Glossary

Welcome to the Open Badges glossary! Below you will find definitions of terms related to Open Badges, linked so that you can explore the concepts in an intuitive way.

Alignment

An Open Badge can optionally align to an educational standard, in which case the badge metadata will include the name, a URL and a description representing the standard. The alignment information may be relevant to people viewing an earner’s awarded badges, or to a potential earner deciding whether to apply for the badge.

Assessment

Assessment in a badging system can involve various optional stages. For example, a badge issuer can present badges that are available for earning, capturing earner applications via the issuer website. The earners can submit evidence in support of their applications, which the issuer will then review, comparing the evidence to the badge criteria (which is defined when the badge is created). If an application for a badge is successful, the issuer may then award it to the earner, creating an assertion and typically contacting the earner.
”This is only an example of what an assessment process might look like in a badging system, but the issuer is free to choose a method that suits their community of earners.”

Assertion

An assertion is a JSON-structured representation of the data for a specific badge that has been awarded. An assertion represents a single badge awarded to a single earner – it includes information about:

  • who earned the badge
  • what the badge represents
  • who issued the badge

The assertion for a badge includes various data items required by the Open Badges Specification.

  • Required data items in an assertion include: a unique ID; the recipient; the badge URL; verification data; the issue date.
  • Assertions can optionally also include: the badge image; an evidence URL; an expiry date.
  • An assertion can be stored in a hosted file or a JSON Web signature.
  • See the current assertion specification for full details.

Award

Non-technical term for issuing (Alternatives include Present, Confer, Grant).

Backpack

A tool used to collect, share and display earned badges. One example is the Mozilla Backpack – a federated backpack is also under development.

Badge

A digital representation of a skill, learning achievement or experience. Badges can represent competencies and involvements recognized in online or offline life. Each badge is associated with an image and some metadata. The metadata provides information about what the badge represents and the evidence used to support it.

  • Earners can display their badges online and can share badge information through social networks.
  • Issuers define badges and award them to earners.

Badge Class

A badge class is a definition of an earnable badge, which may potentially be awarded to one or more earners. When a badge issuer creates and issues a badge, the badge class is created automatically. The badge awarded to the earner is represented as an assertion, which links to the badge class. The badge class in turn includes a link to the issuer organization JSON for the badge. This makes the data for an awarded badge include information about the earner, the badge itself and whoever issued it.

Bake, Baking, Baked Badges

Badge baking is the process of embedding assertion data into a badge image. Click here for more information.

Claim Code

Badge issuers can choose to issue badges using claim codes. A claim code is a string of characters the earner can enter into a form on the issuer website to receive the relevant badge. A typical scenario for this could be an in-person event at which the organizer hands out claim codes to attendees.

Consumer

The consumer is someone viewing a badge awarded to an earner

  • Examples could include colleagues, peers and potential employers.
  • Consumers can access the information about a badge which is included in the badge assertion.

Criteria

A definition of the requirements for earning a badge

  • A badge may be associated with multiple criteria
  • Criteria can be required or not
  • Criteria must be associated with a description and indication of acceptable evidence.

Description

Badges are accompanied by descriptions when they are listed, shared and displayed.

  • Each badge can include a short tag-line, a description for earners and one for consumers.

Directory

A tool that makes it possible for learners and other organizations to find and connect to programs that are issuing badges. It’s the connection and potential pathway generator for learning opportunities that happen anywhere at anytime. It’s a search engine for Open Badges.

Displayer

A badge displayer accesses badges that are publicly available and displays them in an online context.

Earner

A person who has met the necessary requirements to earn a badge. Earners can apply for badges through issuer sites, and their applications can then be reviewed by the issuing organization.

Endorsement

Endorsement adds a layer of external validation that further supplements a badge’s metadata and can help earners to understand which badges might have greater social or professional currency, leading them toward greater personal or professional satisfaction.

Evidence

Submitted proof that an earner meets the criteria for a badge they are applying for.

  • Can be links, text, images, and other media.

Feedback

When an assessor decides whether or not an applicant has met the criteria for a badge, they can forward feedback regarding the decision.

Issue

Connect a badge to a person – this is the technical part of awarding a badge to an earner. This may happen when an earner makes a successful badge application. Badges can also be issued by submitting claim codes, or directly by the issuer to the earner email address. Issuing a badge means creating a badge instance (which is represented by an assertion for the earner email address). Non-technical term: award.

Issuer

Person or organization who creates /offers badges and issues them to earners. Click here to view a list of current Issuing platforms.

Micro-credential

Micro-credentials recognize competencies that can be displayed as digital badges.

Metadata

Information contained within a badge that defines it:

  • Includes name, description, and links to other important details like the badge’s criteria, evidence and issuer information.
  • The metadata for an awarded badge is defined in a badge assertion.

Mozilla Backpack

The Mozilla Backpack is a tool for earners to collect, share and display the badges they have been awarded. Earners can import badges into the Mozilla Backpack and issuers can offer to push the badges they award to the Backpack. Once a badge is in the earner’s Mozilla Backpack, they can organize it into groups and control visibility. Public badges are discoverable by badge displayers.

Open Badges Infrastructure

The Open Badges Infrastructure is a set of software tools and specifications to support badging systems. These tools define the structures used in Open Badges and facilitate creating, issuing and displaying them.

Open Badge Standard

The Open Badge standard is a specification of the badge data that makes it an open and interoperable badge.

Revoke

A badge issuer can decide to revoke a badge they issued. Badge displayers are required not to display badges that have been revoked. Badge revocation is different for signed and hosted badges.

Pathway

A personal map that connects badges representing a person’s education experiences, strengths and interests in order to provide a clear idea of how to pursue a specific career.

Push

To send a badge to a digital backpack for storage in an independent system other than provided by the issuer.

Signed Badge

A signed badge is a badge awarded to an earner, which the issuer represents using a JSON Web Signature. In a hosted badge, the assertion, badge class and issuer organization are each stored in a hosted JSON file. With a signed badge, the badge class and issuer organization are still stored in hosted files, but the assertion itself is represented by a JWS.

Specification

The specification defines the structures and some of the practices involved in implementing OBI-compliant badging systems. Click here for more information.

Verify, Verification

Confirmation that a specific badge was awarded by the issuer to a specific person. Badge displayers are responsible for verifying issued badges using badge assertion data. Badge verification can involve a series of steps tailored to whether the badge is hosted or signed – guidance is available in the specification.