Having visible evidence of student learning that can stand alone adds depth and value to the traditional academic record of accomplishment. A combination of technologies will allow universities and other institutions to record, protect, and present new and more comprehensive evidence of learning including new education "artifacts" such as certificates, badges, or other forms of micro-credentials will communicate more clearly what the student has learned and more importantly what the student can do. This richer framework will also provide a roadmap to guide student learning, support greater agency during and after formal education and establish a foundation for lifelong learning. Many universities in several countries are beginning to develop ways of building new credentialing approaches. The BadgeChain project adds important features to this effort. A main example is that this project builds on an OpenBadges framework with significant higher education momentum by embedding the data as an encrypted record. Later we will place this encrypted badge metadata within an open ledger, maintained in a distributed database – similar to the data structure used by BitCoin to create permanent, immutable digital artifacts.
The test cases for this project will be drawn from the integration and demonstration of knowledge that is required in the conceptualization, design, build and test of tangible solutions to problems that take place in selected Cockrell College of Engineering baccalaureate courses. These will be drawn from makerspace design/build projects introduced into existing assignments during the early years of a student's engineering degree program, though similar student efforts are also initiated by the students in this environment. An initial credentialing opportunity in this area is managing machine and safety training that can enable student automated & logged access to makerspace equipment andcan be accepted across campus or even related town makerspaces.
Finally, part of the established role of faculty members is to capture their contributions, at least into a CV. Many universities have developed digital repositories for professors to collect and curate a more complete body of their work. Several recent efforts have supported similar student portfolio development. The badge artifacts being developed in this project will include links to reports, photos, videos and other representations of the work performed to earn the badge. It will inherently create a representative sample of student intellectual contributions on their journey to become a baccalaureate or later to reach higher or terminal degrees.