Design, Development and Use of a Digital Badges System in Higher Education
2. Related Work
3. Gamification in SocialWire
- Questions and answers: this module allows students and teachers to post questions or to submit answers. Valid questions and answers can get a certain number of points, depending on the usefulness, correctness, completeness, difficulty, etc. Different parameters such as the visibility of the answers of other students can be defined. Correct answers are clearly marked, in order to avoid misunderstanding.
- Gamepoints: this module defines a new entity called Gamepoint, that is a numeric value gained by a student after the completion of a number of actions: finishing tasks, taking quizzes, upload questions or answers posed by classmates, etc. Gamepoints are accumulated and registered under the student’s profile.
- Activitypoints: as with Gamepoints, this module defines another entity called Activitypoint similar to a Gamepoint, but applied over a different set of actions to be rewarded. Students can get Activitypoints by reading or writing blog posts, by sending or receiving comments, by giving or receiving likes, by creating new files, etc. Activitypoints are accumulated into an individual counter for every student.
- Tasks. This module allows the creation of assignments to be completed by the members of a group, setting some parameters that apply to the submission: response type, visibility of the answers issued by other students, whether the task is graded or not (and the grade system if it is), and so on.
- Tests. For creating quizzes or test exams. As in Tasks, the possibility of particularization is wide: time/date of start, maximum allowed time, graded/not graded, visibility of correct answers, number of attempts, etc.
- Contests. This is a module conceived for competitions. That is, the students submit their answers, and later each one votes the answers by the other classmates. With the ballots, a ranking is formed to decide the winner(s) of the contest. Some of the fields that ought to be defined when creating a Contest are the type of responses, permissions for multiple or single answers by a student, author’s visibility of the answer before closing the voting, limit on votes per answer, limit on votes per user, etc.
4. Badges Module
- Name. Just the name of the badge.
- Description. A short description of the purpose or object for that badge. This is optional if the badge has group visibility, and mandatory whenever that badge is public, since in the latter case the badge will be a proof of knowledge, a proof of completion for the course, etc.
- Icon. The image(s) associated to the badge, to identify it. The icon can be chosen from a predefined set or from the local filesystem of the user creating the badge (Figure 1).
- Text. A short text associated to the icon, usually the name of the badge, or any other alternative motto linked to the badge.
- Surprise. If the option is enabled, the badge will not be shown normally in the list of badges for the group, but it will be given to the users blindly, namely, the users will not know the conditions set for gaining the badge until the moment they receive it. This option is disabled by default, and it will not be possible to modify it in manual badges.
- Global visibility. When enabled, the rest of the members in the group can see which group members have the badge or not. If disabled, a member can only see his/her own information on badges.
- Privacy. There are two options, group (only the users in a group can track the badge) or public (everyone can track the accumulated badges in any group, regardless the membership). In the latter case, since users can monitor the progress of members in foreign groups, they can learn about the completion of the course, the achieved grades, the fulfillment of some skills, etc.A public badge allows the users to get a certificate of that badge, making its possession a permanent and definitive fact. That is, even if the group to which the user belonged if eliminated, the badge persists and is included in his/her profile. This does not happen in badges with group privacy, they are associated to a concrete group and, in case the group is deleted, so is the badge.
- Type. Depending on the form to obtain it, the badge can be manual, automatic, or by contest. We explain next the features for each type.
- Automatic badges. As the name suggests, these badges will be automatically awarded to students who comply with a number of requirements listed below.
- Merits. The student must satisfy a set of requirements in the tasks and/or quizzes (Figure 2), such as:
These requirements for quizzes and tasks can also be combined as the designer wishes to, thus incorporating for instance the possibility of requiring a minimum amount of Gamepoints in a task and take two quizzes with A grade in both, or instead like passing a Task, simply.
- To pass that task or quiz (for those which are graded, not the ones that only offer Gamepoints).
- To reach a threshold in the grade, both for the tasks and quizzes graded and for those bond to Gamepoints. The mixture of tasks and quizzes of either type that contribute to the threshold is designed by the creator.
- To answer a task or quiz, no matter which grade is attained with the answer. The intent is giving to the teachers the chance to reward not only the excellent answers, but also the effort and dedication of the students.
- Required Gamepoints. This is the minimum Gamepoints a student has to accumulate in order to get the badge.
- Required Activitypoints. Same as above, the designer can set a minimum value of Activitypoints to get the badge.
- Required badges. This is to define a sequence of previous badges that must be won before aiming at the new one.
- Manual badges. Either the administrators of the learning platform or the tenants of each group will be entitles to award or withdraw under their own criterion this kind of badge to the members of a group. So, manual badges are discretional, no prior requirement is necessary to win one, in contrast to the automatic or by contest badges.
- Gamepoints. Manual badges can convey a certain amount of Gamepoints which will be (de)accumulated to the total Gamepoints score of the user in case the badge is won.
- Badges by contest. A badge by contest will be awarded to the students shortlisted in the first positions of a given contest (Figure 3). The number of winners is set at the moment of creation of the contest.
- Selection of contests. A badge of this sort, differently from the other two types, can only be associated to a single contest. And a contest can only be associated to a badge, too. Because of this, at the moment of showing the available contests, the list will include exclusively those contests not yet linked to a badge.
- Text and color. The creator of the contest can select a text and a color personalized, therefore providing in this way a distinct and exclusive badge to each winner. Furthermore, a student can gain more than one badge in a contest if his/her participations during the challenge are worth of placing him/her at the winners’ ranking positions more than once. Ties are not broken, all the participants will receive the badge equally.
- Labels. Badges can display descriptive labels, so that users can easily follow the topics of their interest.
- Creation and edition of badges. These views are used so that the user can create or modify badges, setting their desired parameters as summarized in previous paragraphs. Accordingly, it is possible to produce many types of badges, from the simplest ones with only a few parameters and requirements, up to the more complex end, just adapting to the user’s preferences.
- Leaders table. This is an ordered list of users according to the badges they possess (total number of badges and their icons). Moreover, looking at a better user experience, an extra functionality for ordering the list by user name, and by number of badges per user as well, has been included (Figure 4). The list is configurable, with the administrator defining how many students are shown in a screen page.
- View of all badges. A list with all the badges in a group along with a short description of their most important properties (icon, labels, visibility, and type), the creator’s identity and the creation date (Figure 5).
- Full view of the badge. A view that shows the set of properties of the badge in detail. In addition, it includes the options to enable/disable the badge, to commit/revoke a badge to a student in case it is a manual badge, and a list of the holders of the badge (Figure 6). Had the badge been a public badge, in this view we will be given the option of creating or deleting a certificate for all the users who have the badge. The reception of such certificate is a proof that the certificate is not tied to a group in the social network, but it is instead a unique and own distinction for the student which will continue in his/her profile even after the group in which it was awarded or the person who created it ceases to exist in the platform.
- View of badges per user. For each user, there exists a view in his/her profile listing the badges won, public and private. The path to this view is through the option “My badges” presented in the user profile, or through the button for quick access to the personal badges displayed in the view of badges for all the group members. Here, one can see the icon, group, and description of the badge, provided the latter exists (Figure 7). In the group badges, it should be highlighted that, if the user accessing the view is not a member of that group, she/he will not be included in the table of private badges neither. Finally, next to the table of public badges, a student is given the option to generate a badge that can be linked to his/her account in Mozilla Open Badges (see Appendix A).
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Mozilla Open Badges
- Open and free to any organization that intends to use it for generating, delivering, or verifying digital badges.
- Transferable. It gathers the badges coming in from multiple sources in a single place.
- Incremental. Whether they have been issued by an organization or by several ones, the badges can be piled up to build a history of achievements and skills.
- Provable. Every badge contains significant and valid information embedded into its file image, so that it is easy to read the information about the generator, its criteria, and its trustworthy.
|uid||Unique identifier of the badge|
|recipient||type||Descriptor of the identity field|
|identity||Recipient of the badge|
|hashed||Boolean. If true, the identity field contains the hash|
|of the recipient’s email address.|
|If false, identity contains plain text|
|image||URL of the image of the badge|
|issuedOn||Time when the badge was won|
|badge||URL of JSON describing the badge|
|recipient||type||Hosted or signed. Security is stronger with signed badges|
|url||For hosted badges, URL of this JSON.|
|For signed badges, link to the public key|
|of the distributor of the badge|
|description||Text description of the badge|
|image||URL of the badge image|
|criteria||URL describing the achievements associated to the badge|
|issuer||URL to the JSON describing the distributor of the badge|
|name||Name of the distributor|
|url||Website of distributor|
|Email of the distributor|
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Sousa-Vieira, M.-E.; Ferrero-Castro, D.; López-Ardao, J.-C. Design, Development and Use of a Digital Badges System in Higher Education. Appl. Sci. 2022, 12, 220. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12010220
Sousa-Vieira M-E, Ferrero-Castro D, López-Ardao J-C. Design, Development and Use of a Digital Badges System in Higher Education. Applied Sciences. 2022; 12(1):220. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12010220Chicago/Turabian Style
Sousa-Vieira, María-Estrella, David Ferrero-Castro, and José-Carlos López-Ardao. 2022. "Design, Development and Use of a Digital Badges System in Higher Education" Applied Sciences 12, no. 1: 220. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12010220