About the proof of concept
Following the publication of the Whitepaper Open badges and microcredentials in 2016, educational institutions showed a great deal of interest in gaining experience in the use of badges. The aim of the PoC was to develop an infrastructure that would make it technically possible to create, issue, receive and validate edubadges. From September 2017 until May 2018, nine institutions experimented with creating and issuing edubadges within this infrastructure developed by SURF.
The PoC made it clearer as to which individuals institutions need to involve and what they require in order to be able to award digital badges. To make this work, a vision on flexible education is essential above all else, both at the level of education and the institution and with regards to the educational system as a whole. Students are not familiar with badges; they need to know what benefits the badges offer and how they can use them. With regard to infrastructure, there are challenges in the area of technology, privacy and security. During the PoC no experience was acquired with the badges consumers: employers of other educational institutions.
The next step: pilot project
To follow up on the PoC, SURF is organizing a pilot project from September 2018 to summer 2019. The project will make use of an upgraded version of the infrastructure. This infrastructure contains new features that were requested by the institutions during the PoC.
Badges are digital indicators (images) that prove the recipient possesses certain knowledge or skills. The image contains digital information about the issuer and value of the badge. This information cannot be copied or amended. Three parties are always involved in the badge process: the badge issuer, the badge earner and the badge consumer.
- The badge issuer: the educational institution that issues the badge
- The badge earner: the student that earns the badge
- The badge consumer: the employer of other higher educational institution that can read online the criteria for awarding the badge and verify that the badge has been issued by the institution specified in the image.