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Posted in: MOOC Research / Open edX / Platform News

This blog post was originally written for the Concentric Sky blog by Partha Baruah, edX & Nate Otto, Concentric Sky.

EdX and Concentric Sky have collaborated to incorporate digital badging into the Open edX platform.

Following an integration of the Badgr software into our first release of badging functionality on the open edX platform, students will be able to earn badges upon completing a course and share these badges on Mozilla Backpack.

At Concentric Sky, we’re proud to be part of a growing ecosystem around Open Badges. To support the community, we’ve developed Badgr – an open source platform for issuing and managing Open Badges. And we couldn’t ask for a better launch partner for Badgr than edX. Open Badges are visual symbols of students’ accomplishments that are represented digitally. Students can display their badges anywhere on the web alongside badges from their other experiences.

When the Open Badges feature is activated, Open edX communicates with Badgr to create and store badge records for each student who completes courses. Open edX administrators can either configure an instance of our open source Badgr Server package or use our free hosted Badgr platform. Every badge issued through Badgr is compatible with the latest version of the Open Badges specification, which was created by the Mozilla Foundation to help people connect their learning achievements from all different spheres of their experience. Using the open specification means the badges issued from within Badgr may be moved to or displayed within any other application that understands Open Badges. Users who have earned Open Badges anywhere else on the web can import them into Badgr and build a unified collection of their accomplishments, no matter where they were earned.

Students can store their digital badges, and then present them together with badges earned in other experiences. Open Badges come in the form of an image file they can save on their hard drive or in the cloud. Various cloud platforms, including Badgr for web and mobile, the Mozilla Backpack, and Open Badge Passport are designed to understand the metadata associated with the visual representation of any open badge and verify its authenticity, so that learners can reliably use a badge-based credential when applying for jobs or demonstrating their competence.
Open edX 'Course Complete' badge image

For its part, edX is proud to be collaborating with the Open Badging community and Concentric Sky in particular to herald a fundamental change in the way society recognizes, assesses, motivates and evaluates learning. Digital badges will be an important part of digital credentials on the edX platform. After the completion of this first release, edX will continue to work towards becoming an issuer of badges for course completion and other incremental achievements in edX courses on edx.org. There are plans to instrument the edX platform to generate badging events for student achievements and do extensive data collection around edX badge usage.

Together, edX and Concentric Sky see some exciting possibilities ahead involving awarding badges for smaller achievements within a course, representing skills and experience gained, and connecting badges in learning pathways that travel through multiple courses.