Edubadges are digital insignia (images) that show you have acquired certain skills or knowledge. Edubadges are awarded digitally via the secure and reliable SURF platform. In the Edubadges project, Educate-it is testing the award of edubadges at Utrecht University and their added value.
Edubadges are digital insignia (images) that show you have acquired certain skills or knowledge. Students or professionals can earn an edubadge by completing courses at Utrecht University, to prove that they have gained specific knowledge or skills. The recipient can then share the edubadges digitally, for example via LinkedIn. Behind the badge icon is non-reproducible and un-editable information about the badge’s publisher and what the recipient had to do to earn it. That allows an employer to check the badge reference, which makes the system more reliable.
Edubadges are awarded digitally via the secure and reliable SURF platform. Teachers or workshop instructors can use the platform to create and award edubadges. Students and other participants can then receive the edubadges from the platform and share them online.
The edubadges issued by SURF are linked to a personal eduID, that badge recipients can use to prove their identity to any educational institution. Users can therefore continue to use their eduID to request badges even after they graduate or start working at another university, allowing them to continue working on their professional development.
There are several reasons to issue edubadges. Some of the potential benefits are listed below.
- Opportunities in the job market
Students can use edubadges to immediately show their skills and knowledge at a glance. That can ease the transition from their studies to a career. Recent graduates can easily prove their knowledge and skills to their future employers. Edubadges also allow students to share their knowledge and skills with the outside world during their studies.
- Make higher education more flexible
Edubadges can make it easier to transfer between study programmes, for example by granting exemptions for skills and knowledge students have already acquired. They can also contribute to making education more modular: offering education in smaller, flexible units.
- Life-long Development
Graduates continue to develop after graduation, and professionals strive to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills over the course of their careers. Edubadges can facilitate that, because they are linked to a new supra-institutional identity, eduID, which remains available after graduation and over the course of their lives. That makes it possible for them to continue collecting edubadges, even after they graduate.
Educate-it is currently conducting a pilot project for edubadges, with small-scale tests of issuing edubadges for education at Utrecht University. The project uses a bottom-up approach; UU staff or teachers can request a pilot project from Educate-it to test the use of edubadges in their teaching practice.
In the pilot project, Educate-it tests edubadges in three domains:
- Introductory education for students (focus: extra-curricular)
- Teacher professionalisation
- Life-Long Learning
The goal of the pilot project is to gain more knowledge and experience with issuing edubadges within Utrecht University. We examine what is needed to optimise the request and award process for badge users, how we can offer the right support for the badge process, and what added value edubadges provide for education at Utrecht University.
From the experiences gained during the pilot project, we are now working on a targeted strategy for the use of edubadges at UU.
If you’d like to try issuing edubadges for your course, please feel free to contact the edubadges project coordinator viaTeaching Support. We will then schedule an intake interview to discuss the conditions and steps for starting your own pilot project.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
The terms ‘edubadges’ and ‘microcredentials’ are increasingly mentioned in the higher education community. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are some significant differences between edubadges and microcredentials. The main difference is:
Edubadges are digital certificates containing information about the course or workshop. Microcredentials also have an independently acknowledged value, similar to a Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma. An edubadge can be awarded as a microcredential, but not all edubadges are microcredentials. This is because edubadges are also issued for extracurricular and informal education.
At the moment, it is not yet possible to award microcredentials at Utrecht University, because of the lack of a legal framework. Within the pilot microcredentials Utrecht University, together with other higher education institutions in the Netherlands, explores ways to make it possible to award microcredentials in the future (especially within continuing education).
No, you can’t just issue an edubadge for any type of education. The guidelines that Utrecht University has drawn up for edubadges state that they can only be awarded for a course unit that consists of:
- predetermined learning objectives
- predetermined learning activities that are relevant to the learning objectives
- an assessment that is relevant to the learning objectives and activities (if an assessment is used in the course)
If you wish to set up a pilot project to test the use of edubadges, then you must first schedule an intake interview with the edubadges project coordinator. During this meeting, we will consider whether the guidelines listed above can be met, in order to prevent edubadges from being issued for anything and to uphold the value of UU edubadges.