The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Higher Ed Embracing Badges

Even though most employers continue to require new hires to have college degrees, diplomas are not always the best way to show that employees have the skills needed to do the job. That’s where digital badges are coming into play.

“The bachelor’s degree or Ph.D. will never go away,” Philip DiSalvio, dean of the College of Advancing and Professional Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, said in an article for University Business. “But every higher-ed portfolio is going to have some form of alternative credential that will demonstrate a student’s competency in certain areas.”

Digital badges, available for everything from problem-solving to career readiness, can be posted to social media sites, stored in digital portfolios, and displayed on specially designed platforms. The badges are linked to lists of skills students have mastered, in addition to the grades they’ve received.

Colleges and universities are trying to stay ahead of the curve on badges by developing programs that recognize skills students have acquired through their studies. Badges can connect skills needed in the workforce to what a college teaches, as well as provide a clearer picture of a student’s academic record.

“The reason they’re taking off in higher education is most employers are not getting the information they need about people emerging from higher ed,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, found and CEO of the badging platform Credly. “The degree itself doesn’t get to the level of describing particular competencies.”

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