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Friday, November 21 • 9:45am - 10:15am
An API of One's Own: Individual Identities as First-Class Citizens in the Open Badges Infrastructure

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Digital badges and their paper and sheepskin-based credential ancestors are ways of sharing socially important information that is tied to identity. Open Badges go further in helping people establish their identity by letting them collect together credentials from many issuers. Each Open Badge describes a trust relationship between its issuer and its recipient, in terms of criteria, evidence, and an image. The powerful part is that this relationship is verifiable and sharable with outside audiences. Any person or organization can participate in the ecosystem as any one of these roles. Because of this feature, Open Badges are a great step toward democratizing the credentialing ecosystem.

However, the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) standard constructs these three roles separately, defining identities differently for each. As the credentialing world begins to include more badge-aware applications that can talk to one another, we can build some awesome apps that issue, earn, and consume badges. There are exciting possibilities in learning pathway discovery, e-portfolios, personal learning networks as well as applications that use badges to describe relationships outside of education.

In this moment, there is a chance to elevate both individuals and organizations to simultaneously serve all three roles in the ecosystem, as badge issuers, earners, and consumers without undermining the carefully built reputations of respected issuing institutions that currently occupy that role. How can we extend the OBI standard and construct our badge applications to give people personal access to the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that give them easy access to all three badge ecosystem roles and let them construct their identity as full players in this network? We'll take a look at what might be the killer apps that would justify this effort.

Nate Otto, badges researcher, developer, and founding member of the Badge Alliance standards working group, will showcase possibilities and prototypes for applications that democratize badges. Serge Ravet will contribute theory and practice of building networks of trust relationships with badges and evidence and consequences for the badges ecosystem. The Open Education Conference is the perfect place to celebrate how free and open technology can empower individuals to help shape the networks around them.

NOTE: I requested 50 minutes, but if you really have to squeeze things in, I'd be fine with sharing a block with another badges presentation. I don't think this will be quite as firebrand in tone as Gardner Campbell's "No Digital Facelifts", but I aim to follow in his and Jim Groom's footsteps on letting learners have a Personal Badge Infrastructure like Personal Web Infrastructure. My co-presenter Serge may not be able to make the trip to DC from France; we'll see in a few months. You're still my favorite conference, OpenEd!


Nate Otto

Founder, Skybridge Skills
Loves open education, #OpenBadges, free culture, Progress of the Useful Arts and Sciences, people-powered politics, and local food. He/him/his
avatar for Serge Ravet

Serge Ravet

Innovation Director @ ADPIOS, Europortfolio / Badge Europe!
I'm currently leading Badge Europe! and Europortfolio, two European initiatives which objective is to promote technologies empowering individuals as reflective learners and practitioners. I advocate a holistic view of learning and knowledge technologies, integrating individual... Read More →

Friday November 21, 2014 9:45am - 10:15am EST

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