Tag Archives: motivation

247 – Open Badges: Supporting Learning and Employability by Recognising Skills Development – Ian Glover

Open Badges were developed in 2010 by the Mozilla Foundation, with support from Peer2Peer University and the MacArthur Foundation. They are designed to be a method of validating and certifying knowledge and experience in a less formal manner than degree certificates and grade transcripts, and have been identified as having a high potential impact on education, likely to be felt within the next 2-5 years (Open University, 2012, p. 16-18). Additionally, they have the potential to be a motivational tool to encourage students to take control of their studies and help emphasise the need for extra-curricular experience and achievement. In this way, Open Badges can support employability strategies by providing students with clear targets that are relevant to industry.

Open Badges support linking to evidence to justify their award, meaning that they can aid students in developing portfolios of work and, by making the badges publically viewable, provide evidence of their work to prospective employers. Another major benefit of Open Badges is that they help expose the skills and competencies students have acquired through their studies. Students often overlook this aspect of Higher Education because the focus is on grades, yet it is the underlying skills that are often most valued by employers (McDowell, 2013).

This paper discusses the implications of Open Badge adoption on Higher Education, highlight examples of their use, and stimulate consideration of the potential of this recent innovation. Several existing online systems are available, and these are discussed along with some suggestions on possible uses for Open Badges.


McDowell, L. M. (2013). Skills and Labour market change. White Paper. http://www.nelep.co.uk/media/2624/linda-mcdowell-skills.pdf [accessed 04 May 2013].

Open University. (2012). Innovating Pedagogy 2012. White Paper. http://www.open.ac.uk/personalpages/mike.sharples/Reports/Innovating_Pedagogy_report_July_2012.pdf

[accessed 04 May 2013].

Click to view presentation:  247 Open Badges – SHULT13

288 – Course community: students are people too – Neil Challis, Michael Robinson

Presenter including contact details: Prof Neil Challis (n.challis@shu.ac.uk) Strand: Course identity Anticipated outcomes: A better shared understanding of lessons drawn from research as part of the More Math Grads project and experience with our own Mathematics course. Session outline:  When students arrive at university, they have often left their familiar – and familial –networks. This is self-evidently true for those who leave the home town and family to come to Sheffield, but it is just as true that a mature student who has lived all their life in Sheffield will find themselves in an unfamiliar environment, with new people and new challenges. Drawing on our work with the More Maths Grads project, working with students and staff from four institutions, and our experience with our own course, we start this presentation with the belief that perhaps the most important element of a “good course” is the development of a strong sense of community. This yields several important benefits, crucially including a happier and more motivated student body. In turn this provides students with a vital support network, both academic and pastoral, which reduces staff workload in the long run, and a sense of belonging and a sunnier disposition when it comes to the National Student Survey. A sense of community may include many different identities, but in an academic context the most critical is that within the course. Crucially, such a community needs to include the student’s peers, students from other years, and the staff. A subject group identity can be encouraged in a variety of ways and in this presentation we will give examples of different ideas which have worked at Sheffield Hallam or elsewhere. These include both curricular and extra-curricular activities, the physical environment, online tools, and the attitudes which staff have towards the students.

Click to view:  288 course community – students are people too

2012 Great extpectations: exploring the potential of text messaging to support students

Claire Craig and Neil Mayne, Salvation Army

Mobile phone technology has transformed how we communicate and interact with each other.  For many students texting is the means through which they maintain contact with friends manage their social lives.   This paper presents the findings of a small pilot project that explored the potential of mobile phone technology and text messaging to support students during their transition to university. 

Fifty three students participated in the pilot and were sent weekly uplifting text messages during the first eight weeks of their first semester at university.  The content of the messages, developed in partnership with third year students aimed to offer reassurance, practical advice and signpost individuals to support mechanisms within the university. 

Qualitative data was collected at the end of the pilot.  Analysis of this data showed that students found the texts to be motivating, helped to manage expectations, build confidence and offered reassurance particularly during assessment weeks. 

Within this paper I will describe some of the key lessons learned and share plans for the future development of this work.

C1 EX13 Presentation

C1 – (EX13, EX04, EX15, EX18) 14.20