Open Badges and Open Accreditation

Photograph of a pile of button badges

Open Badges and Open Accreditation discusses the provision of formal credit for open education – open accreditation – and the role of higher education. This is discussed in relation to the Mozilla Open Badges initiative, as a potential infrastructure for an open accreditation ecosystem. It is based primarily on two academic papers, one which positions institutional accreditation as the solution to making open education count and the other which argues for a new peer-based paradigm for assessing and accrediting 21st century skills. Participants are asked to work through four main themes:

Open Accreditationtwo academic papers to read.

Open Badges – a series of shorter resources and designed to give an introduction to what open badges are – and what they are not!

Visions – encourages thinking visually about how some of the main players in the field see the area mapping out. This is very much to do with structures, the inter-relationship of open and formal education and granularity of learning objects.

Metaphors – a genealogy of badges is introduced and questions asked about the effectiveness of badges as a metaphor for recognition of achievement. This is an important consideration for badge design – and in considering a suitable place for badges in an accreditation ecosystem.


Access the resource here: Open Badges and Open Accreditation


This resource was created as an OER, by Stuart Nicol as part of the coursework component of the Digital Futures for Learning course in the MSc Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. As such, this is also about playing with ideas of what an OER could be.

Open badges and open accreditation by Stuart Nicol is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0

Header image: Cropped from Badges by Ellen Munro CC BY 2.0 on Flickr.