Still Water Senior Researcher John Bell and UMaine’s new Innovative Communication Design classes have been selected as a winner in stage one of this year’s Digital Media+Learning competition Badges for Lifelong Learning, an initiative of the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) and the Mozilla Foundation with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
John submitted a proposal to extend ICD’s already unique structure of offering multiple short, hands-on classes to include a granular recognition of students’ accomplishments as well. In addition to the normal rewards a student in an ICD class would get they also receive digital badges that can be displayed on an online resume, web site, or Facebook page. The badges are meant to convey more specific information about what students have done than would be shown by just granting them a certificate or degree at the end of their program, which is particularly useful for potential employers who might now know the range of skills embedded within a monolithic degree. Changing the recognition metrics in higher education also exposes aptitudes that are often hidden, including soft skills like teamwork or creative insight, and allows students to take control of how and where their accomplishments are shared with the digital world.
ICD’s badges will be built using the new Open Badges platform from Mozilla and integrated into a new online course delivery system that is currently under development. The Open Badges platform allows students to be able to display the badges they’ve been awarded on their own web sites, but not just as static graphics – the APIs used to share badges also embed metadata that adds the ability to securely validate the authenticity of the badge with the organization that granted it, creating a distributed but trusted infrastructure for recognition.
The Innovative Communication Design Program is currently under development at the University of Maine and when approved will offer a professional graduate level certificate designed for individuals interested in improving their professional presences in today’s technology driven society. ICD focuses on creative problem solving as a key to remaining relevant in a constantly-evolving technological environment. Students will learn creative approaches and strategies for innovation, become knowledgeable in a range of media/design production tools and gain an understanding of cutting edge marketing and media contexts. The first ICD classes will be offered starting in January of 2012 and open for registration now. Visit the ICD Facebook page or more information.