The Open SUNY COTE Badging Ecosystem
June 2016 update
We are creating an environment where our online practitioners feel accountable and recognized for participating, engaging, volunteering, mentoring, networking, and sharing their expertise, challenges, and reflections with their colleagues across the system.
To that end, digital badges have emerged as a way for us to recognize, honor, and track community engagement, professional development, and achievements. A core team with interest in badging was brought together from across the system in 2014 to define competencies and design the Open SUNY COTE badging ecosystem, and the first badges were issued in February 2015. Badges are digital shareable recognitions that are being used by the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE) to acknowledge, commemorate, recognize, endorse, honor, award, validate, certify and authorize various activities, behaviors, events, individuals, and accomplishments. Badges provide the earner, and the viewer, with a visual indication of their skills, progress, and status, enabling organic empowerment and recognition of our community of online practitioners.
We began by awarding digital badges to Open SUNY Fellows through Credly to document and recognize membership in the online teaching community of practice, level of engagement and contributions to the community, and online teaching and course design competency.
Badges are only awarded if the participant demonstrates evidence of their learning or effort, such as writing a reflection, creating a video tour of their online course, delivering a Fellow Chat to share an effective practice with their colleagues, or volunteering to mentor or peer review a colleague’s online course. The badging system is tied to the Open SUNY Fellow roles, is designed to guide development as online practitioners move from novice to master, and supports networking, sharing, and mentoring across the entire community of online practitioners. The badging system supports and reinforces a culture of continuous improvement in online teaching practices and course design, provides recommended learning paths and levels, and promotes opportunities for various types of community engagement.
Individuals who meet the established criteria for each badge or set of badges, have an opportunity to earn badges to recognize their accomplishment or engagement in online education, Open SUNY COTE, and with the community of online practitioners. Open SUNY Fellows can earn and share badges to demonstrate their role in, contribution to, and the value they place on our community of practice and professional development accomplishments.
To date we have created 4 constellations comprised of 31 badges in the membership, professional development, and community of practice categories, with multiple stackable levels envisioned. We have issued a total of 1,680 badges and of those badges accepted, 90% have been shared in LinkedIn and 10% in Facebook. This strategy has been both successful and motivating. Participants report they feel more accountable to participate, and the digital badge rewards serve as a source of engagement and motivation.
OS COTE Badges Offered in 2015/16
Badges have been awarded according to specified criteria:
- Membership badges recognize roles in the community of online practitioners.
- Community Engagement badges recognize efforts to share and network within our community of practice.
- Competency Development badges acknowledge those who engaged in professional development programs and can provide evidence of their accomplishments and learning.
- Social Media badges acknowledge efforts to share knowledge or expertise via social media.
- Events badges commemorate participation in OS COTE events.
- Participation badges endorse contributions.
- Awards badges recognize community members honored through the OS COTE Effective Practices awards, Exemplary Online Courses, and Online Teaching Ambassadors programs.