A degree or course might catch the eye of a potential employer, but at the end of the day, it’s what you can do that counts. Just ask any recent college graduate with a job. (Found one?) The boss needs him or her to do a good job, with the right attitude, regardless of what happened at college.
That’s one of the main ideas behind digital badges. Several online start-ups – and now, some universities – offer highly specific badges that students can earn based on their proven abilities. Students with identical degrees might command very different skill sets, whether by virtue of flexibility within programs or, simply, natural abilities and unique strengths. Decked out with badges indicating what, exactly, they can do, qualified students could make a more articulate, reliable case as to why they should be hired – and employers would be better equipped to hire the right candidates.
Do digital badges provide a degree of meaningful assessment that higher education currently lacks, or are they just another layer of noise?