Saturday, January 30, 2016

So maybe open badges can get you into Harvard (or Yale or Dartmouth) after all

By Daniel Hickey and James Willis

As summarized in Education Dive and reported in the Boston Globe, Harvard and 80 representatives from other Ivy League schools released a report arguing that admissions officers should give more attention to service-learning and volunteer activities. They recommended:

  1. "Promoting more meaningful contributions to others, community service and engagement with the public good.
  2. Assessing students' ethical engagement and contributions to others in ways that reflect varying types of family and community contributions across race, culture and class.
  3. Redefining achievement in ways that both level the playing field for economically diverse students and reduce excessive achievement pressure."

Those of you who follow RMA can likely appreciate how much this means to us and where this post is going. Yup. Badges and assessment. That second recommendation is going to be a really tough one to implement. As we will elaborate in some length, open digital badges are intended to provide valid evidence of accomplishment outside of accredited contexts. Some new developments may allow them to serve precisely this function.