What are Open Badges?
An Open Badge is a portable eCredential standard to recognize, verify and share learning. It was created by the Mozilla Foundation in 2011 and has been adopted by schools, vocational, public organizations and companies around the world.
Open Badges were developed because of the strong need in our web-enabled society to recognize and demonstrate all of the learning that happens through work, hobbies, volunteering and various other activities in our lives.
The word “badge” makes many people think first of scouting, but badges have their origins in the military as symbols of rank, specialization and expertise. Today, digital badges are increasingly used as gamification tools to engage users in eLearning programs, online communities and social media. However, digital badges often can’t travel outside the environment where they’re earned.
Alignment to a technology standard makes Open Badges portable. Alignment to recognized skills frameworks such as 21st Century Skills, professional competency dictionaries and internation qualifcations frameworks make Open Badges even more powerful. This means people can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell a more complete story of their achievements and interests. They can display their badges in an ePortfolio or Skills Passport or share them on websites such as LinkedIn 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 CanCred Passport?
CanCred Passport is a free online service where badge earners can easily receive, organize and share their Open Badge eCredentials. The service is free for personal use. CanCred Passport is the default destination for Open Badges issued by its sister platform, CanCred Factory. CanCred Passport is functionally identical to Open Badge Passport, but is a distinctly Canadian service, delivered from servers in Canada, focused on the needs of Canadians in their local communities and regions.
Who is behind CanCred Passport?
CanCred Passport is built on the same technology as Open Badge Passport, which was developed by Discendum. Discendum is the leading edtech company in Finland, having built a reputation for excellence since it was founded in 2001. Discendum has a solid record of supporting open source technologies: it is a recognized partner for both Totara LMS and Mahara ePortfolio and contributed the Mahara Open Badge displayer to the open source community.
Open Badge Passport was developed along with Discendum’s Open Badge Factory as part of a project funded in 2014 by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. The MacArthur Foundation in the US funded the initiative further in 2015 as part of the Digital Media and Learning (DML) Competition’s “Trust Challenge,” to foster trust in online learning environments. The DML funding resulted in the release of Salava, the Open Badge Passport Community Edition in January 2016.
Why is CanCred Passport free?
Our business model is to charge organizations for subscriptions as badge issuers on our sister service, CanCred Factory . End users do not pay for accounts on CanCred Passport.
Is CanCred Passport just for CanCred Factory badges?
Not at all! You can store Open Badges earned from other systems in your CanCred Passport account, as long as those badges are compatible with the Mozilla Open Badge standard. You should be able to import all the badges from your Mozilla Backpack (unless some are no longer compatible - this is possible) or upload badges one at a time as files from your computer.
But Passport does make accepting and storing your badges a lot easier. Any badge you earn from CanCred Factory is automatically directed to your Passport account if it can see the email address you used when you earned it. (You can have multiple email addresses in your Passport profile.) This significantly reduces the number of steps required for accepting badges compared to Mozilla Backpack. Our statistics show that this has a big impact on badge acceptance rates by earners.
Can I display badges stored in CanCred Passport on LinkedIn and Twitter?
Yes you can! CanCred 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 Salava code is open sourced, community developers can develop new sharing tools as new social media services evolve.
Is CanCred Passport the only service where you can store badges?
No, there is also a service called Mozilla Backpack, where badge earners can accept and store Open Badges. This service is also free. However, Backpack is unfortunately not yet compatible with version 2 of the Open Badges standard, which currently prevents many badges from being uploaded to that service. We hope Backpack will be compatible by the end of 2017, but we have no control over the service, which is now run by DigitalMe in the UK.
Does CanCred Passport compete with Mozilla Backpack?
No, they’re different services in the Open Badges ecosystem.
Mozilla Backpack has become a global reference repository for storing badges - something that shows the world how badges can be stored and shared.
CanCred Passport has a more specialized focus: we make it easier for Canadian users to accept and share badges. We go further by providing tools for building Pages or “micro-portfolios”. CanCred Passport also offers community features such as the ability to view other people’s badges and join conversations with earners of the same badge.
CanCred Passport is compatible with the Mozilla Backpack. Users can move their badges from Backpack to CanCred Passport and back. We will ensure that the compatibility between these two services continues in the future.
Can I use CanCred Passport on my smartphone?
CanCred Passport is mobile friendly - you can take it wherever you go.
Is CanCred Passport based on open source software?
Yes. Both CanCred Passport and Open Badge Passport are built on an open source code base called Salava (“willow” in Finnish). Salava is the Community Edition of Open Badge Passport. Discendum plans to continue the development of Salava as an open source software project together with the global developer community. The code is maintained on the Discendum GitHub repository.
The Salava open source project is an opportunity for users, practitioners and developers to contribute to the further development of the Open Badge Passport vision. The goal of the Salava project is to further develop Passport as a personal and collaborative learning environment where badges can not only be used to build micro-portfolios but also to support online social interaction between badge earners, organizations and communities of practice.
How can I remove my badges from CanCred Passport?
If you wish, you can create an account in Mozilla Backpack and transfer all your badges there. After that, you can delete your badges from CanCred Passport and even shut down your account. If you do this, badges shared externally via CanCred Passport will no longer work, so you need to share them again from Mozilla Backpack.
Can I display CanCred Passport badges on Mahara ePortfolios?
Yes you can! The Open Badges displayer block type of Mahara supports Mozilla Backpack as well as CanCred Passport. The block displays public badges in your CanCred Passport. If you can’t see anything, check the display settings of your badges in CanCred Passport’s badge settings - have you made the badge public?