Digital Badges for Community Engagement:  What do you Think?

Kate Stephens, Associate Director Center for Community Engagement, Utah State University

January 22, 2019

Digital badging (micro-credentials or e-badges) is a new initiative at Utah State University (USU). Digital Badges are defined by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) as “a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in various learning environments.”

A digital badge allows you to demonstrate specific skills or competencies gained through curricular and co-curricular learning experiences. A digital badge is not a static emblem. Badges can be clicked on to show the issuing institution, the date earned, the criteria required to earn the badge and the evidence that shows you have met the criteria.

Badges supplement resumes and transcripts by highlighting skills that do not appear in traditional documents. Once you earn a badge, you own it and can use it how you would like. Digital badges can be put on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, digital resumes, email signatures, or websites. 

HASTAC says, "Digital badges are a powerful new tool for identifying and validating the rich array of people's skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and competencies. Digital badges inspire new pathways to learning and connect learners to opportunities, resources, and one another".

At USU, the Excellence in Community Engagement badge will be available to students in the spring of 2019.  Students who complete 100 hours of community engaged work, 2 Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) courses and a reflection paper are eligible. The work completed to earn the digital badge can be applied toward the more rigorous Community-Engaged Scholars transcript designation.

Has your institution used digital badges to demonstrate community engagement competencies and achievements?  Let us know what you think.

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