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Badges for Lifelong Learning Webinars

Badges for Lifelong Learning Webinars

Ah, webinars. Those quirky virtual mainstays of the 21st century. HASTAC produced a series of webinars for the Badges for Lifelong Learning grantees over the past year to share work and bring in featured guests. The following list includes many of the webinars we offered, ranging from topics such as effective badge design, assessment, badges and the college admissions process, badges and motivation, the sociology of badges, peer project critiques, and open town-hall-style discussions. 

What follows here is a table of contents to our most popular webinars:

Project Roadmap | Town Hall Meeting Webinar | May 10, 2012

In this webinar, we rolled out the Badges for Lifelong Learning Project Roadmap, a set of benchmarks designed to help grantees prepare for a successful badge system deployment to the OBI in 2013. The Project Roadmap was also used as a springboard for grantee discussion about where each project was in the design and development of their badge systems.

Assessment with Dan Hickey | June 11, 2012

The MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning program asked Dan Hickey of Indiana University to document the work and impact of grantees and the initiative. This webinar was an opportunity for Dan to discuss his work with grantees. Dan Hickey studies assessment, motivation, and evaluation methods, mostly concerning technology-based environments. He is particularly concerned with the implications of newer social theories of learning for assessment, motivation, and evaluation.  

Badges for Lifelong Learning Grantee Round-Robin Workshop #1 | June 28, 2012

Featuring a brief recap of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Project Roadmap, plus a “round-robin” with Planet Stewards, Pathways for Lifelong Learning, and My Girl Scout Sash is an App, projects that shared the work they’re doing thus far on badge systems.

Badges for Lifelong Learning Grantee Round-Robin Workshop #2 | July 11, 2012

Our second round-robin webinar featured S2R Medals, Design for America, National Manufacturing Institute, and Kerri Lemoie, who talked briefly about Drupal.

Badges for Lifelong Learning Grantee Round-Robin Workshop #3 | July 25, 2012

Our third round-robin webinars featured three grantee projects who talked informally about the status of their badge systems: Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) by Robin Shoop and American Graduate and Leverage for Digital On-Ramps by Stacy Kruse of Pragmatic Solutions.

Badges are Made of People: The Social Psychological Motivations of Badges with Judd Antin  | August 8, 2012

During this webinar, Judd Antin, a social psychologist and User Experience Researcher at Facebook shared his expertise on motivation and incentives for online collaboration and participation in social media. Judd has also done extensive research on trust and privacy online, and more recently has focused on understanding the power and pitfalls of gamification. Prior to his move to Facebook in May 2012, Judd was a Research Scientist in the Internet Experiences Research Group at Yahoo! Research. In 2011 Judd was recognized as one of MIT Technology Review's Top 35 Innovators Under 35 for his work on motivation, engagement, and gamification.

In this webinar, Judd discussed his research on the social psychology of motivation in online contexts, paying pecific attention to badges, the ways they can be motivational, some of the problems with the ways they are often deployed. Finally, we discussed some of the unique things that happen when badges and other gamification features appear in educational contexts.

The Sociology of Badges with Jeff Atwood of Stack Overflow | August 22, 2012

In this webinar, Jeff Atwood, founder of, a popular and highly respected reputation and badge system that has been online since 2008, talked about the sociology of badges in the Stack Exchange and shared his experience building, tweaking, and growing the reputation system and the community around it.

Jeff Atwood has a particular interest in the human side of software development. "Computers are fascinating machines, but they're mostly a reflection of the people using them. In the art of software development, studying code isn't enough; you have to study the people behind the software, too. In 2008, Jeff founded and built, and what would ultimately become the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites, in a joint venture with Joel Spolsky. The Stack Exchange network is now one of the top 150 largest sites on the Internet. In early 2012 Jeff decided to leave Stack Exchange and spend time with his growing family.

HIVE: Designing a Networked Badge Systems with Global Kids | October 24, 2012

Daria Ng and Joliz Cepeda joined us to talk about the networked badge systems that Global Kids has designed, developed, and implemented for HIVE Chicago and NYC. Grantees learned more about the different networked badge system design approaches Global Kids has created for programs in these two cities.

Recommended reading:

HIVE Badge System Design articles:
Race to the White House Badge Ecology
Summer Beta for HIVE NYC Badging System Launches
Franklin Wants a Badge: A Crowdsourced Critique of Badge Anxiety
HIVE Chicago Badge Development
HIVE Chicago Badges for Learning
Global Kids Youth Badge Advisory Reflections
Key Questions for Global Kids Badge Development
Badge Advisory Meetings Continue
Designing a Program-based Badging System at Global Kids
Developing a Conceptual Framework While Unearthing Underlying Tensions
How Global Kids is Developing Badges for Global Kids Youth Leaders
Global Kids Summer Badge Beta Report

Over the spring of 2012, Global Kids developed its badging system through a number of different groups: a small group of senior staff who considered badges that would cut across the organization, a large group of GK trainers who considered badges for particular programs, and a group of youth who provided feedback on the system. Click here to view Daria and Joliz’s slides.

Learning Registry Metadata Initiative (LRMI) and Badges | November 13, 2012

In this webinar, we discussed badges and the Learning Registry Metadata Initiative (LRMI), "a common metadata framework for describing or 'tagging' learning resources on the web." To learn more about the implications of LRMI for badges, grantees were encouraged to read Ross Highashi's blog post on HASTAC, LRMI for Badgers (and why issuers can't ignore it). Featured guests during this webinar included Peter Pinch (MIT OpenCourseware), Greg Grossmeier (Creative Commons), and Chris McAvoy (Mozilla). The following were guiding questions sent out in advance of the webinar:

  1. What is the current status of Badge integration in the LRMI proposal or specification? And what is the status of the proposal itself? When can we expect to see LRMI in widespread use?

  2. Forward-thinking Badge proponents often claim that Badges can and must take a broader view and role in the educational ecosystem than simply acting as indicators of what someone has done. Is this view reflected in the current or planned relationship between Open Badges and LRMI, and if so, how?

  3. Many DML Badge projects are still heads-down getting their curricular and internal technical infrastructure going. Are LRMI and Standards Alignment something they should be thinking about now, or can it be safely put off until later?

  4. Are there any big unanswered questions, rough spots, or unsettled debates that Badge implementers should watch out for as we begin to adopt conventions such as LRMI?

  5. The issue of credibility of a claim is not reflected in the LRMI metadata. However, trustworthiness of alignment claims must be addressed before any for-credit adoption of Badges can begin at scale -- is this something that OBI should attempt to handle, or should it be a function left entirely to the community?

Recommended reading:

(There is no recorded archive of this webinar.)

Designing a System of Badges with Jess Klein | December 13, 2012

Featuring Designing a System of Badges with guest design expert Jess Klein, Mozilla’s Webmaker UX + Learning Design Lead. Jess reviewed a few best practices and case studies to frame the conversation. In addition, Jess reviewed real life DML badge visual and system design examples and provided constructive feedback. Click here for Jess Klein's slides and here for her follow-up blog about the webinar.

Developing a Communications Plan with GMMB | January 14, 2013

Allison Davis, Senior Vice President of GMMB, shared her expertise about designing a Communications Plan for grantee badge systems. To prepare everyone for the January Badges Workshop held at UC-Irvine in 2013 and to maximize their opportunity for effective feedback, Allison focused on communications planning elements for badge systems. View Allison's slides here

Evaluating Your Badge System with Vanessa Gennarelli | April 9, 2013

In this webinar, Vanessa Gennarelli, one of our Badges for Lifelong Learning grantees, shared her expertise about evaluating badge systems:

So, you've designed your badge system, have some nifty designs and perhaps even a live demo. Awesome. But how will your target audience respond? Do learners understand what your badges mean? Is your badge system intuitive and easy-to-use? Do learners like your badges?

Formative evaluation and usability testing can help. Find out how to test your educational product during development in order to improve the final result. Together we will look at how to test comprehension, appeal and engagement, and together we will put together a protocol for testing a sample badge system.

View Vanessa's slides here

Badges and Portfolios in the College Applications Process | June 26, 2013

How can badges (and portfolios) function in the college application process? If you had the opportunity to talk to someone at Common Application, the organization that uses a common, standardized first-year application form at over 400 colleges and universities, what would you want them to know about badges? What would you ask them about the Common Application process? How can badges and portfolios improve the admissions process? What challenges are there? What opportunities exist? Who should we be reaching out to?

The goal of this next webinar was to map our collective knowledge around badges, portfolios, and the college admissions process. 

Badges: Policy, Political Trends, and Challenges | July 16, 2013

Danica Petroshius and Kara Marchione from the Penn Hill Group will join us to talk about the latest policy, political trends, and challenges that may affect your work on badges. The Penn Hill group is a consulting and lobbying firm in Washington, DC, and has experience working on both sides of the aisle as senior Administration officials, congressional committee staffers, and high-level advisers to senators and members of Congress. In addition to their years in government, they have worked as government and public relations professionals and consultants for an array of well-known organizations — large and small, for-profit and nonprofit.

With background and experience in a range of domestic policy issues, their strongest expertise lies in the areas of education, disability, workforce, nutrition, community service, and health. Members of their team have been involved in the most recent authorization or reauthorization of nearly all major bills in these areas, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Chicago Summer of Learning's City-Wide Badging System | August 15, 2013

For the last few months, the Mozilla Open Badges team has been working with the city of Chicago Mayor's Office, the MacArthur Foundation and many other youth-serving organizations to launch an amazing and exciting learning campaign called the Chicago Summer of Learning (CSOL).

This was an ambitious project that included designing, implementing and deploying a city-wide badge system in collaboration with nearly 100 organizations within a very short period of time. Needless to say the Mozilla team has learned a lot from the process and has been gathering their thoughts which they'll be sharing with the DML community.

Recommended reading:


The Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with additional support from the Gates Foundation and in partnership with Mozilla.  The Competition is administered by co-located HASTAC teams based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University.







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