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University System of Maryland Developing Digital Badges for Career Readiness

This summer, five institutions within the University System of Maryland (USM) will begin piloting digital badges to help students validate and communicate their career-ready skills. The system is deploying Portfolium's BadgeLink digital badging and learning pathways platform as part of its Badging Essential Skills for Transitions initiative, which will award eight badges aligned with competencies developed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, globalism, inter-culturalism, leadership, problem solving and professionalism.

BadgeLink "allows institutions to track student learning along curricular and co-curricular pathways and automatically award digital badges when students have unlocked achievements or demonstrated competencies," a news announcement explained. Features include:

  • An administrative portal for badge management, including a library of badges and rubrics;
  • Easy creation of badge-earning pathways;
  • Assessment tools for validating evidence of student competencies and automatically issuing badges; and
  • Reporting on student learning outcomes data.

USM's William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation will also use Portfolium's reporting tools to assess the initiative at both the institutional and systemwide level. The system's multi-year agreement with Portfolium includes "expansion incentives for USM institutions to opt into broader use of Portfolium ePortfolio and Portfolium Assessment at a discounted price," the announcement said.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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