Using Digital Badges to Add Lustre to College Applications

Source: NYTimes, Nov 2012

…. a digital badge, a new type of credential being developed by some of the most prominent businesses and learning organizations in the world, including Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California, the Smithsonian, Intel and Disney-Pixar.

… digital badges are actually portals that lead to large amounts of information about what their bearers know and can do. They are also being used to improve education itself, by borrowing techniques from video games that keep users playing, until they advance to the next level.

Badges are gaining currency at the same time that a growing number of elite universities have begun offering free or low-cost, noncredit courses to anyone with access to the Internet and a desire to learn. Millions of students have already signed up for massive open online courses, or MOOCs.  By developing information-age credentials backed by a wide array of organizations outside the education system, creators of badge programs may be mounting the first serious competition to traditional degrees since college-going became the norm.

Instead of taking Advanced Placement tests, high school students can jump directly into online courses like those offered at Purdue and Carnegie Mellon and present their badges on college applications.

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