Badges offer flexible, innovative education

digital-badgesColorado State University OnlinePlus, in a public-private partnership with RelevanceLogic Inc, has launched CSULogic, the university’s digital badge platform. Badging is an innovative approach to competency-based education that has the potential to offer cost-effective, learner-centered approaches for educational institutions, corporate training groups, and community organizations.

Badging programs allow learners to develop their own path through subject-specific, short online classes. Oriented towards mastery of a specific skill, they allow students to develop that skill and showcase specialized competencies to educators and employers without having to complete an entire degree program or certificate.

Colorado State was the first university in Colorado to offer digital badges, and has awarded more than 130 badges since the launch of the initial partnership in summer 2014. CSU currently offers two digital badge programs – the Certified Gardener Program and the Integrated Sustainability Management Program. The university plans to increase program offerings at a rapid pace in the coming year.

Innovative technology for cutting-edge learning

“The CSULogic badge management suite creates a one-of-a-kind operating system that leverages private technologies and public strengths in program strategy, curriculum, and credibility,” said Michael Macklin, director of new product development at CSU OnlinePlus. “Our partnership with RelevanceLogic allows us to recognize, embrace, and capitalize on disruption in higher education and allows us to stay on the leading edge of emerging trends in education.”

RelevanceLogic Inc., is a Colorado-based company specializing in business intelligence and big data analytics and interpretation. The partnership with this private software firm has allowed CSU to take its badge program to a higher level of customization to individual learners and create a platform for the development of future programs. Their unique technology allows the CSULogic badging platform to fully utilize social media for the learning community in a specific area, allowing individuals pursuing a badge to share ideas and collaborate on various problem solving activities.

Connecting to CSU’s mission

CSU’s development of its digital badge platform is rooted in its land-grant mission of providing access to world-class education and research, both on-campus and at a distance through OnlinePlus, the university’s online unit. CSULogic will be a resource for a wide range of audiences, including students seeking competency-based learning options, academic units at the University seeking to build digital badges into their programs, and external clients who want to build training programs that award badges.

“CSU’s digital badge strategy is working to answer a fundamental set of questions: how do we provide learners with the tangible skills they need, when they need them, and at a price they can afford?” Macklin said. “In addition to working with our campus partners, we are developing badges that provide public and private industry partners cost-effective workforce training. This partnership represents a cutting-edge approach to education that dramatically expands specialized learning opportunities.”

To learn more about badge programs at CSU, visit