Show Me Your Digital Badge: A new tool for higher education?

digitalbadgeThere’s a new badge in town and it’s digital, portable, and displayed in a multitude of locations including your resume, social network sites, and perhaps someday, even your diploma. A grown up version of merit badges earned by scouts and video game fans, digital badges both motivate and measure learning. Linked to course objectives or competencies, they can document learning and drive performance.

Digital badges are gaining traction with some of the most prominent businesses and learning organizations in the world, including Notre Dame University, Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California Davis, the Smithsonian, Intel and Disney-Pixar. Even the medical community is badging their constituents thanks to a pilot program offered by the University of Michigan Medical School.

Although a number of software companies offer interfaces for both universities and organizations, for example, Credly allows users to easily create and share badges and BadgeOS works as a WordPress plugin, they still coordinate with the leader in the badge movement, Mozilla, the organization that gave us Firefox. Mozilla’s Open Badge system is free, portable, and evidence-based. Although badges can be issued by virtually anyone, each badge has meta-data attached that describes the skills and competencies behind the badge and also information about the issuer. A digital badge issued by an accredited university will carry more weight than a badge from your relatives or friends.

The majority of digital badges are awarded for continuing education, non-credit certification, and mastery of open learning coursework. UC Davis pioneered a system that awards digital badges for the mastery of curriculum related competencies in a degree program. It is a value added feature that allows students pursuing degrees in sustainable agriculture to document their skill and tell a story about what they can do. Notre Dame has developed a system that allows students to link digital badges to e-portfolios.

Universities using the Blackboard learning platform (like Roosevelt) now have the ability to issue badges to students using the Mozilla interface. Badges, or Achievements as they are called in Blackboard, are issued based on criteria developed by the instructor. Ideally, these criteria will be linked to course objectives, readily measurable, and of value to the student. When awarded, students can view the badges in Blackboard and can store them in their Mozilla Backpack. Badges can be added to LinkedIn accounts, resumes, and portfolios by simply adding a hyperlink to the Mozilla Backpack.

Although there is an increasing body of information on digital badges, here are a few sites that you don’t want to miss:

  1. An introduction to digital badges from the NY Times:
  2. Digital badges and the Blackboard interface:
  3. Mozilla’s open badges: and their wiki:
  4. The March 30th blog post by Vince Cyboran on digital badges:

Tell us what you think. . .

  • As a student, instructor, or alumni, what are your thoughts about digital badges?
  • Would you like to see them incorporated in our curriculum and courses?
  • How might you use and benefit from digital badges?
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Welcome Back!

RooseveltWelcome back to students, faculty, and alumni! The start of a new semester always brings a sense of anticipation about new possibilities. This semester is no different as we begin the 2015-16 academic year with some exciting changes and additions:

A big welcome to Roosevelt University’s new President, Ali Malekzadeh who brings a renewed focus on helping our students achieve their American dream.  You can read more about his background. I am sure that our program and the University as a whole will benefit from his expertise in strategic management.

Another big welcome to our new adjunct faculty member, Toni Thompson, who will teach TRDV 435 Organization Development this fall. Toni is a MATD alumni with many years of experience in both training and organization development.

You will see a revised and updated curriculum for both our M.A. in Training and M.A. in Organization Development that reflects critical skills and expertise needed by practitioners in both fields. You can learn more about the updated MATD curriculum here and the MAOD curriculum here. Students enrolling in our program prior to Fall 2015 will have the option of following the old curriculum.

Welcome also to our newly formed Alumni Board that includes graduates working in a variety of occupations related to training and organization development. Our new board includes:

  • Erwin Lee Acox, Jr., Chief of Diversity Recruitment and Outreach at Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Jeff Carpenter, Principal at Caveo Learning
  • Jenny Massoni, Global Head of Training & Communication at Astellas Pharma
  • Mallory Gott, Director, Education Development, Association Forum Chicagoland
  • Darryl Calhoun, MATD, Director of Programs and Operations at South Suburban PADS (non-profit helping the homeless)
  • Reggie Jackson, Academic Technology Analyst at the University of Chicago and TRDV adjunct faculty member
  • Kim Heintz, Product Trainer at Silk Road and TRDV adjunct faculty member
  • Mary Channon, Senior Training Professional, Mariano’s
  • Mallory Gott, CEO, Advanced Events
  • Janet Castelli, Instructional Designer, Motorola
  • Jay Semla, Sr. Professional Development Manager, Society of Actuaries
  • Israel Vargas, Assistant Provost for College Access and Targeted Recruitment Programs, Roosevelt University
  • Leslie Rae, Senior Program Director- Business Transformation, ADP

We are exploring the addition of digital badges to our online course. Stay tuned for more on this in next week’s post.

We hope you have an enjoyable and valuable semester!

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We’re off for summer break and will return 8/24.

summer break

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Graduate Credential in E-Learning

E-LearningWhen posting training jobs on the blog, I notice most, if not all, employers are looking to hire someone with e-learning skills. Whether organizations want you to work directly with learning tools like Captivate or manage the e-learning function, the need in this area is great and continues to grow.

Earning a Graduate Credential in E-Learning will enhance your degree and show an expertise in e-learning. The Graduate Credential requires you to take five courses. Three of the courses are embedded in the MATD and they include: TRDV 400 Introduction to Training and Development, TRDV 450 Learning Technologies and TRDV 451 Instructional Systems Design-1. The remaining classes consist of two of the following three elective courses:

TRDV 439 E-Learning Course Authoring-1

TRDV 452 Designing and Facilitating for the Virtual Classroom

TRDV 453 E-Learning Course Authoring-2

TRDV 439 and TRDV 453 are made to be taken in succession and are both being offered this fall.

To learn more about TRDV 439 E-Learning Course Authoring-1 and TRDV 453 E-Learning Course Authoring-2 click here.

Still trying to decide if e-learning is right for your or how classes prepare you for the workplace? In the fall we hosted a Webinar on preparing for a job in e-learning and we discuss these topics. You can review the recorded Webinar here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Finally, be sure to check out the job board this week where we highlight e-learning opportunities.

Contact Tara Hawkins , TRDV program coordinator, with any questions you may have about electives, Graduate Credentials, or enrollment



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Training at the Movies Part 1: What can Patrick Swayze teach us about manners?

Roosevelt Training and Development Graduate assistant
Patrick Swayze in a still from the 1989 movie "Road House."  Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Patrick Swayze in a still from the 1989 movie “Road House.” Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

As cases of alleged police brutality garner media attention and ignite protests around the country, it is no surprise that some municipalities have been reassessing how they train law enforcement workers.

However, a surprise did come via Larry Celona and Bruce Golding’s February 24 New York Post article about the NYPD using Patrick Swayze’s 1989 action movie “Road House” in a retraining initiative for 22,000 officers.

Celona and Golding write that trainers used a two-minute clip from the movie in a three-day training session mandated after Eric Garner died in a police chokehold. In the clip, Swayze’s character debriefs bar bouncers on how to handle rowdy customers. One of his “three simple rules” is “be nice.”

Although, a two-minute clip seems to be a small part of the reportedly $35 million project, “Road House” did seem to be an effective attention-getter in a session that included lectures “so boring that many cops have been falling asleep in their seats.”

Needless to say, using movie clips is a well-established instructional method. Just take a look at or even the Christian-focused Yet like any instructional device, movie clips need to match the audience need and training objective.

An article in the journal Literature and the Arts in Medical Education states that well-chosen movie clips “provide a quick and direct teaching scenario in which specific scenes point out important issues.”  In fact, the authors suggest using primarily American movies “since they tend to tell stories in a straightforward and uncomplicated manner” (Blasco, Moreto, Roncoletta, Levites, Janaudis, 2008). It seems NYPD made a good choice — you can’t get much more straightforward and uncomplicated than “Road House.”

What’s your favorite training flick?
Do you use movies for training? What are your favorite movie portrayals of training and development? Tell us about them in the comments and, if you can find one, add a link to a video.

Blasco P., Moreto G., Roncoletta AFT, Levites MR, Janaudis MA. Using movie clips to foster learners’ reflection: Improving education in the affective domain. Fam Med. 2006;38:94 –96. fmhub/fm2006/February/Pablo94.pdf.
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Congratulations Graduates- You’ve Done It

The Graduate Program in Training and Development is thrilled to announce our spring 2015 graduates:

  • Lisa Aguado1348676124-402_QuoteImages12[1]
  • Melissa Anderson
  • Ruth Black
  • Stacy Canul
  • Robert Carter
  • Jessica Cella
  • Eric Hahn
  • Jennifer Kayse
  • Nerissa Kelly
  • Shannon Lazar
  • Kerri Leo
  • Lauren Peters
  • Christina Prushinski

Congratulations, we are very proud of you!

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What do you know for sure?

oprahimageLooking back fifteen years to Oprah’s 2000 commencement address at Roosevelt University in a standing room only Auditorium Theater, she told 675 graduates that “change will only come about in our lives when we welcome it.” As students, or former students, you have welcomed change into your lives by pursuing your educational goals, making time to learn, and challenging yourselves to do your best work.

As we finish another year of achievement, growth, and discovery,  take a few moments to reflect and acknowledge your accomplishments. You deserve it!

Then, add a comment to this post to tell us:

  • What have you learned in your courses this past year? What best practices, tools, or strategies will you use in the future?
  • What change will you welcome into your life as you prepare to graduate (or move closer to graduation)?

(Note: Here is an excerpt from Oprah’s 2000 commencement address at Roosevelt University)

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