Note: The information provided here refers to past Digital Media and Learning Competitions, and is provided for archival and reference purposes only. If you are seeking the current Digital Media and Learning Competition, please navigate to

The Badges Competition is now closed. Click here to view the winners.


Skip to topic: Applying to the Badges Competition | General Questions | Using FastApps | Post-Award and Fulfillment


Applying to the Badges Competition

How do I apply to the Badges Competition?

First create an account on FastApps.

Then, depending on which stage of the competition you are entering, click either the "Badges For Learning - Stage 1 : Content and Programs" or the "Badges For Learning - Stage 2 : Design & Technology" link (see image below).

screenshot of Stage 1 and Stage 2 listing on FastApps programs list

Fill in the requested applicant information.

How do I create an account on Fastapps?

Go to FastApps and click the link that says "register". Provide your full name and email address where prompted and click "submit". An activation email will be sent to the email address provided-- log in to your email and open the Fastapps activation message. Then click the "Activate Account" link.

What am I required to submit in the FastApps application?

Stage 1- Content and Programs:

Submissions will require a 1000 word written proposal. They can also include optional supplementary materials that help visualize the proposed learning content, programs, or activities. These are highly encouraged and can include a video, diagram, screenshots, napkin sketch, or other visual expression that helps depict the proposed learning content, programs, or activities.

These additional materials should not include a longer elaborated version of your written proposal.

Stage 2- Design and Technology:

Submissions will require a 1500 word written proposal plus visual materials that graphically represent the badge design submission. These can include a video, a diagram, screenshots, napkin sketch, or other visual expressions. Your written proposal should include thoughts, ideas, and plans that address content alignment, badges, technology, and team. See Call for Proposals for more detail.

How do I upload images, videos, and other visual information into the "Proposal" text box?


Each applicant will have a set of folders to which images can be saved. Once saved to the folder, these images can be accessed and uploaded for inclusion in the proposal.

Step one - Click the image icon in the Proposal box toolbar:

screenshot of text editor window with insert image feature circled in red

Step two - Click the "browse server" button in the upper right-hand corner:

screenshot of images upload button

Step three - Click the "Upload" button in the upper left-hand corner and then click "Add Files" :

screenshot of media manager with Add File button circled in red

Step four - Select your image and click "Upload" to add to your folder:

picture of OSX file browser

Picture of media manager with upload button circled

Now your image should appear in your folder:

Picture of media manager with new uploaded picture of a dog circle.

Step five - Double click your image and click "OK" in the "Image Properties" box.

Picture of Insert Image window


If you have a video you would like to add to your application we recommend that you first upload your video to YouTube and then use the embed code to embed your video in the Proposal box.


Note: before pasting the embed code into the Proposal box make sure you click the button that says "source" on the left-hand side of the Proposal box toolbar and enter the embed code on it's own line, separate from other coding.

For directions on how to upload a video on YouTube, click here.

For more detailed information about using the CKEditor click here.


To add a link to your proposal select the hyperlink icon in the Proposal box tool bar:

Picture of text editor with insert file button circle

Paste your link in the space provided and click "OK".

How do I edit or update my Badges proposal?

After logging into your FastApps account click the "My Account" link in the upper left-hand corner. You should now see your application table (see image below) under the "Your Applications" heading. To edit, click the pen icon in the "Edit" column.

picture of active applications bar in FastApps


Will I be able to edit my competition example after the deadline?

No. You will not be able to edit your application after the following deadlines:

  • Stage 1- November 14, 2011
  • Stage 2- Janurary 12, 2012


I'm an individual without institutional affiliation. Can I apply to this year's Competition?

This year's Digital Media and Learning Competition is intended to explore how organizations/institutions can use badges to recognize peer contribution and lifelong learning. Without some formal affiliation with an organization/institution/entity, an individual applicant would essentially be creating a system for credentialing other individuals, divorced from any specific real-world application. In addition to providing institutional guarantees about meeting grant terms and conditions, financing, etc., the named organization/institution is required to have the necessary institutional frameworks and buy-in (e.g. approval of criteria proposed for credentialing, etc.) to fully support and implement the project if approved. Finally, as the organization/institution will technically be the holder of the grant by the terms of the award, the organization/institution must have legal stature.

What type of institutions are eligible to apply?

This year's Competition welcomes applications from any institution/organization/entity that has legal stature, regardless of sector or size.

What audiences are you hoping to target with this Competition?

We welcome applications that target any constituency/age range, as long as the application represents a compelling expression of learning.

Who is judging the competition?

A panel of expert judges from industry, non-profits, education, and the media will evaluate applications and select winners.

What criteria will the reviewers be using for evaluation?

Winning projects will be selected on the basis of the technological and pedagogical quality of proposed badges or sets of badges, effectiveness of the proposed assessment the badges represent, aesthetic quality of the badges, likelihood that the badges will be accepted and effectively deployed by learners, learning institutions, employers, trade associations, and individuals in the general public.

Will I be required to describe my project to the public?


Can individuals apply?

Principal applicants are organizations or institutions. Individuals must apply through an organization or institution.

Is there an age restriction?

The primary applicant representing the organization or institution must be at least 18 years of age when the application is submitted; however, personnel working on the project may include students and others under 18.

What are the responsibilities of the primary applicant?

The primary applicant will be the first line of contact and will be responsible for disseminating information to the rest of the group. This person will be responsible for overall project management, including budget oversight.

I am a former Digital Media and Learning Competition winner. Can I apply?

No, not as a primary applicant. You may contribute as a team member on a project seeking Competition funding.

I am already receiving funds from the MacArthur Foundation. Can I apply?

Yes, but only if you are not or have not been a Digital Media and Learning Competition winner.

I am already receiving funds from another source. Can I apply?

Yes, however, any award you receive from the Competition should be applied to the part of the project that is not being funded by other sources.

Can I apply as a primary applicant in both the Badges and Research Competitions?

No.  You can apply to both Competitions, but can only be a primary applicant for one of them.

Can I apply in both Stage 1 and Stage 2?


Can successful applicants from Stage 1 develop their own badge design in Stage 2?

Yes, however, their proposed designs should not be narrowly tailored to fit only their own content but should indicate how the proposed design could be used for content other than their own as well.

Can unsuccessful applicants from Stage 1 still participate in Stage 2 (and subsequently Stage 3)?

Yes, Stage 1 focuses on Content, Programs or Activities; Stage 2 on Badge Design. If an unsuccessful applicant at Stage 1 is associated with badge designers that want to submit a badge design application to Stage 2, they should be encouraged to do so.

Can more than one individual from the same institution apply?

Yes, as long as the proposals are different.

Will I be interviewed before the final decision is made?

Those who make it to Stage 3 will have to pitch their proposal in person to the expert panel of judges.

When do I submit a budget for my Badges Competition project?

Applicants whose submissions are chosen to participate in Stage 3 of the Badges Competition will have to include a comprehensive budget when they present their project to the panel of judges on Day 2 of the Finals.

Should I request the maximum amount in the award category?

The amount requested should be the most feasible and suitable for the project. Judges will consider the appropriateness of the requested budget for the proposed project.

Note: For Badges Competition applicants a budget does not have to be submitted until Stage 3.

What should be included in my budget?

Budgets may include the costs of project collaborators and staff, technological consultants, software, hardware, project materials and supplies, meetings, and travel. Judges will consider the appropriateness of the requested
budget for the proposed project.

Awardees whose projects involve any human subjects research or testing are required to set aside funds for the review of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to be approved by a commercial IRB. Awardees are also required to set aside funds for the winners' event to be held in conjunction with the 2013 Digital Media and Learning Conference. Participation at the event is a requirement of the award. Institutional indirect cost is limited to no more than 15 percent of the requested budget.

Note: Please do not submit a budget for the Badges Competition unless your submission has been selected for participation in Stage 3.

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Using FastApps

How do I create an account on FastApps?

Go to FastApps and click the link that says “register.” Provide your full name and email address where prompted and click “submit.” An activation email will be sent to the email address provided-- log in to your email and open the Fastapps activation message. Then click the “Activate Account” link.

How do I edit or update my FastApps submission?

After logging into your Fastapps account, click the “My Accounts” link in the upper left-hand corner. You should now see your application table (see image below) under the “Your Applications” heading. To edit, click the pen icon in the “Edit” column.

Picture of Active Applications Bar in FastApps

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Will I need to provide transcripts for my videos ?

Yes. You will need to provide text transcripts for any videos in your application. If you have more than one video, please use a line break to separate the transcripts.  You can upload the transcripts to one of the 3 provided attachment fields or add it at the bottom of the proposal.  Please clearly distinguish the transcripts from the rest of your proposal if you add it into the proposal body.

Will I need to provide an alternative text tags (“alt tags”) for my images?

Yes. Alt tags allow readers for the visually impaired to communicate the content of your image audibly. Your alt tag text should be a representation of what the image is depicting. You can add alt tags to embedded images by entering the text description into the “Alternative Text” box in the insert image window.

Showing Alternative Text box in Insert Image window.

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How will licensing and intellectual property of awardees' projects be handled?

See Intellectual Property and Privacy Policies.

How long is the grant term?

The grant term is one calendar year beginning April 1, 2012.

Are there restrictions on how the money can be spent?

Yes, all funds are to be used specifically for the awarded project and according to proposed budget.

Do I need to spend all of the money during the grant term? What if I do not?

Yes. Exceptions will be granted only in very unusual circumstances. Awardees should not assume extensions will be granted. If funds are not spent at the end of the grant term or permitted extension period, they must be returned.

How and when will the award be distributed?

Awardees will receive a check on a quarterly basis, the first at the beginning of the grant term.

Will taxes or indirect costs be applied to the amount received?

Taxes will not be withheld by HASTAC. Indirect costs will be permitted at a maximum of fifteen (15) percent only if documented by the primary applicant's home institution or organization. Applicants' budgets should allow for this.

Will I be required to submit spending reports? Other reports?

Yes, you will be required to submit quarterly financial reports as well as a mid-year progress report and final report.

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