Monday, February 11, 2013

An Open, Distributed System for Badge Validation


We’ve released a request for comments on a proposal for badge validation, specifically, an open, distributed system for badge validation.

Here’s the direct link to the paper:

Bonus Commentary

Here’s some extra commentary for all of you blog-loving folks:

There have been a lot of people that have claimed that badges could replace degrees. That collections of badges could serve as legitimate portfolios or pathways that tell the same story as a degree, and in fact tell a much more in depth story given that we can use badges to capture more granular learning and each badge is evidence-based. I get asked a lot if I believe that badges will replace degrees and it’s a tough question. It’s not what we are setting out to do necessarily, the use case for badges in informal learning spaces is a primary one since that learning is not currently recognized. But I know I do believe in the utopia where learners can craft their own paths across the many learning opportunities available - especially those that are free and accessible. Where on-the-job experience counts for you in a real way. Where all of the learning and experiences in your lifetime are connected and stitched together around your identity or identities. Degrees definitely do no do this for you, but badges could.

I guess I don’t really think degrees will go away anytime soon, but I do think that its possible for badges to function at that level for people. But in order to do so, we need some way to validate the learning behind the badge - to ensure it represents what it says it does. Another way to think about this is, we need to accredit badge issuers.

But remember that the point of badges is an open credentialing system. We want there to be lots of issuers of all shapes and sizes. We learners to earn badges across many different issuers and experiences. The one benefit of a monopoly - which formal education currently has on credentialing - is that you can super tightly control it. You can validate the learning from the top down and put the rubber stamps in the hands of a small group of people. This won’t work for badges, so how can we validate badges?

The proposal we have released relies on a similar model to current accreditation - standards, evaluation and evidence - but each piece is open and distributed instead of closed and top-down. It includes a set of technical requirements, as well as social requirements that cover:

  • Standards - encouraging badge issuers to align with open standards or competency frameworks and store that information in the badge metadata.
  • Endorsements (Evaluation) - allow third parties to review badges and sign them, or endorse the badge. This information then lives with that badge as additional valuation data.
  • Reporting and Analytics (Evidence) - ways to view usage and consumption data of badges so that we see which badges are getting which jobs, which standards are most used or accepted, etc. Surfacing those badges/standards/issuers that are bubbling to the top .

The goal is to create a highly efficient and effective way of validating, valuing and comparing badges

It might all come together like this:



Diagrams: All of the standards, endorsement (evaluation) and usage/adoption data (evidence) becomes more information that lives with the badge and travels with it across the web.

The paper goes into much more detail around each part of how they work together. Looking forward to your comments and feedback below, or even better, on the Open Badges mailing list.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Webmaker Badges Roadmap

It’s roadmappin’ time again, folks. I’ve shifted my focus a bit to zero in on making badges a success and that has two pieces:

  1. Web literacy badges
  2. The Open Badge Infrastructure and wider badge ecosystem

This roadmap covers the web literacy badges plan for the rest of the year. Look for the OBI roadmap to follow shortly.



Objective #1: Build the web literacy standard. 

I’ve written about this before and done a bunch of thinking about it sense. This is a different spin on the work we’ve done so far to define the skills that we think are the core pieces of being web literate, or having those literacies. The goal is to co-create and maintain a learning standard with a bunch of partners - and then for us all to align to that standard and work together toward this common goal of creating a web literate planet. 

We don’t yet know what the ‘product’ for the standard looks like, but we’ll be digging into that more deeply over the next few weeks. If you are interested in learning more, we’re hosting a virtual meeting next Thursday, Feb 7th. Join us!

Objective #2: Build more web literacy badges. 

We rolled out the first set of web literacy badges last November through Webmaker, that covered some basic web competencies like HTML and CSS. Obviously, that is a small slice of our vision of web literacy and we want to expand the badge offering to cover more skills - ultimately to provide learning pathways and badges for all of them. 


Objective #3: Build assessment pathways.

This is the fuzziest of our objectives because we could do it in lots of different ways. Ultimately, we want to give people a way to demonstrate the web skills they have, regardless of where or how they learned them, and get assessed and earn recognition (badges) for those skills. This could manifest as a mechanism for submitting a link to something you built to the Mozilla community to assess and then earning one of our badges. Or it could involve building mini assessments aligned with each competency/skill that you can come back to us to demonstrate your skills, or you could take those assessments and build them into your own curriculum, etc. Lots of things to decide on but lots of exciting potential directions. 

Objective #4: Launch the New Backpack.

This is where the two roadmaps intersect a bit. The Backpack in the Open Badge Infrastructure is a repository and management interface for each badge earner. Right now, they can use their Backpack to collect badges across issuers, create groups and publish them and share out badges. It’s the, as we like to say at Mozilla, minimal viable product of what people could do with their Backpacks. We have lots of ideas of expanding on that to include dashboards, goal setting, discovery of other learning opportunities and finding mentors. We will most likely build this for Webmaker first and then role it into the broader ecosystem solution. 

What Success Looks Like:

These are sort of cheating as far as success metrics go, but its still early and just want to give an idea of what we’d feeling like celebrating:

  • Launch the learning standard for web literacy
  • Have lots of other orgs and people aligning with it
  • Offer learning pathways and badges for all of the competencies/skills 
  • See lots and lots of people earning and sharing these badges

How We Will Get There:

Tons of work to do and here’s how it will roll out over the year:



  • Launch second wave of web lit badges
  • Launch peer assessment
  • Continued standard iteration and partner recruitment


  • Launch larger Mozilla-wide badge system
  • First prototypes of assessment pathways
  • Additional integration in Webmaker


  • Launch full set of web literacy badges
  • Launch assessment pathways
  • Launch Dashboard / New Backpack

Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


It’s that time of year again and I’ve been using the MoFoHoHo break to not only chase around a 14 month old and two chocolate labs, but also to reflect on my resolutions for 2013.

1) Set the groundwork (and standard) for a web literate planet.

We often say our work is aimed at ‘creating a web literate planet’, but this is the step before that -  more about evangelizing the idea of web literacy, as well as creating and promoting web literacy as a standard, so that a bunch of people can work towards a web literate planet with us. The end goal is the same, but its a much more collaborative spin on how we get there. And my team’s contribution has been to build the foundations for this work and will pull together a collaborative working group early this year to iterate and build a standard that we can all use.

2) Tip Open Badges.

Open Badges has been steadily building up momentum and this is the year to curve jump or reach the tipping point. This will involve adoption work, to get high value badges and proofs of concept into the ecosystem, as well as consumption work, to see more organizations and institutions accepting and using badges for jobs or credit. We will also significantly improve and expand the Open Badge Infrastructure, as well as surface the information and connections required to make it easier and more effective to issue and use badges.

3) Be strong and kind, as a leader and a mother.

Our fearless leader Mark, has some great resolutions and I have borrowed my last one from him.

This one doesn’t need a lot of context - it’s beautifully eloquent and just dead on. I learned a lot last year about motherhood, leadership and work life balance. I had lots of great times with great people (and a particular baby) and some tough times as well. This year I want to roll all of those lessons and achievements into a more finesseful, confident and zen approach to my life and work. I want to be more present in each moment, carve out the time needed to give my full attention to things, take more time to really connect with people and as Mark said, generally be kind. At the same time, I want to be a rock and stay solidly focused on our growth, progress and goals for this year.

2012 was exhilarating and exhausting. So much change and momentum building. 2013 is a year of digging in and making things great. There is so much potential - I am very excited to do this together.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Open Standard for Web Literacy: A Vision for Webmaker

We’ve been doing a lot of planning and brainstorming and chatting about what Webmaker will look like in 2013. There are lots of good ideas floating around that you can see from a bunch of my colleagues here, here, here and here.

One thing I want to add into the mix is the vision for Webmaker as an open standard for web literacy

That’s a mouthful so let’s work backwards and break that down a bit:

The Web Literacy part…

(Or as Doug reminds me, web literacies)

We’ve been talking for a long time about the skills that we think people need to be a webmaker. To be more producer-minded. To understand and love the Web. To express themselves in a way they can be proud of. To compete in today’s economy. To be an active citizen.

In addition to all of the flashy tools, content and branding we’ve been launching over the last year, we’ve also been doing some considerable ‘underbelly’ work to define the thing we are ultimately after: a generation of web literate people. Doug has been leading a lot of our initial work in this area, which looks something like this in its current iteration:

You can see that there is a mix of ‘hard’ skills like HTML and CSS - very specific skills that people need to know to make things on the web without wysiwygs or forms. But then there are also a lot of the more social or 21st century skills like sharing, collaboration and remixing. 

The Standard part…

I think this is important work for more reasons than just enumerating the things that Mozilla cares about or may provide learning pathways and badges for, but as a definition that we, as in the royal we of the web world, can all get behind and all teach to. One of the issues with the digital literacy work that’s been around for some time, is that there isn’t a commonly agreed upon description of what it actually means from a skill perspective, or when we can draw a line and say, congrats, you are digitally literate! Some of that is beautiful - we want flexibility and room for innovation - but I think there needs to be a core definition that people can build from. I think that’s one thing that Webmaker can offer. You can use our tools if you want, but you can also use your own tools or other options out there - but if we all agree on the basic thing that we’re working towards, we’ve created a web-wide choose your own adventure for learners, with a success story that benefits them and helps us all reach our goals.

The Open part…

This is a loaded word and that’s intentional here. I think in order to be successful, this standard needs to be open in several ways, some of which I’ve already alluded to:

1) Open as in open source:

Mozilla cannot build and maintain this standard alone. In fact, we haven’t been - Michelle and now Doug, have been traveling the world, talking to experts and n00bs and everything in between to get a sense of what skills are important. Lots of people have contributed and we are going to be ensuring that this is even more of a community effort moving forward.

Additionally, this standard needs to be extensible. We should see this as the core and leave room for people to easily hang things off of it (i.e. design skills, game theory, etc.). 

2) Open as in open ecosystem:

Mozilla can’t be the only place you come to learn this stuff. Lots of other people are already teaching people many of these skills and so let’s leverage each other to teach web literacy at web scale. In fact, as you look at that grid above, it’s highly unlikely that any one organization will teach all of those things, so again, it’s together that things become more comprehensive and more powerful.

We also aren’t saying that there are particular ways that people should teach this stuff. We are building some of our own learning pathways which will be very making-forward, but to appeal to everyone, there are a lot of other approaches that should be in the mix (for example, folks like Codecademy, Coder Dojo and Khan Academy), but also including approaches that aren’t even intended to be learning experiences. There is a lot going on through Twitter or Instagram that help people develop web skills like sharing or curating. Again, it will be important to leverage a lot of the work and options that are already out there and find ways to build the learning/recognition layer on top of things people already love to do.

3) Open as in Open Badges:

We are developing a set of badges that are aligned with this definition of web literacy, but again, if Mozilla sites are the only places that you can earn those badges, we’re limiting ourselves, and constraining learners. Recognizing the learning and skill development, and fostering reputation and identity development around web literacy is as huge part of all of this and that necessarily means that we need a solution for a more distributed set of badges. Good news is that our other day job is building and promoting Open Badges, so we have the infrastructure in place, but no one else in that ecosystem is sharing badges across organizations so solving for that will be an important challenge.

What we end up with is a co-designed, shared purpose with a much wider network with much wider reach…and a much higher likelihood of ‘winning’ together.

Lots of work to do on this moving forward - excited to work with all of you on it.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Webmaker Badges Are Here: Get Recognized!

I wrote awhile back about our thinking around the Webmaker Badges. Well that thinking is now a reality, we launched the first set of Webmaker badges at MozFest.

There was a big Mozilla post and fanfare around the launch, so I’ll just let you read that for the high level details, but I wanted to go a level deeper and also highlight some key next steps.

Deeper Dive

Webmaker Badges

Skills + Participation.

As I detailed in my previous post, and as you can sort of see above, the initial badges cover a range of ‘hard’ skills like HTML and CSS, but also a range of participation and contribution activities. We think web literacy is more than just learning how to code or specific technical things, but also about being good active members of communities, etc. The first Webmaker badges are a taste of this.

Starting small.

The badges above represent the first of a much larger set of badges that we plan to release over the next year. We knew we needed to start somewhere and zeroed in on the core skills that we were already covering in Thimble, as well as participation badges aligned with MozFest, but plan to release badges that span more skills, levels and events.

Innovative assessments.

Repeat after me: Badges are not assessment. Badges are the thing you get after you’ve learned something and successfully demonstrated that learning through an assessment. The assessments are incredibly important because they are the ‘evidence’ or meat behind the badges. For the initial Webmaker skill badges, we are using embedded assessment, meaning that we’ve built rules into Thimble that automatically assess as the making is occurring and issue badges accordingly. We love this type of assessment because its built into the making, or the stuff that the learner wanted to do anyway, versus making the learner do some artificial separate assessment like a multiple choice quiz. It works pretty well for things like HTML and CSS.

Smart issuing technology.

We’ve built a pretty awesome tool, currently called Open Badger, that supports badge creation and issuing. It allows someone to define a badge, including assigning a name, image, and all of the metadata behind the badge, generates criteria pages, gives you an API to award badges based on learner behavior on your site and posts/hosts the badge assertion for you. And I’m sure I’m missing a few things. It’s pretty awesome and of course, its open source. We’ll be releasing it early next year for folks to run on their own servers. For now, we are beta testing it as the engine behind the Webmaker Badges.

What’s Next

User experience tweaks.

We watched a bunch of people earning badges at MozFest and while people love the badges, we’ve got some work to do on the UX to make sure that people not only understand the badges, but make the connection back to the learning that occurred. This launch was the MVP so we knew we made some sacrifices on the UX front and the good news is that we learned a lot at the festival and have the right people in place to take the experience to the next level.

More badges.

As I mentioned before, this was just the initial set of badges. Next up, we are working to launch badges in Popcorn Maker, as well as add more badges across the web literacy skills to our arsenal.

More assessment innovation.

We did some pretty cool stuff with the embedded assessment for this launch and we want to do more of that, as well as explore peer and self assessment approaches to provide additional flexibility and robustness to the badges.

Open sourcing.

One of the main goals for 2013 is figuring out how to meet our goal of building a generation of webmakers without getting in the way. There are a lot of other people already doing awesome stuff that teaches various webmaking skills or web literacies and we want to include them or recognize their learning, etc. We don’t know exactly what that means yet but we want to find a way to open up the Webmaker Badges to a much broader set of organizations and learning pathways.

Shout Outs

I’ve been lucky enough to be the one introducing the world to the Webmaker Badges, but the credit really goes to the awesome team, including:

  • Carla Casilli - Chief Brains and Systems Designer of the Webmaker Badges and learning pathways behind them. She’s the big kahuna of Webmaker Badges and she pulls together all the pieces to make it a badge SYSTEM.
  • Chloe Varelidi - Assessment Guru and Badge Mentor (while also driving all of the hackable games work!). She helped define all the initial badges and assessment approaches.
  • Doug Belshaw - His Majesty of Web Literacies and Skills. He owns the definition of the web literacies and skills.
  • Chris McAvoy - Chief Techie Wrangler. He wrangles all of the brilliant geeks (and is in fact a brilliant geek himself) to deliver production grade stuff on schedule.
  • Jess Klein - Aesthetic Sorceress. She wields her magic to make things beautiful, usable and effective for all of Webmaker.
  • Atul Varma - The Innovation Developer, or the Guy-Who-Makes-All-The-Crazy-Ideas-Real-Things, responsible for making the embedded assessment in Thimble a reality, among other things, like, um, Thimble.
  • Brian Brennan - Badges Overlord. But not the evil kind. He is the technical brains behind the Open Badge Infrastructure and built the issuing technology for the Webmaker Badges.
  • Mike Larsson - Finesse Doctor and our go to Fire Fighter. He not only builds mission critical stuff and fixes problems, but adds the finesse on top of everything. 
  • Chris Appleton - Badge Designer Extraordinaire. He not only designed the first School of Webcraft badges way back when, but designed our pretty honeycomb badges for Webmaker.
  • Sunny Lee - Big Picture Advisor. She represents the Open Badges work and helps keep the Webmaker badges work firmly grounded in the wider ecosystem efforts.

Thanks all! You should all get badges for the awesome work! And thanks to the extended team that gave feedback, fixed bugs, promoted the work, etc.


Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that Mozilla is enjoying one of its most successful phases ever. Mozilla’s Big Comeback - Glyn Moody
Friday, November 2, 2012

Webmaker at MozFest

So, you may of heard, but there is this awesome festival coming up next week - it’s MozFest in London, and it’s going to be awesome. 

Webmaker will be a big part of MozFest and here’s how:

Building Webmaker Track / Theme

There are a ton of sessions at MozFest this year. You can get a filtered view of the Webmaker-relevant sessions through the Building Webmaker track. And you’ll notice that these aren’t just sessions about Webmaker, but as the name implies, they are chances to get your hands dirty and help us build Webmaker. Whether its creating starter projects, prototyping how to teach javascript (and building out teaching content for all of Webmaker*, for that matter), imagining Webmaker for mobile, or more, you can help us shape the very near future of Webmaker.  

*cross posted from the Hacktivate Learning track

Webmaker Floor

If you head on up to the top floor at Ravensbourne, you’ll find yourself in the mystical place known as the Webmaker Floor. This floor houses almost all* of the Building Webmaker sessions, as well as the Hacktivate Zone, which is where a bunch of really smart people will be figuring out how to teach this stuff and scale our reach.  The Webmaker Floor is also the home to the Webmaker Bar, explained more below, and some fun lounge-y, hang-out-with-the-designers areas as well. We’ll have some ambient hack zones too, like a project idea board where you can put up starter project topics or ideas that you’d like to see, as well as a huge hackable web literacy skills grid that you can post questions and suggestions directly on.

*I should note that there are definitely sessions and activities relevant to Webmaker occurring on the other floors and you should definitely check out all of the floors and tracks. Come visit the top floor for the core set of get-your-hands-dirty-with-Webmaker sessions.

Note: this image is not completely updated - we are still working with the configuration of the teaching studios. But it gives you an idea of all the energy that will be happening at any given time on the Webmaker Floor.

Webmaker Bar

The Webmaker Bar will be the place you go to make awesome stuff during the Festival. We’ll have some programming there to kick start your creative juices, but its mostly about coming and using Thimble, Popcorn Maker, the X-ray Goggles or a tool of your choice to make something and share it. BYOL(aptop) or use some of the computers we’ll have set up there. Check out all of the starter projects to see some ideas on what to make.

The couches next to the Bar will feature some of our designers and product folk at various times across the two days for some one-on-one user testing and deep dive feedback sessions. 

Hope to see you in London!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introducing Webmaker, the Product

As you all may remember from previous posts and announcements, we launched Webmaker, the Brand, a few months ago and built and released some of the core foundations, like Thimble, PopcornMaker and the initial learning projects. All of this existed under the common branding umbrella, but were still stand alone projects, teams and processes and end user experiences. 

As Mark mentioned in his post, over the last couple of months, we’ve been focusing on Webmaker, the Product, not as a major pivot - we’ve been doing this stuff for almost a year now - but really as a new perspective on our work and honing in on core priorities. We’re doing so for two core reasons:

  1. Experience - we want to develop a Webmaker experience that helps people make things that they want to share and learn web skills in the process. The tool or the mechanics of how things work behind the scenes shouldn’t get in the way of the making and sharing experience. This requires a group of people thinking about the experience from that level, stitching together various tools and sites, creating pathways across projects, etc. At the same time, we need to make sure the tools and projects behind that experience are high quality/robust and remain innovative, so we want to have clear foresight into the roadmaps against the Webmaker goals.
  2. Efficiency - we want to make sure that we’re prioritizing things and allocating resources in a way that supports that experience. But this isn’t just internally, we also want to make participation and contribution as easy and seamless as possible - this needs to be designed and supported as a core part of the product.

With all of this in mind, we spent a few weeks drilling into the details and landed on a crisper definition of what Webmaker (the Product) is, who it’s for and how it’s going to roll out and grow. We need some help in gut checking on this to make sure it feels right and that there aren’t any major gaps:

Why Webmaker?

We want to teach people about the web through the web and real technologies. What better way to understand and fall in love with the web, then realize that you can remix it for your own views and opinions and then share it with your networks? And what if in that process, you learned core skills that helped you not only make more things on the web, but changed your attitude in life from just consumption and acceptance, to production and expression? That’s what we are trying to do here, that’s why Webmaker.

What is Webmaker?

Two elements of Webmaker:

  1. Tools - tools that support remixing, making and sharing on the web, while building learning into the process as well. Thimble, Popcorn Maker and X-ray Goggles for now. Game Maker, Mobile later.  [logos]
  2. Starter Projects - projects, challenges, games and content that sit on top of the tools and guide people in making cool shit and provide instructions and learning objectives as well. On Thimble, starter projects are hackable webpages that have some challenge or project that you complete by editing the HTML and CSS code on the left. In Popcorn, starter projects are thematic videos that you can remix, with some skill development baked into the core content of the video.

Who is Webmaker for?

Two audiences for Webmaker:

  1. primary: webmakers - people with something to say, those who want to express themselves and tinker*
  2. secondary: webmaker makers - i.e. educators - those who want to teach other people this stuff, amplify our cause and our reach. We want to build this community, inspire them to teach webmaking and empower them to not only use our content, but remix it and to contribute back.
*A few important pieces here to unpack:
  • with something to say”: we are targeting the current or future Tumblrs of the world - those people who have an opinion, a sense of humor, a cause, etc. We want to help them make things that they care about and want to share with the world. 
  • tinker”: we’ve decided that for now, our target audience is more amateur and playful. So we want to support someone making a webpage to show their love for Lady Gaga, but not necessarily someone who wants to come make their business webpage. Doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t make their business webpage, but we are not explicitly focusing there. Also has implications for the types of service level agreements, domain registrations, etc. we offer.

How will Webmaker roll?


  • Making + learning foundations (mostly done, in progress)
  • Experience design and connections across tools (MozFest)
  • Contribution foundations (end of 2012)
  • User + social features including gallery, collaboration within the tools, etc. (end of Q1 2013)

MozFest is our first big deliverable for Webmaker, and its a really important one since its the place that we can not only show off our stuff, but more importantly, playtest and user test our stuff and our ideas so that we can come out of it with a solid direction and set of priorities for 2013. Here are some of the core deliverables for MozFest (note, this is the high level view, look for a post from our head of software, Chris, on the technical and more minute details):

  • Experience: ship more unified UX, connecting the Webmaker experience across tools and sites
  • Webmaker Badges: launch badges in Thimble. We see badges as a connector between tools and learning experiences, but also between learners and community members. We are starting with badges and associated assessments within Thimble.
  • Projects: build set of ‘real’ projects like portfolios and other things that people will want to make and share, as well as a plan for testing at MozFest
  • Popcorn: ship PopcornMaker 1.0, the first production version that helps people make awesome Popcorn-ified videos.
  • Instructor Community: ship and test hacktivity kits which help provide some hackable curriculum and scaffolding around our tools and content
  • Contribution: initial plan for localization - where to start, who to enlist for help, etc.
  • Engagement: prototype of community-led QA 
  • Open Badges: ship new Badge Backpack UI - the Mozilla-hosted badge Backpack is part of the Webmaker experience
  • Open News: build Thimble and Popcorn starter projects for journalists
  • Hackable games: prototype hackable games in Thimble

I love this list because you can see how our various projects and programs all start to snap together as part of this Webmaker Product. Still a lot of work to do but its feeling like its moving in a good direction. We would love some feedback and help shaping the next iteration. Key question for now is: Does this make sense to people? What parts are still foggy? Are there any gaps in the narrative?

We are encouraging people to take comments and feedback to the Webmaker list so that the entire community can benefit and respond. I’ll post this to that list as well. 


Monday, August 27, 2012
The traditional methodology for studying innovation in education may have been adequate at a time when only small changes were possible, when in fact one did change an aspect of the mathematics curriculum and keep everything else the same. But we need a different methodology altogether when we envision radical changes in education. Papert, S. (1990). A Critique of Technocentrism in Thinking About the School of the Future. M.I.T. Media Lab Epistemology and Learning Memo. Cambridge, M.I.T. Media Lab.
Monday, August 20, 2012

Webmaker Badges


We’re gonna launch some Webmaker badges at MozFest and some more next year. They will include a variety of badge types and some awesome assessment. Get ready world.

====LRIYW; (Longer, read if you want version)====

We’re building a Mozilla Webmaker badge system - eventually feeding into a larger Mozilla badge system. As I mentioned in my last roadmappin’ post, this is our number one priority from now through MozFest. And it’s WAY more than designing some pretty images, its the skills, assessments, technology, metadata and learning content as well. It’s all underway and here are some of the details, pulled from a presentation I gave on the Webmaker call last Tuesday**.


I think it’s important to explicitly talk about the why or the goals behind the badges. Not only is that important for justifying and explaining why badges are a huge priority for us, but it can also help inform some of our decisions about the types of badges to include, what’s in scope/out of scope, etc.

  • Badges = disrupting a monopoly and putting the control back into the individuals’ hands…it’s what Mozilla does.
  • Defining / driving a Webmaker experience.
    • tying together tools and experiences
    • defining potential learning webmaking pathways
    • defining an architecture of participation and contribution
  • Building fun into the Webmaker experience.
  • Recognizing and tracking learning.
  • Building and formalizing community.
  • Scaling our stuff beyond ourselves.


With those goals in mind, the following is the current set of badges, assessments and tools (types, touchpoints and technology) planned for the first iteration of our badge system.

  • Skill (I can ____, I know ____)
    • mini (I can hyperlink)
    • cumulative (I know HTML Basics)
  • Achievement (I made a _____)
    • mini (I made a webpage)
    • cumulative (I am a webmaker)
  • Participation (I attended an event)
  • Contribution (I hosted an event, I created a project, I added code)




*NOTE: because we are starting with a very small set of explicit ‘hard’ skills, we are awarding the cumulative based on accumulation of the mini badges. Moving forward, we want to expand to a much broader set of skills, including softer skills. We know that moving to a peer assessment model will be very important for adding more review, evidence and mentorship behind the badges. Look for peer review to come early next year. We’ll be asking for your help on designing an effective peer assessment system.







the badges constellations available by the end of this year below.

NOTE: we are still working through the possibilities with Popcorn so there may be another set of skill badges: mini and cumulative reflecting those skills and that learning either in the first iteration or shortly thereafter.


So how are we going to make all of this happen? (answer: very quickly, but more specifically:) 


We are building OpenBadger (OBr), a lightweight badge issuing tool that, despite being lightweight, will do most of the heavy lifting. Specifically, OBr will handle:

  • Badge creation and metadata definition
  • Badge issuing
  • Connection to the OBI

Tool/Site Integrations

In addition, we will be doing some tool and site integration:

  • Building embedded assessments into Thimble and Popcorn
  • Building calls out to OBr within Thimble and Popcorn. For example, when someone clicks publish, issue this badge, etc.


As I mentioned above, we are pushing towards MozFest for an initial release, but we are already thinking about the follow-up releases and where we ultimately want to get to. So the roll out looks something like this (although everything is subject to change and wide open for comments/suggestions). More detail on the follow up releases to come in separate posts.


  • November 9-12 in London - don’t miss it!)
  • All of the above, first iteration of the badge system

March 2013

  • More badges and skills covered
  • Peer assessment 

Summer 2013

  • Levels
  • Pathways (including non-Mozilla options)
  • Dashboard, goal-setting, portfolios


So that’s the current plan. We would love feedback and suggestions on how to improve the first iteration of the badge system, as well as ideas for the follow-up releases. Let us know!


**Full presentation from Tuesday’s call

***Also, see posts from Jess and Chloe for more details.