Digital Badges

Brandman U Adds Digital Badges for Competency Ed Students

Brandman University has teamed with a private partner to provide digital badges for students in its online competency-based degree programs. The university also plans to launch a higher ed consortium to work with employers to standardize digital badges.

The degree programs use direct assessment and will award the badges as certification of discrete skills. "With digital badges validating each skill, learners will be able to put evidence of their abilities to work in real time in the pursuit of professional opportunities," according to a news release.

"Employers inform us that there is a need to validate the skill set of business students and graduates," said Gary Brahm, chancellor of Brandman University, in a prepared statement. "Digital badges will arm our students with a form of professional capital that has immediate value in the workplace."

The university decided to partner with Credly to provide the badges. Badges from Credly are machine-readable and link to the credentialing institution for validation and context. Credly's badges can be displayed on LinkedIn and other social networks, in talent management systems, in e-portfolios, on Web sites and more. Credly also provides analytics on badges to help employers understand what they signify and how the skills may be useful.

"The unique structure of programs like our new online competency based bachelor's degree in business administration requires students to concretely demonstrate mastery of knowledge, skills and abilities," said Charles Bullock, provost at Brandman, in a prepared statement. "A new approach to offering degree programs deserves a new way to help students put their education to work — and digital badges are an important part of doing that."

Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution serving approximately 12,000 students online and at 26 campuses in California and Washington. It was the fourth institution with approval from the Department of Education to provide financial aid for students using direct assessment in competency-based education.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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