Badges Go To Graduate School

I’ve just started awarding the first badges from my graduate seminar, IPT 692R: Introduction to Open Education. You can see the first badges I’ve issued here (including some to people outside BYU):

http://openeducation.us/badges-earned

I’ve used a very lightweight mechanism for issuing badges through the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure that I want to share. I know there are more complex, “scalable” systems for doing this, but I wanted to demonstrate that there is nothing stopping a single faculty member who wants to do something innovative from awarding badges in a DIY sort of way. Here’s my process:

1. The .json file is actually quite easy to create by hand – you can see an example here. But make sure you stay within the length guidelines for each field! See Section II of the Onboarding Issuer documentation for more details.

2. The one slightly confusing part of creating the .json file is hashing the recipient’s email address so that the address can’t be harvested for spam. I hashed recipient emails using the following little script:

#!/usr/bin/python
import hashlib
email = raw_input('Email address? ')
salt = '#ioe12'
hash = hashlib.sha256(email + salt)
print (salt.encode('hex'), hash.hexdigest())

3. I included one line of javascript in the Badges Earned page so that I could use the Issuer API:

  

4. Finally, next to each name on the Badges Earned page, I placed a single “claim” link (using javascript) that awardees can use to claim their badges:

(claim)

The result?

Easy-peasy!

Now, in addition to getting a grade on a transcript that no one will ever see, my students are getting multiple, tamper-proof badges, with links to supporting evidence, that potential employers can see, judge, and validate TODAY. I’m pretty excited.