Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nate Moves On; James Moves In

By Daniel Hickey
This week is a momentous one for the Open Badges projects housed at Indiana's Center for Research on Learning and Technology. Nate Otto, who has served as coordinator for the Design Principles Documentation Project, is leaving for an outside opportunity. To fill this role, a new team member, James Willis is joining the project as it winds down, and he will be heading up the BadgeKit and Beyond project that is now getting underway.

This post is one way of expressing my thanks to Nate and wishing him well, and introducing James Willis to our many collaborators

Nate Otto's Contributions to the DPD Project and the Open edX Project
Nate joined the Badges Design Principles Documentation Project in July 2013. Highlighting the usefulness of the growing open badges community, we found Nate via the the weekly Mozilla community call about Open Badges. Nate saw a lot of potential in the technology and was happy to join the DPD Project. He took on a role organizing the project as it entered our final round of interviews with badge system designers and implementers as well as building the website to capture the relationships between design principles, badge programs and related literature. Nate also is deeply connected with the wider Open Badges community, including with the Badge Alliance, where he serves on the Standard, Endorsement, and Research working groups. He is leaving the DPD Project in great shape to finish its analysis of the DML competition badge systems.

Nate Otto
Nate is moving on to join the Oregon Center for Digital Learning, a nonprofit launching out of the offices of Concentric Sky in Eugene, Oregon. He told me he will work on "a wide variety of Open Badges software to support programs as they issue and accept badges to help learners connect achievements from different aspects of their educational careers."  Given our new project to install Badgekit in Open edX, I am curious to see how the proceed  with "an issuing platform that will allow programs to run small scale badge pilots with very low technical overhead." 

But he will stay connected with our projects and involved in the issues we are studying, around how digital badges are used in learning programs. He will continue to advise the DPD and BadgeKit and Beyond projects in the future. He'll keep blogging and tweeting about badges.

Good Luck Nate!

James Willis Joins the CRLT Badge Project
While I was certainly disappointed that Nate was moving on, it is something I have grown accustomed to. As a professor and a mentor, my fundamental job is preparing people to move on. So while you have to adapt to the departure of valued colleagues, you also get to experience the magic that can occur when those departures open up new opportunities. And this was certainly one of those times. I'm proud to announce that we will be joined by James Willis, as a research associate in the

James Willis
James has been working at Purdue University after completing his PhD in comparative religion at King's College London. While at Purdue, James worked on assessing academic technologies, researching student learning with technology, and developing best practices in pedagogy. His publications consider the intersection of human-machine agency and the ethical implications involved in learning analytics. James has a broad interest in digital badging and micro-credentialing, educational technology, qualitative and quantitative methodologies, machine ethics, and the future of educational practice. He completed a Master Litterae at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a Bachelor of Arts at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. 

I am particularly pleased that James is already very active in the Learning Analytics community (he co-organized LAK 14) and is already active in EDUCAUSE.  Malcolm Brown and Victoria Diaz at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative seem to have big plans for us and I am going to need help with Webinars, the Microcredentials Constituent Group , the Annual Conference in September and the ELI meeting in 2015 and other exciting stuff that EDUCAUSE has us involved in.

Welcome James!

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