Insights from the Field: The “In Between” Space of Badging


Jill Buban,PhD, Senior Director of Research & Innovation, Online Learning Consortium

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended and digital learning.  This week, Dr. Errin Heyman, instructor for the OLC Institute workshop Introduction to Digital Badges, joins us to discuss the need to pay attention to government and accreditor regulations, K-12 pedagogy, as well as the “in between” space of badging, among other topics.

How do you define innovation?
Is this a trick question?!  In my opinion, Innovation is the ability to ‘see ahead’ and the willingness to try something new.

OLC’s Institute offerings help professionals stay current in their prospective fields, and often times assist in the advancement of their profession. What do you believe are the top 3 ways in which professionals in our field can stay current and move ahead?

  1. Always explore–research, articles, conferences, your colleagues and networks.
  2. Pay attention to the government and accreditor regulations. These are sometimes moving targets, but they can inform direction.
  3. Pay attention to K-12 and what is happening in that space–and how the students approach learning and the classroom.

There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you teach for OLC?
OLC has such a great name in the online development space, having been one of the first organizations to begin to offer professional and instructional development with online approaches, issues, and recognition. It’s an honor to be able to be connected with such a pioneering organization.

What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the course you teach?

  1. We are all learners and it’s important to learn from each other.
  2. Badging is in an interesting “in between” space–where it is still new to education, so much is still yet to be developed, but there are definite emerging best practices we can consider.
  3. Exploration can help shape planning efforts, so we will do some exploring!

More about Badging
Although digital badges stemmed from the gaming world, and then found their way into MOOC frameworks, badges have now found their way into wider uses in education and the use of badges has been gaining momentum in recent years. Badges carry with them evidence of achievement of skills and competencies; therefore, badging can also empower learners  by allowing them share evidence of their accomplishments and skills with broader communities.

About Errin Heyman, EdD

Errin Heyman

Dr. Errin Heyman is a passionate and experienced educator, specializing in facilitation and assessment of student learning outcomes through faculty development and program/institutional review and assessment processes. She has nearly twenty years of higher education experience, with extensive practical and theoretical knowledge of online and on-ground pedagogy, curriculum and instruction, and accreditation processes and requirements. Dr. Heyman is the Dean of Educational Effectiveness at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, a multi-campus graduate institution. She is responsible for the general oversight of academic quality across all university programs and for the coordination of faculty development opportunities for faculty, with the goals of enhancing student engagement and educational practices of faculty. She helps to lead interdisciplinary coordination of outcome assessment with a focus on quality teaching and learning effectiveness, as well as curricular improvement. Prior to her work with USAHS, she founded the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Assessment at West Coast University. Dr. Heyman holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction; an MA in Teaching of Writing; and a BA in English Writing. She began in the online world in 1996 when she was asked to build and teach a Research Writing course for University of Colorado’s new “CU Online” endeavor. While hesitant about the process, she eventually built more classes and taught online for CU and other institutions. That experience, however, led her to the company eCollege, a learning management system provided (now owned by Pearson and has changed format), where she ultimately ended up for nearly 10 years, most of which time was spent training faculty and administrators in online pedagogy and building and managing online programs.  Dr. Heyman minored in Medieval Literature and still love history and writing poetry and short stories. She is also an avid concert-goer (having once worked for a concert promoter and wrote for a music magazine for 19 years!) and animal lover. She and her husband (and two dogs) go RV-ing as often as they can!


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