'Badges' Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas

Jeffrey R. Young, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Jan 11, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

A well-written and fair article from the Chronicle on the controversial subject of the use of badges to recognize learning. It outlines some of the early initiatives - MITx, Mozilla Badges - and then interviews David Wiley on the subject, who gets right to the heart of the matter: "We have to question the tyranny of the degree," says Wiley. "As soon as big employers everywhere start accepting these new credentials, either singly or in bundles, the gig is up completely." The author then raises the question of whether this commoditizes the idea of learning, which prompted me to consider that the traditional college degree is already well-commoditized. The article then looks at how a site called OpenStudy rewards achievement. "We've been called a massively multiplayer study group," says designer Preetha Ram. And "Winning recognition for underappreciated educational activities drives many of the college officials who are experimenting with badges."
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