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The Oregon Center for Digital Learning is a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to promoting the use of digital micro-credentials and education technology innovations in Oregon.

Our initial focus is on the development of an ecosystem of open digital badges for students and professionals. An open digital badge ecosystem allows learners of all ages to showcase achievements and demonstrate workforce readiness while keeping the data in the hands of the learner.

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Building the infrastructure for a robust open badge ecoysystem in Oregon.

What are digital badges?

A digital badge can be thought of as an electronic representation of a printed certificate. Like printed certificates, you can use digital badges in a wide variety of ways.

Badges are commonly used to represent skill-based achievements in both academic and non-academic settings, but they can also be used to represent credentials obtained as part of continuing education and professional licensing requirements.

Why are digital badges important?

Schools and institutions of all kinds are looking for ways to capture and document a learners' participation and skill acquisition in and out of the classroom. Digital badges give these organizations a vehicle to communicate various types of data about learning, proficiency, and assessment in one form, standardized, across all kinds of issuers.

At the same time, employers need to have a more granular view of an individual's skills and a vehicle by which they can fine-tune the skills they want to see in the workforce. Digital badges allow employers to differentiate candidates more readily - and allow candidates to build a well-rounded picture of their skills and achievements.

What needs to happen?

Several groups have tried to address these needs by creating proprietary standards for digital badges, but these efforts have failed to gain traction because the badges aren't portable - they have no use outside of the badge issuer's system.

To address this problem, the Mozilla Foundation, in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, created an open technical standard and free software to make it simple for any organization to create, transfer, and verify digital badges. This standard made it possible to create systems where credential information is both easily portable and can be owned by the credential earner. Since the 2011 launch, there has been a groundswell of interest in the Open Badges standard and it is rapidly becoming the lingua franca for digital credentials.

How will OCDL help?

As part of this movement, the Oregon Center for Digital Learning was founded to build the infrastructure needed to create a robust open badge ecosystem in Oregon. The Center's primary mission is to create and pilot technology systems which will benefit Oregon and which can then be reproduced in other states and eventually around the world.

Examples of needed infrastructure and technology systems OCDL plans to provide include: a secure badge archival location and a badge reader website with tools such as an auto-designer, an arranger; and badge kits. Some of these tools are currently in their prototype phase at the Oregon Center for Digital Learning.

As part of our pilots we plan to develop youth advisory groups to help us design and implement badge systems in a way that is relevant and useful to the young people they are designed to serve. We believe in learning systems designed by learners.

As part of our efforts, we recently launched the Oregon Badge Alliance along with our initial partners.

What is the Oregon Badge Alliance?

The Oregon Badge Alliance serves as a nexus for discussion among educators, education agencies, industry leaders and technology groups who are working together to empower our youth and workforce.

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Want to help?

  • Donations from individuals and companies are tax deductible and can be for general operating funds or directed to specific programs.
  • In-kind donations of goods and services are greatly appreciated and also tax deductible.
  • Leads and introductions to potential supports are always welcome.
  • Graduate internships are available.
  • The OCDL Student Advisory Council will soon be accepting application for interested high school candidates!

Please contact us to speak about how you or someone you know might want to be involved.

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