. Monday evening after the Open Research course finished. Dark, wet and cold outside. I felt the need to capture my final thoughts and here they come.

guilty… but not pleasures… image source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3620/3563571968_b03fcf686d_z.jpg

Internal guilt as I didn’t really engage (as much) as I thought I would. As much in brackets as it could be left out? Trying to link quality and quantity but failed miserable on both… My commitment was at its highest before the course started. There was excitement and fireworks… Then it went down hill… reality hit. I tried to cling on and I did… somehow I made it to the end but what about the journey? It was lonely, even when I was at some point trying to convince myself that it was ok… Looking back now, I think it wasn’t ok. If I had reached out, I would have felt much more connected with the course and most importantly with others. This would have kept me going and probably would have learned much more than I did on my own… But I didn’t… as I felt that I missed the initial train and then it was too late? Is this another excuse? It is never too late!!! I am trying to analyse why I just didn’t make this little bit of extra effort… it is really disappointing. But I did engage with the resources and I did reflect here.

Some people might have read some of the stuff… or at least looked at some of the pictures. I didn’t look at anybody else’s… just not good, not good enough. But is good enough, enough? I don’t know, I don’t think so. We can only get out of something, what we put in. And I didn’t really put much into this. I am not sure it matters that this was open and it was just so so so so easy to just jump in and start learning. But then again it wasn’t… as I experienced. My head is full of excuses and explanations. I don’t think any of them are good enough or real? Or are they? Thinking now, what would have made the difference, I think it is the personal hook, a buddy, we would go through this together. So, yes, I have to admit that I missed a buddy. I think also, that my internal motivation wasn’t probably strong enough to go on this journey on my own? Could this be possible? I think it is very possible. If there was somebody there, we could have gone on this journey together, to support each other, to push each other?

And this other thing, I tried to convince myself in another post about invisible participation… not sure anymore. This really does sound like a cheap excuse now… but there are people out there who prefer to learn like this… I don’t! I like to share, I like to discuss, I like to debate, to challenge and be challenged. I think this is what I missed. You can’t do that by reading or looking at some resources. I guess to some extent you can as you would reflect and then perhaps bring people in that way? But it is not the same to have a proper conversation… and the personal connection make these conversations more meaningful and deeper, I think.

Right, so what did I learn?

  • I learnt that I have a lot to learn about open research.
  • There will always be more to learn. But that is fine.
  • I learnt that I like to learn with a study buddy, maybe more when my motivation is not that high.
  • I learnt a little bit more about open data and
  • I learnt that I have many more questions…

The course helped me develop new ideas and a new project is now taking off the ground that traveled with me for some time now… It is actually going to happen soon and I am excited about it.

Thank you to all organisers. A lot of hard work has gone into this. It would be very interesting to gain an insight into the facilitators thoughts about the course and where it will take their thinking. It definitely helped me make some valuable discoveries about myself and also reflect on my own research.

This is NOT the end… it is another new beginning…

The open bug: a story of collaboration and resurrection

Open Education week 2014 has come to an end but open educators are open and share their work openly all year round. The week was a festival of celebrations around the globe with opportunities to share, connect and learn with others and find out what open education is all about but also stop for a while and reflect on the value of being open and sharing experiences, resources, expertise but also ideas that truly grow and evolve when we come together. There was a buzz in the air, I could feel it in the digital jungle but also in the physical one when I visited places and interacted with others.

Is open education giving away stuff and letting others use our ideas freely without any restrictions or even trample on our ideas and forget their origin, their history? Some might see it that way. I don’t.

For me open education is a great opportunity to share our learning with others, to help others and be helped but also to give something back to society. It is a celebration of human discoveries, stories, achievements, creativity and innovations, of any scale, even the tiniest one that might be of value for others. Open education has the potential to lead to personal and collective growth; to new explorations, new adventures. Together we can achieve loads. Loads more than on our own. I read somewhere that ideas live longer when they are shared. It must be true. But, I think, they don’t just live longer, they also grow in different directions. A seed can grow into an exotic plant, that will then multiply following the cycle of life and evolve into something else. Birth, growth, death, renewal. I really think sharing is the fertiliser of ideas! Respectful sharing! Sharing keeps ideas alive. Sharing is also an ideas generator. Sharing is vital for humanity and has led us where we are today. Sharing makes us who we are, creates our paths for the future, our destinies.

Our minds are magic machines, like no other and our imaginations are limitless. In our minds we flirt with possibilities and impossibilities and often we let ourselves get lost in these. But we are not just dreamers, we create new realities too. We make things happen and we make things. We make the impossible, possible. We have done this many times and will do so again, many more times. And we love to share the things we make. We always did. Humans always found fulfilment and happiness in sharing. We still do! Perhaps in the olden days, I call them BC, as in before computers, and especially before social media, sharing was more localised and it was harder to discover fresh ideas that were just born in a little village on the other side of the planet by somebody nobody outside the little village knew. Today, we all have a voice, we are all global broadcasters, sharers and makers if we want to be but also learners and  teachers, and we can all share our thoughts, ideas, creations not just with the people who are near us geographically but more often we share with people we feel are near us a-geographically if there is such a word. Technologies at our fingertips are bringing out the social animal and the maker in us and empower us to share many aspects of our lives with a much wider audience, find alias at the edge of the world that remind us that we are not alone in our thoughts… Especially creative people, I think, who are driven by their curiosity to discover and connect, to play and explore, have become global adventurers and benefited the most from seeking and creating opportunities to reach out and connect, experiment and collaborate with like minded people wherever they are which creates a sense of belonging within vibrant networks and communities. We perhaps feel also less lonely knowing that there are other people out there who push the boundaries,  take risks, use their imagination and creativity to collaborate and innovate. It gives us strength to keep moving and move on. Could this sense of belonging be the true value of opening-up, connecting and sharing with others?

During Open Education Week, our open FDOL course developed by myself and Lars Uhlin was underway, week 5 out of 6, I was invited by Dr David Walker to share some of my open education projects at an HEA event  at Sussex University.

I engaged in other open events during the week and really enjoyed Cathrine Cronin‘s and Sheila MacNeill‘s webinar around the open educator.

I managed also to watch the recording of another interesting and highly useful webinar for my PhD research especially, by Terese Bird and Prof. Grainne Conole.

On top of all that activity, travelling up and down the country and my normal working life (and my personal and family life as well!!!), I came up with the idea to offer another 5-Day course with a twist during the week. Not that I had time for this on top of everything else I was doing already, but I couldn’t stop myself… and I made the time.

I have asked myself many times what happened to OERs and stand-alone courses available under a Creative Commons licence in repositories and other digital locations and was keen to explore how these could potentially be repurposed. My idea was to use a ready-made, off-the shelf course and bring together a team of volunteer facilitators to enable interaction and support learning plus add a few synchronous happenings to the offer. From my work as an academic developer I have seen far too often that educators focus on content. Their prep often means putting a PowerPoint together and lecture notes. What do we forget? The interaction? Our learners? Content is everywhere!!! And I am not a walking encyclopedia to know everything, not even in my own professional area. Things change too rapidly and mountains of new knowledge are created as we speak. Is it actually possible to know everything and is it actually even needed?

During the OER13 Conference I heard Darco Jansen say:

Content is not education, interaction is!

These words were extremely powerful and stayed with me since.

But also it isn’t really about us and what we do but more about what our learners do and how we can facilitate learning and support them but also learn with them. Often we also feel restricted when given somebody else’s materials to use in our classes. We want to make and use our own and I have been thinking about this before as a possible cause for the reduced re-use and re-purposing of OER? But I might make a massive assumption here and this is not good. So please interpret this more as a question that needs to be explored further. Well I wanted to put this to the test and almost proof, if you like, that we seem to focus on the wrong things! Is learning really about the content? We say it isn’t but what are we doing about it? I had already located a suitable course for this experiment which was waiting patiently in my Diigo collection for some time now to be used… when Paul Booth, made an announcement the week before that he would launch his newly created Northwest OER Network during Open Education Week and put a call out for suggestions of network activities to the steering group, I proposed my open course idea or the hijacking if you like of an existing stand-alone course and breath interaction, facilitation and support into it but also enable facilitators to develop and grow. So learning and development opportunities for all! Could this work? The course I proposed was developed by Dr David Wiley and available within p2pu Intro to Openness in Education. Accessing the course, didn’t even require registration which was an added bonus. The themes and resources in this course presented opportunities for flexible engagement also so that anybody who participated could pick ‘n’ mix and engage as much or as little as they would like or was possible at the time. I was pleased that my idea was well received by the steering group and led to the development and implementation during Open Education Week. This was speed course building in action and required concentrated commitment. What a thrill. Previously with Sue Beckingham, we worked for 3 months to develop BYOD4L now we had only a few days. Could we make it work? As Paul embraced it I decided that we could run it together under the Northwest OER Network. I wanted to help Paul raise awareness of his new and important network for the region and also secured support from CELT. In no time, we managed to get 13 volunteer facilitators in total from 3 different continents through our networks and together, we created a facilitated version of the existing course and offered it during Open Education Week. We didn’t have to worry about content and my take on it was that participants would anyway share their own resources, much nicer that providing everything ready on the plate, so to speak.  Anne Hole also shared her collaborative flipboard and invited others to contribute useful resources and links. We used a buddy system for facilitators who worked in pairs during the week, most of them. We had done this before with Sue and it worked really well. We also created a private community for facilitators to come together to support each other and shared a Google doc folder with related information to co-ordinate activities. We focused on creating daily opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous interactions in different social spaces and our main question was how we could bring learners together. There were discussions, open air hangouts, an external webinar led by Prof. Martin Weller (blog post, presentation and recording available here) and tweetchats.

I think, the tweetchats created most of the buzz. We used the tweetchat format developed by Sue Beckingham for our BYOD4L course and it worked really well. The tweetchats brought facilitators and some individuals from the wider community together on 3 days of the week. The exchange was rich and I could see that the chats generated more questions than answers, which I think, us a good thing. I really would love to investigate why tweetchats seem to work so well. What makes them work? The week was intense, a roller coaster, a fantastic and exciting experience. Peter Reed created daily visualisations of our tweet tags based on Martin Hawskey‘s tags explorer and many of us used Stori.fy to bring the tweetchats together. There is no way, any of this would have been possible without Paul Booth, my partner in crime, Carol Yeager, Anne Hole, Helen Webster, Betty Hurley-Dasgupta, Sue Beckingham, Kathrine Jensen, Peter Reed, Lenandlar Singh, Simon Thomson, Alex Spiers, Neil Currie and all who joined us during the week. We are grateful for the commitment and passion they showed to this last-minute project and their engagement and exchange. Thank you all!

My next open experiment leads me to an even more playful adventure and an open curriculum… I won’t be doing this on my own, so much richer when we share the journey with others 😉

If you are new to all this open stuff,  don’t be quick to dismiss it, give it a go! Identify a mini-opportunity to open-up and connect one of your classes with the outside world and help your students connect with people out there to enrich their learning experience further and make it authentic. It will also be fab for you as you will make new connections with educators around the world and feel part of a wider community.

Remember sharing is good for all of us. But do it properly!

Remember not just to take but also to give back and if you build your ideas on somebody else’s, add proper  attribution! Give a little something back today and consider sharing your open creation via JORUM with others and see your ideas growing.

Did you catch the open bug? Share your story with me.

Note: A newer version of this post has been published in the June 2014 edition of the Lifewide Magazine. See http://www.lifewidemagazine.co.uk/ I am adding the references below.

Thank you for stopping by and reading 😉

Chrissi

References (of Lifewide Magazine version of this post)

Conole, G. (2013) Designing for learning in an Open World, London: Springer.
European Commission (2013) High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education. Report to the European Commission on Improving the quality of teaching and learning in Europe’s higher education institutions, European Union, available at http://ec.europa.eu/education/higher-education/doc/modernisation_en.pdf [accessed 21 November 2013]
Jackson, N. J. (2013) Learning Ecology Narratives in N Jackson and G B Cooper (Eds) Lifewide Learning, Education and Personal Development E-Book. Chapter C4 available at: http://www.lifewideebook.co.uk/ [accessed 30 March 2014]
Jackson, N. J. (2014a) Lifewide Learning and Education in Universities & Colleges: Concepts and Conceptual Aids, in N.J.Jackson and J. Willis (Eds) Lifewide Learning and Education in Universities and Colleges. Chapter A1, available at:http://www.learninglives.co.uk/e-book.html [accessed 30 March 2014]

Jackson, N. J. (2014b) Towards a lifewide curriculum, in: Willis, J. (ed.) Lifewide Magazine, Issue 9, March 2014, available at http://www.lifewidemagazine.co.uk/ [accessed 30 March 2014]
Nerantzi, C. & Beckingham, S. (2014) BYOD4L – Our Magical Open Box to Enhance Individuals’ Learning Ecologies, in:  Jackson, N. & Willis, J. (eds.) Lifewide Learning and Education in Universities and Colleges E-Book, avaialable at http://www.learninglives.co.uk/e-book.html [accessed 30 March 2014]
Redecker, C. & Punie, Y. (2014) The Future of Learning 2025: Developing a vision for change, in: Future Learning, Volume 2, Number 1, Baltzer Science Publishers, pp. 3-17,available at http://essential.metapress.com/content/q446811434mp6x01/ [accessed 30 March 2014]
Weller, M. (1011) The Digital Scholar. How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice, London: Bloomsbury Academic
Wiley, D. & Hilton, J. (2009) Openness, Dynamic Specialization, and the Disaggregated Future of Higher Education, in: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 10, Number 5, 2009, pp. 1-16., available at http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/768 [accessed 30 March 2014]