State of the DML competition conversation

General overview
This past week saw activity in response to the 4th Digital Media and Learning (DML) competition: Badges for Lifelong Learning announcement as well as the idea of badges themselves. It was a bit of a bounce-back week where people were absorbing the idea of the competition and considering the impact of badges, primarily within the academic environment. Thus far, the business community’s response has been limited.

There has been a good deal of interest and response in the blogging community to the DML competition. And the DML competition website’s blog has been producing some great posts that spur continuing conversations. As for the general blog world, we’re getting responses in several directions from the academic side: “the current system is broken”; “peer learning is vital”; “the proposed system is problematic because it commodifies learning”; reference to the work initiated by the edupunk movement; and, concern about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. I unearthed one thoughtful blog post that sought to address badges for business: there the concern revolved around the potential for a plethora of badges in the ecosystem, and the potential for blowback in specificity of hiring criteria.

hashtags: #dmlbadges #openbadges
Lots of discussion and general poking-it-with-a-stick is occurring on Twitter. The conversation ranges from curiosity to “I’ve been thinking about something like this for a while,” to “when can we start implementing this?” While a few negative tweets float through, the initial shock of the new seems to have worn off and contemplation is beginning in earnest. A wonderful outcome: it appears that potential entrants are searching each other out through Twitter.

Note: Bryan Alexander will host another G+ hangout Tuesday, 10/4, 1pm ET.
A relatively new venue: one that could yield impressive information as we move ahead with the digital badges initiative. Additionally, it offers the ability to have small ad-hoc pseudo-webinars as the stages unfold. This past week, Bryan Alexander tweeted that he’d be leading an impromptu hangout where other members of the academic community could weigh in on the Open Badges Infrastructure as well as the concept of digital badges. This type of informal hangout seems to be an ideal communication method. Matt Thompson followed up with him to lead another in the coming week. Additionally, I have asked attendees of Bryan’s hangout to participate / mediate future discussions with the caveat that a badges team member attend to glean useful data. Additional recommendations about pursuing this venue or ideas about potential conversations are welcome.

Upcoming: October 6, 2011, platform: GoToMeeting
Details and registration requirements:
Hosted By: Cathy Davidson, Duke University Professor and HASTAC Co-Founder; Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking, HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation DML Competition; Erin Knight, Assessment and Badge Project Lead, Mozilla and P2PU; Matt Thompson, Education Lead, Mozilla Foundation; Carla Casilli, Project Manager, Open Badges, Mozilla Foundation

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The following information presents more granular explorations of the synopsized information above. 

HASTAC / MacArthur Foundation DML competition (a compendium of blog posts)
Planet Open Badges (a compendium of badges blog posts)
Open Badges Infrastructure:
Archived video of announcement:

Blogs, sample posts
A special mention for Cathy Davidson’s cool, collected and significantly commented-upon post from 09/16/11

Twitter, sample tweets
“I hope @khanacademy is getting in on this #openbadges conversation and submitting a proposal to the @dmlComp Badges + Knowledge Map = !!”   —@timothyfcook

“I think #openbadges has legs. Many common concerns but consensus we need assessment that is open, portable, modular, realworld ”  —@anya1anya

“@mvexel interested in Mozilla #openbadges for OSM, especially for mappers-in-training here in Haiti. Potential for @dmlComp collaboration?”   —@mapmeld

G+ hangouts 
Bryan Alexander:
NITLE blog post based on the hangout:

2 thoughts on “State of the DML competition conversation

  1. Jim Groom

    Why not link to some of the blogs that talk about Badges so we can follow the conversation? “The proposed system is problematic because it commodifies learning” comes specifically through Alex Reid’s post here: It makes enter the critique and conversation around badges easier. What’s more, the discussion in post like this seems more like trying to steer conversation away from why it seems to be railroaded in terms of money, attention, and promotion. It seems packaged in some ways that don;t really address some of the bigger social and cultural issues that have led to this sense of fiissure both inside and outside institutions.

    1. carlacasilli Post author

      Thanks for the comment, as well as the reference to Alex’s arguments. I did include a link to Alex’s blog but forgot to include a direct link to the post you referenced. However, his last three posts have addressed the issues (both positive and negative) and all are worth a read. This is all to say that I am interested in the conversations and happy to engage in the discussion. And for those of you unfamiliar with the Bava (Jim Groom), here’s a link to his bio.

      If you’re free Tuesday, 10/4 1pm ET (tomorrow or today, depending on when you read this), perhaps you can join the G+ hangout that Bryan Alexander will be hosting? If not, we are planning a webinar for the DML competition on Thursday, as noted above, and will be endeavoring to have additional informal G+ hangouts.

      Your comments also allow me to state that Mozilla, HASTAC, and MacArthur Foundation are actively seeking to improve representations of learnings, competencies and experience: we’re learning as we go and the conversation is far from over.

      Something I’d like to explore in a future post: the opportunities for alternative assessment criteria that open badges help to surface.


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