Student Perceptions of Digital Badges as Recognition of Achievement and Engagement in Co-curricular Activities
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The Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University has provided paper certificates of recognition to students who act as peer representatives for many years. However, the overhead of staff time in creating and distributing these certificates and the cost of printing them has become increasingly prohibitive. While this peer representative scheme is not part of the students’ formal studies, the students place a significant value on having some formal recognition of their participation, therefore an alternative method was sought. Open Badges were introduced as a replacement for the paper certificates and research was undertaken to discover the students’ impressions of the badges in comparison to the previous paper certificates. The research took the form of an anonymous survey, containing both quantitative and qualitative elements, sent to all students who took part in the peer representative scheme. The research confirmed the hypothesis that university students primarily view digital badges as a way to promote their achievements to potential employers, however further research is suggested to determine the extent to which potential employers understand and value badges as evidence of achievement. This chapter also provides background to the project, details the technical choices made when introducing digital badges and offers some insight into how digital badges can support and encourage participation in co-curricular and other informal learning activities.
KeywordsDigital badges Co-curricular Informal learning Recognition Reward
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