Digital Badges: Motivating Learners to Excel While Adding Professional Value to their College Degrees

Concurrent Session 7

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Brief Abstract

The faculty of an undergraduate educational technology minor implemented a digital badge initiative through a three-phase study. Students who excelled in specific professional, work-related skills through their coursework became eligible to earn badges.

Presenters

Joseph Rene Corbeil is an Associate Professor at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He earned his doctoral degree in Education-Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Instructional Technology from the University of Houston, and a Master of Education in Educational Technology from The University of Texas at Brownsville. For over 17 years, he has developed and taught fully web-based undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses in educational technology, and developed the first fully online undergraduate specialization in Educational Technology in Texas. He has published articles in numerous journals and contributed chapters to books on innovations in e-learning and distance education. He has earned several awards, including the 2007 EDUCAUSE Quarterly Contribution of the Year and the 2011 Selected Papers for the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning. In 2012, his contributions to teaching excellence were recognized with the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

Extended Abstract

Digital badges originated in the gaming world as incentives built into video games to acknowledge gamers’ achievements. They have only recently been identified by course designers and instructors in formal and corporate education as a way to support competency-based learning and acknowledge achievement of specialized knowledge and skills. The faculty of an undergraduate Educational Technology minor implemented a digital badge initiative through a three-phase study. Students who excelled in specific professional, work-related skills through their coursework became eligible to earn these badges. The purpose of the study was to determine if digital badges motivated learners to excel in their academic work and if the earned badges provided graduates with a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.