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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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Empowering Learners: Using Badges & ePortfolios to Navigate to Success

#Twitter: 
#aln77287
Presenter(s)
Linda Ralston (University of Utah, USA)
Session Information
October 31, 2014 - 9:40am
Track: 
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Blended Learning; Online Learning and Community Colleges
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Community Colleges; Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Northern Hemisphere E2
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Session: 
Concurrent Session 11
Abstract

Join us for a learner-centered session reviewing the use of badges and eportfolios to motivate and guide students in their discovery and acquisition of skills.

Extended Abstract

Attention Teachers! If you have found yourself engaged in juggling a multitude of demands while walking a financial tight-rope, then consider the following solution for gaining control. Current web 2.0 applications make it possible to design a learner-centered environment without the support of teaching assistants while cognizant of different student needs, abilities, learning styles, and career goals. This case study will demonstrate a method for documenting accreditation standards and learning outcomes in a manner that fulfills academic requirements. Additionally, this program provides students with an ever-evolving digital portfolio that will support their transition to a successful career.

The Problem: Today's teachers are increasingly challenged to meet the needs of external accreditation standards, serving an increasingly diverse student population, preparing for a dynamic global industry, while faced with dwindling financial resources. The following issues will be addressed in this session:

Challenge #1: The increasingly expansive demand for documentation of learning is often overwhelming due different authorities with independent reporting systems. The drafting of extensive reports can be time-consuming and distract from research and teaching efforts. Fortunately, the recent availability and ease-of-use learning management systems (LMS), such as, Canvas LMS allow for the integration of learning outcomes, rubrics, badge/credentials and digital portfolios. This provides a dynamic reporting system that meets the needs of accreditation without increasing the need for a variety of reports. The analytics generated via Canvas LMS and the visible evidence represented by eportfolios demands minimal time once the alignment of outcomes/standards have been established with the learning activities and assessments.

Challenge #2: The Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey found that "Despite their degrees, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say they will need more training in order to get their desired job" (p. 3). Accenture further identified a mismatch between what employers are seeking in new hires and the skills being taught in college curriculums. How can we better prepare our students to meet the needs of future employers and demonstrate that knowledge and skill in a manner suitable for recruiters? We found employers were eager to identify the skills and knowledge they were seeking that could be incorporated into our learning outcomes, evaluated utilizing rubrics, and recognized with electronic badges. These badges and accomplishments could be displayed in electronic portfolios that readily demonstrate the skills and knowledge that employers were seeking.

Challenge #3: How to design a positive learning environment that meets the varying needs and skills of students entering our program where limited resources restrict the amount of time available for one-on-one assistance? Self-Determination Theory was utilized to design a curriculum framework for a flexible program that entrusted individual students with the responsibility to set their own goals and learning expectations. The learning modules incorporated pre-recorded, screen-capture tutorials that students could follow on-their-own or during a computer lab with the instructor and peers to assist them. After satisfying a minimal level of skill in each of the content areas, students could select to achieve advanced levels of skill development via online learning modules targeting specific badges as well as, earn recognition for peer tutoring and group leadership during f2f computer lab meetings. This option-rich environment has resulted in the achievement of academic outcomes and higher student satisfaction. The end result was a learner-centered course that resulted in higher student satisfaction and increased achievement of learning outcomes with a built-in documentation of accreditation standards.

Session Agenda:
A. Introduction and overview of the case study: An electronic marketing course.
B. Identification of selected learning outcome(s).
C. Review of related learning module and short video of student engagement.
D. Design of related assignments, rubrics, and badge criteria.
E. Incorporation of badges in student eportfolios.
F. Postscript: Videos of employer's and student's impressions/responses (Unfortunately, time limits will not permit sharing these during the session but attendees will be invited to view them online following the session.)

Session Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, attendees will be able to:
1. Outline the initial steps required to develop their own badge recognition program.
2. Compare and contrast the resources available for badge design utilizing an evaluation rubric.
3. Compare and contrast the resources available for eportfolios utilizing an evaluation rubric.
4. Summarize the potential benefits achieved by linking learning outcomes with badges and eportfolios within their own program.
5. Identify the benefits recognized by students and employers in the program.

Major Lessons Learned:
• Involve professionals in identifying the levels of achievement and skills needed for success in the industry.
• Involve students in designing badges through the use of Adobe PhotoShop, Illustrator, or other software utilized in one of our courses.
• Involve students in nominating peers for outstanding leadership, mentorship, and collaboration.

Audience Engagement: Attendees will receive a worksheet/template to use during the session and a link for a PDF booklet on developing their own program focused on linking learning outcomes, learning modules, assessments, badges, and eportfolios. This will include evaluation rubrics, badge criteria, badge design criteria, badge and eportfolio resources, and eportfolio templates. Attendees will be able to openly ask questions and share their own experiences as we walk through the process and design of one class related project from learning outcomes, learning modules, assessment and rubrics, to the awarding of badges and inclusion in eportfolios. All slides and visual materials will be available at http://www.lindaralston.com/.

Selected References:

Accenture. (2013). Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey: Key findings. Retrieved from http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-2013-Coll...

Ash, K. (2012). ‘Digital badges' would represent students' skill acquisition: initiatives seek to give students permanent online records for developing specific skills. Education Week, 5(3), 24-25. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2012/06/13/03badges.h05.html

Carey, K. (2012). A future full of badges. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/A-Future-Full-of-Badges/131455/

Cengage Learning. (2014). What students say they need in order to become more engaged in class. Retrieved from http://assets.cengage.com/pdf/mi_digital_transition.pdf

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Linda Ralston is the Director of the International Tourism and Hospitality Management program, Coordinator of the Hospitality Management, and Director of Distance Learning for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She is the Instructor of the University of Utah CyberPedagogy course (Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence). She has taught international tourism, hospitality management, customer service, and services marketing since 1991. She has received the Utah Commission on Higher Education's Award of Excellence for Distance Learning and the Integration of Technology, the University Public Professor Award, the Brochard Learning Scholar, and the Society of Parks and Recreation Educator's Award of Excellence in Teaching.