What is an Open Badge?

Open Badges is an online standard to recognise and verify learning. It was created by the Mozilla Foundation in 2011 and has been adopted by schools, vocational and public organisations and companies around the world.

Open Badges was developed because there is a strong need in our web-enabled society to recognise and demonstrate all the informal learning that happens through work, hobbies, volunteering and various other activities in our lives.

The idea behind badges is familiar from military and scouting organisations. An Open Badge is a digital picture, which contains metadata. The metadata provides information about the issuer of the badge and the criteria used to recognise the skills and achievements of the badge earner. This makes an Open Badge a trusted open credential, with validated evidence of learning.

Because the system is based on an open standard, the earner can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell a more complete story of his or her achievements. The earner can display the badges in his or her e-Portfolio or share them on the Web for employment, social networking, education or lifelong learning purposes.

Although Open Badges is still a new standard, it is rapidly gaining worldwide popularity. Growing mainstream acceptance will increasingly build public awareness at the community level.

What is Open Badge Passport?

Open Badge Passport is an online service where badge earners can easily receive, organise and share their Open Badges. The service is free for personal use.

Is the service certified?

Yes, it is! IMS Global is responsible for developing the Open Badges standard and both Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport are certified by IMS Global.

Is Open Badge Passport the only service where you can accept badges?

No, Mozilla Foundation also has a service called Mozilla Backpack, where badge earners can accept and store Open Badges.

Does Open Badge Passport compete with Mozilla Backpack?

No, they are different services. At the moment, Mozilla Backpack is a global repository for storing badges and displaying them in multiple locations.

Open Badge Passport has a more local community focus: it makes it easier for users to accept and share badges and goes further by offering tools for building a digital CV or small ePortfolio. In addition, Open Badge Passport offers community features such as the ability to view other people’s badges in online groups. You can also use the service with mobile devices.

Open Badge Passport is compatible with the Mozilla Backpack. Users can transfer their badges from Backpack to Open Badge Passport and vice versa. We will make sure that the compatibility between these two services is sustained in the future.

Is it possible to get an organisation-specific Open Badge Passport?

Yes. Open Badge Factory’s Enterprise customers have the possibility to purchase a dedicated instance of Open Badge Passport for their organisation. They will for example receive their own login page and the service will be personified according to the organisation’s brand. This makes it possible for companies or large organisations to build Open Badge Passport communities for their own employees, clients and stakeholders.

Who is responsible of Open Badge Passport?

The developer of Open Badge Passport is Discendum, a successful Finnish educational technology company, which has built a reputation for excellence since its foundation in 2001. Discendum has a solid record of supporting open source technologies: it is a recognised partner for both Totara LMS and Mahara ePortfolio and contributed the Mahara Open Badge displayer to the open source community.

Open Badge Passport has been developed in conjunction with Open Badge Factory as part of a project funded in 2014 by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. The MacArthur Foundation funded it further in 2015 as part of the Digital Media and Learning Competition’s “Trust Challenge,” to foster trust in online learning environments.

In the future, Discendum will lead the development of Open Badge Passport with a variety of development and collaboration projects.

Is Open Badge Passport open source software?

Yes. Discendum intends to continue the development of Open Badge Passport as an open source software project together with the developer community. The core of the software is still under development so the source code is not available yet. The code will be published on the Discendum GitHub repository once the software is ready for community development.

Is Open Badge Passport useful only for users of Open Badge Factory?

Open Badge Passport is fully compatible with the Mozilla Open Badge standard. This means that all badges created using that standard can be transferred to the Open Badge Passport. Badges can be either imported from the Mozilla Backpack or uploaded as files from a computer. 

Badges issued from Open Badge Factory will be automatically transferred into the earner’s Open Badge Passport if the earner’s email address used for issuing the badge has been saved to the badge earner’s Open Badge Passport account settings. This will significantly reduce the number of steps required for accepting badges, compared to Mozilla Backpack. We anticipate that this will have a big impact on badge acceptance rates by earners.

How can I remove my badges from Open Badge Passport?

You can create an account in Mozilla Backpack and transfer your badges there. After that, you can delete your badges from Open Badge Passport. If you do this, the badges shared via Open Badge Passport will no longer work, so you need to share them again from Mozilla Backpack.

Can I display badges stored in Open Badge Passport in Mahara or Kyvyt.fi ePortfolio?

Yes you can! The Open Badges displayer block type of Mahara / Kyvyt.fi supports Mozilla Backpack as well as Open Badge Passport. The block displays public badges in your Open Badge Passport. If you can’t see anything, check the displayer settings of your badges in Open Badge Passport’s badge settings. 

Can I display badges stored in Open Badge Passport on Facebook and LinkedIn?

Yes you can! Open Badge Passport provides easy ways for you to share your Open Badges in popular social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. And, because the code is open source, community developers will be able to develop new sharing tools as social media services evolve.

Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

We have been developing and providing high quality online learning services for many years and we have always been strongly committed to offer the best data security and personal data protection to our customers. As a service provider, we welcome the EU General Data Protection Regulation “GDPR” (679/2016) concerning the processing of personal data because it brings transparency and trust in personal data processing. We are confident that GDPR will be beneficial for both users and service providers. As a European service provider, we will fully comply with GDPR, before the transition time ends on May 25, 2018.

What does GDPR mean in practice for Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport users?

From a technical point of view GDPR will bring only minor changes to Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport. Both services’ personal data has already been processed as it is now ruled in GDPR. For users, GDPR compliancy will mean that both services’ Terms of use will be updated. In practice this means small changes but all OBF and OBP users will have to read and accept the new Terms and Conditions in order to access the services.

In both services a document called Privacy Notification (updated May 25, 2018) will be included into the Terms of use. This particular document describes in detail how personal data is stored and processed in the system and for what purposes.

Where Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport are hosted?

Both services are hosted in Finland by a professional operator providing services compliant with GDPR.

What is your data security policy?

We have implemented the appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect the personal data of the customer, taking into account all the risks of processing, especially the unintentional or illegal destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosures or access to personal data that has been transferred, saved or otherwise processed. OBF and OBP are protected by firewalls, monitored and administrated only by authorised staff members (sysadmins). A back-up of the services’ content is made once a day and it’s stored in secured facilities. The connection between the servers and user’s web browsers is SSL encrypted.

What personal data is stored in Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport?

See the Privacy Notifications (updated May 25, 2018). As a user you can see under your profile section your personal data listed in a log file.

What changes GDPR brings to Open Badge Passport users?

In practice GDPR is not really changing the way badge earners will use Open Badge Passport, because it has always been possible for a user to download their badges from OBP to their computer or to move them to Mozilla Backpack before deleting their account and all personal data. The only change is the possibility for OBP users to get a log file listing their personal data.