Leaving the house at 5.30 in the morning, meant that the conference I was attending, not only had to have nice cakes but some interesting content to have made the commute worthwhile.

Open Badges in HE was hosted by Southampton University, was attended by 150 delegates and featured two parallel sessions.


The event was opened by Doug Belshaw, an independent consultant specialising in Open Badges and Digital Literacy. Doug provided an overview of Open Badges and some of the challenges.

I attended another 7 sessions and here are some of the key themes and points of interest

  • The universities who were presented were only using badges at a local level. For example tutors were badging a particular module, or a TEL unit were badging their CPD offering.
  • Those using badges, had simply ‘dived in’ and were refining processes as they went along.
  • There is a steep learning curve, from achieving a badge to sharing it via a profile on social media.
  • Offer badges on a voluntary basis.
  • Communication to the badge earners is key.
  • Need to ‘build in’ rather than ‘bolt on’.

I thought it was a good conference and gave me lots to think about. The University of Derby is beginning a pilot project to look at awarding badges. Reflecting on the event it seems that we are in a unique scenario, in that there is support from management. The Academic Innovation Hub are also developing a bespoke server, which again seems to be an innovative approach.

Further Resources and information

If you would like to know more about Open Badges or would like to be part our of our pilot, then please contact tel@derby.ac.uk

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