Badge Alliance Working Groups
The Badge Alliance is framed on the Constellation Model of Collaborative Social Change, which supports multi-organization partnerships across complex networks. The Badge Alliance work is being done through a set of Working Groups comprised of individuals and organizations working together to address key questions, issues and opportunities facing the ecosystem.
When the Badge Alliance soft-launched at the Summit to Reconnect Learning in February 2014, ten initial working groups were formed to address some of the most crucial issues facing both the broader infrastructure for open badges, and the growing ecosystem as a whole. We now have 13 Working Groups (see below) focused on both the infrastructure that supports badging and the ecosystem growth that sustains it.
These Working Groups were formed in order for the open badges community to address some of the most crucial issues facing both the broader infrastructure for open badges, and the growing ecosystem as a whole. Each Working Group is focused on a specific topic and is chaired by an organization or individual leading efforts in the wider community related to the group’s goals. See below for more details of the different Working Groups currently active.
Working Groups with a focus on infrastructure
The success of the open badging ecosystem depends on a robust infrastructure, which includes and goes beyond the technical maintenance of the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) and the ongoing stewardship of the Open Badge Standard. The Badge Alliance team works closely with select partners and community members to support and strengthen crucial elements of the infrastructure, including:
- The Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) - developing, maintaining, and evolving the technical underpinning that supports every open badge system.
- Open Badge Standard - shaping the evolution of the open badge standard. Evolving it from a series of technical specifications toward a standard that is clearer and easier to align with, maintain, and build upon.
- Open Badges Endorsement - designing the functionality and practice of open badges endorsement. Endorsement plays a crucial role in expanding the ecosystem, connecting key stakeholders to badges, and adding value to badges in the wild.
- Open Badges Messaging - exploring ways to talk consistently and effectively about badges to different audiences—from looking at the preferred vocabulary of various fields and industries to finding the right language to convey basic badge concepts to specific groups.
- Open Badges Research -building a research base around badges and badge system design thinking. This group will be leading the ongoing work of exploring and expanding research on open badges.
- Open Badges Policy - tracking, investigating, and reviewing policy that affects the open badges ecology. This group provides guidance and advice on policy approaches that benefit the open badges ecosystem including encouraging social advocacy and participating in calls for public comment.
- Directory - this group will be leading the ongoing work around creating a worldwide directory of open badges. With the directory work as foundation, this group will also explore how search and discovery of open badges can be supported.
Working Groups with a focus on ecosystem
The broader open badging ecosystem encompasses all the different sectors and industries developing and implementing badge systems. These Working Groups are driven by community leaders in specific areas, including:
- Badges for Higher Education - finding ways to get badges included in the admissions evaluation process for higher education as well as credentialing course content and informal learning experiences. This group will focus on informing and supporting institutions of further and higher education to recognize badges earned by students at the secondary level and beyond.
- Workforce & Acceptance by Employers - exploring the ways to link badges to jobs, internships, career advancement and other opportunities within the workforce.
- Badges for Educators & Professional Development - finding ways to connect badges to granular recognition for educators who innovate and pursue continued professional development. The work will inform and support educators in their efforts and help with the recognition of their innovation through badges.
- Cities & Network-wide Badge Systems - building and connecting badge systems across cities and other networks. This working group will reflect the growing momentum of the Cities of Learning initiative and find ways to leverage badge systems across networks and cities to create a more connected, richer learning network for learners to tap into.
- Digital and Web Literacies - encouraging the growth of a shared badge system (or systems) for promoting and recognizing important digital skills. This group will focus on developing and connecting badge systems for 21st-century digital skills and web literacies that often aren’t captured by traditional credentials and formal degrees.
- Globalization, Localization & Badge the World - encouraging and supporting badging in other countries and cultures. This includes building out the localization efforts our community started over the past few years to make badges and badging resources accessible to non-English speakers, as well as supporting globalization efforts of other organizations.
Working Group Logistics and Operations
Each working group includes a(n):
- Chair - Representative of the organization leading the working group’s conversations.
- Cabinet (optional) - Set of organizations responsible for setting the group’s initial goals, strategy and roadmap. Some working groups may not need a Cabinet and this work may be done by the Chair.
- Badge Alliance Liaison - Dedicated member of the Badge Alliance team that will work with the Chair/Cabinet to analyze feedback from the broader community, draft proposed plans, track the work, recruit working group members from other organizations, etc.
- Secretary - Group member responsible for meeting notes, generating reports for the Badge Alliance team and the community, keeping the website updated, etc.
- Advisory group (optional) - Recruited set of real ‘users’ or stakeholders for the working group topic. The Chair/Cabinet will recruit the Advisory Group and then leverage them for user testing, surveys, focus groups, etc.
- Network / Community - The full set of organizations that have signed up for the working group. Each group's community weighs in on the goals, strategy, and roadmap through regular community calls and mailing lists.
Discussion Forums and Community Calls
Most working groups hold a call every other week, where the Chair/Cabinet can gather feedback from the participants on important proposals, plans, and deliverables on the group’s goals. In between meetings, the broader working group community can weigh in on these and other issues asynchronously in the working group forums and mailing lists.
The Chairs of all of the working groups meet once a month with the Badge Alliance team to discuss overlaps and connections across working groups, as well as consider best practices and challenges facing the groups.
Calls + Events
Visit badgealliance.org/events to see upcoming events.
Working Group Cycles
Working group actions are defined by two 'cycles' of six months per year. This framework will define terms for group leadership, and provide short-term deadlines for deliverables on the groups’ goals.
The First Cycle runs from April to September 2014 and will focus on establishing each working group and setting attainable goals for September, at which point the groups will review their progress, set new goals, and adjust group structure if necessary by forming new working groups.