What is an Open Badge eCredential?

An Open Badge is a portable standard to recognize, verify and share learning through eCredentials. 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 standard makes Open Badges portable. 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 LinkedInWeb 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 an 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 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. As a point of honour, even our spelling is Canadian.

Who is behind CanCred Passport?

Learning Agents is an award-winning Canadian educational technology company based in Winnipeg. We have partnered with Discendum Oy of Finland to offer CanCred Passport in Canada, starting in 2016.

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 foundedin 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 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.

Is CanCred Passport useful only for users of CanCred Factory?

No, because CanCred Passport is fully compatible with the Mozilla Open Badge standard. This means that all badges created using this standard can be transferred to the CanCred Passport. Badges can be either imported from the Mozilla Backpack or uploaded as files from a computer.

Badges issued from CanCred Factory are automatically transferred into the earner’s CanCred Passport if the earner’s email address used for issuing the badge has been saved to the badge earner’s CanCred Passport account settings. 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 code is open sourced, community developers can develop new sharing tools as social media services evolve.

Is CanCred Passport the only service where you can store badges?

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

Does CanCred Passport compete with Mozilla Backpack?

No, they are different services. Mozilla Backpack has become a global repository for storing badges and displaying them in multiple locations.

CanCred Passport has a more regional focus: it makes it easier for Canadian users to accept and share badges and goes further by offering tools for building Pages or “micro-portfolios”. CanCred 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.

CanCred Passport is compatible with the Mozilla Backpack. Users can move their badges from Backpack to CanCred Passport and back. We will make sure that the compatibility between these two services continues in the future.

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.

Is it possible to get an organization-specific Passport?

We will offer organization-specific Passports in the near future as a part of the CanCred Passport cloud service or as separate organization-specific services. This will make it possible for companies or large organizations to build Passport communities for their own employees, clients and stakeholders.

How can I remove my badges from CanCred Passport?

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

Can I display badges stored in CanCred Passport on Mahara or Kyvyt.fi ePortfolio platforms?

Yes you can! The Open Badges displayer block type of Mahara / Kyvyt.fi 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 displayer settings of your badges in CanCred Passport’s badge settings.