openbadges

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Note: This page is a work-in-progress. Feedback and suggested improvements are welcome. Please join the discussion on moodle.org or use the page comments.


Status:

The initial implementation has now been merged for release in Moodle 2.5.

Background

In September 2011, Mozilla launched the Open Badges project as a way to "make it easy to issue and share digital learning badges across the web". Mozilla have developed an open specification and API for badge creation and sharing and are looking for developers to implement infrastructure that makes use of the badges.

TotaraLMS have volunteered to lead the development to integrate Open Badges into Moodle (and also Mahara).

This document contains our initial ideas and some unanswered questions around implementation in order to receive feedback from the moodle community on what is required and how to implement it.

User Stories

Our first step is to attempt to define the requirements and priorities. Feedback welcome:

Badge creation

As a... I want to... So that... Priority
Site administrator Be able to control who is able to create and issue badges I can manage the issuing of badges from my organisation Must have
Course creator Be able to create badges I can issue badges to students for achievements Must have
Course creator Be able to modify existing badges [1][3] I can make changes to a badge without having to start again Must have
Course creator Be able to delete badges They can be removed from the system when no longer required Must have
Course creator Be able to set a background image for the badge I can customise the appearance of the badges I create Must have
Course creator Be able to embed custom text into the badge image I can choose the text shown on the badges I create High
Course creator Be able to embed user specific text into the badge image I can create badges that are specific to each user High
Course creator Be able to clone existing badges I can create similar badges with less work Medium
Site administrator Be able to create badge design templates for course creators to use I can provide a consistent look for badges across my organisation Medium
Course creator Be able to create badges based on site-wide design templates I can quickly create similar looking badges Medium

[1] Note this means changing the badge that will be issued from that point on - the open badges spec intentionally prevents an issuer from modifying badges once they have been issued to the user for security reasons

[3] At the moment, we are also considering locking badge criteria from changes once at least one badge was awarded based on existing criteria. To update the badge completely, badge creator will have to copy/duplicate the badge and make all the changes (Yuliya).

Badge assignment

As a... I want to... So that... Priority
Course creator Be able to control the criteria that leads to the issuing of badges I can ensure badges are only issued to students who have achieved them Must have
Student Be able to receive a notification when I have received a new badge I know when I have made an achievement Must have
Student Be able to receive a copy of badges I achieve I can keep my own records of my achievements and upload to other services Must have
Course creator Be able to receive notification when a student receives a badge I can stay informed about my student's progress High

Badge display

As a... I want to... So that... Priority
Student Be able to see all of the badges that I have achieved via the site in one location I can get an overview of my achievements Must have
Student Be able to see the public or shared badges belonging to other users I can see what learning my peers have achieved. High
Student Be able to see all of the badges that I can achieve via the site I can prioritize and plan my learning High
Student Be able to control who is able to see each of my badges I can decide for myself who I would like to share my achievements with. Medium
Student Be able to display all the badges in my "backpack", including those from outside the Moodle site I can let others know about other learning that I've achieved from other sources. Medium

Badge management

As a... I want to... So that... Priority
Course creator Be able to see which of my students have achieved a specific badge I can track the progress of my students. Must have
Course creator Be able to revoke badges that are no longer valid[2] I can correct an error if a badge is assigned by mistake. Must have
Course creator Be able to inform a student that a badge has been revoked and remove it from display for that user[2] I can correct an error if a badge is assigned by mistake. Must have
Course creator Be able to see the badges achieved by an individual student I can assess the progress of an individual student. High
Site administrator Be able to see the badges achieved by any site user I can track the progress of individuals. Medium
Site administrator Be able to see which site users have achieved a specific badges I can track overall achievement of a particular badge. Medium
Site administrator Be able to revoke badges across the entire site[2] I can correct errors by individual course creators. Medium
Site administrator Be able to inform a set of students that a badge has been revoked and remove it from display for that user[2] I can correct errors by individual course creators. Medium
Student Be able to push individual badges from Moodle into my external badge backpack So that I can share my badges externally to moodle Medium
Student Be able to automatically push all my badges from Moodle into my external badge backpack So that my achievements are available in my backpack without having to push them every time Low
Course creator Be able to set an expiry period for badges I can use badges in cases where achievements only last a fixed period of time. Low
Course creator Be able to automatically generate user-specific evidence for badges I can show how students earned the badge. Low
Course creator Be able to perform more detailed reporting (such as who hasn't achieved a badge yet) I can see which students I need to follow up with. Low

[2] Revoking of issued badges is not currently possible in Open Badges infrastructure

Badge verification

As a... I want to... So that... Priority
Assessor Know that all badges displayed within the system are valid (have been achieved by the user they are displayed for) I can be certain that the badges displayed within the system have all been achieved. Must have
Assessor Be able to confirm from the original source that a badge being displayed by a user (outside of the system) is valid I can be certain that the student has achieved a particular badge. Must have

Integration with Mahara

As a... I want to... So that... Priority
Mahara user Be able to easily display all my achieved badges I can include my achievements in my porfolio. Must have
Mahara user Have my badges from Moodle automatically imported into Mahara I don't have to manually copy new badges each time I achieve something. Must have
Mahara user Control which badges appear when displaying them in my porfolio I can present different representations of my achievements to different audiences. High
Site administrator Remove badges from a users portfolio if they have been revoked I can prevent a user displaying badges that are no longer valid. High

Implementation Options

Moodle already has a module which behaves in a similar way to the proposals for open badges - the Certificate Module. Initial idea was to consider extending the certificate module to avoid rewriting similar code. However, after some discussions and feedback on the community forum, we decided to look at implementing a separate module for Open Badges.

Badge awarding criteria

For initial development, we expect to support the following criteria that will lead to the issuing of badges:

  • Completing an activity or set of several activities (viewing an activity as a part of it)
  • Completing a course
  • Completing a set of courses
  • Posting to a forum
  • Filling in user profile (to encourage participation)
  • Discretionary awarding of badges by teacher (e.g to reward certain behaviour)

Technical specification

The technical specification can be found on GitHub Totara openbadges-docs repository.

User documentation

We are working on user documentation. Current functionality description can be found on OpenBadges User Documentation page.

Open Badges Integration

Open badges v1.0 came out Q1 2013 so we can expect additional features and possibly some API changes over time.

Implementation plan

Here is a diagram of the current infrastructure for managing badges. We intend to develop the functionality to make Moodle both a "displayer" and a "issuer" of badges and Mahara as a "displayer".

This diagram outlines the various components:

Open Badges infrastructure diagram

It should be possible to implement each component as separate modules. Our proposed order:

  1. Badge creation and management in Moodle. Done!
  2. Moodle Block to display badges received from the site (internal badges) Done!
  3. Add code to support direct pushing of internal badges to external backpack (without having to manually download/upload them) Done!
  4. Badge displayer in Moodle (displays external badges and any internal ones that have been pushed to backpack and shared) Done!
  5. Badge displayer in Mahara (displays external badges and any internal ones that have been pushed to backpack and shared)
  6. Add code to support direct pushing of internal badges to Mahara via Porfolio API (no need for external backpack)

Once OpenBadges Infrastructure supports federated backpack providers we would like to add:

7. Allow Mahara sites to become backpack providers

The reason for providing a direct method for displaying internal badges without requiring an external backpack is because pushing badges to an external backpack requires an external account for managing badges as outlined here:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Earner#II._FUNCTIONAL_FLOW:_FIRST_TIME_EARNER

This workflow has some advantages (primarily the user has full control over their own badges) but seems quite complex. Given that Moodle is both an issuer and displayer we are able to avoid this step for users who do not want to share their badges to a wider audience.

Certificates from Badges

It says on Wikipedia that the badges are the digital indicators of skills learned inside or outside the classroom. They also contain metadata which allow anyone to verify the skills of open badge owner.

But there is a problem as still many situations occur where (only) digital proof is not enough or is not accepted. In our country (Slovenia) teachers are awarded the impact points (in a form of paper certificate) for every seminar that they have successfully accomplished. Their accreditation and promotion confirmed by the Ministry of Education is based on paper form certificates. It is sad that although the seminars are about and for promoting the use of ICT in classroom the participants still need to get paper certificates.

Several foreign students come to our country due to the international student exchange programme. Although all their work is done online, again, they need paper based certificates to prof their skills and knowledge.

When it comes to technology i.e. Moodle, we are met with dilemma: should we use OpenBadges or some other module for certificates?

Our suggestion is that we combine both of them in the following form: openbadges module or plugin as a foundation to which we would add an additional functionality, so that each badge could be printed out in a form of a certificate (exported to the pdf file).

That way each teacher would get a badge for every seminar and still be able to print out a certificate for the non-digital world.

To achieve this, we must extend the process of badge creation (also see mockups below):

  • on site level, we define templates (watermark image and description where to print student's name, badge name etc.);Extensions to existing administration sideblock
  • each template has authorization key (so there can be no unauthorized usage);
  • on badge level we (optionally) choose which template should be used if the badge owner wants to print out the certificate;
  • when choosing template also authorization key must be entered;Extensions to existing form for adding new badge
  • site admin can see and revoke certificate template from badges;Extensions to existing administration sideblock

Extensions to existing administration sideblock

Links