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STAGE TWO: Badge Design and Tech

Call for badge design, technology, and assessment

This stage seeks organizations, teams or individuals skilled in the design of badge systems and implementation of badge technology. Design and tech applicants at this stage should describe the badge system they want to build, referring to and describing the characteristics from the bulleted list below. 

Applications should propose full badge systems that will conceptualize badges or sets of badges, a system of assessment, and a projection of technology required to issue, manage, and track or measure performance. Winning Stage Two badge designs will be developed and built over the course of the one year grant term. As such, Stage Two teams must have the technological and design expertise to develop, build, and implement the systems that are proposed.

NOTE: Badge design and tech applicants that do not use approved content or programs from Stage One or collaborators' content can still submit their design proposals at this stage, using any content to demonstrate their proposed badge systems. But bear in mind, however, that if successful in Stage Two, these proposals will be matched with winning content from Stage One or collaborator content for the final proposals.

Whatever technology you propose, the badges you issue must be compatible with the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure ( The infrastructure includes a simple metadata standard and a set of APIs to allow learners to gather and display badges from across the web. The intent is to afford learners full control over their own badges once issued, giving them more freedom to use badges how they like and promoting a vibrant badge ecosystem.  

Applicants are highly encouraged to develop software and widgets that extend the Open Badge Infrastructure. Software and widgets of high value to many badge issuers may be considered for a stand alone grant that requires a lower level of collaboration at the final stage. 

Submission Details

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 sections A, B, C and D below.

Submissions are submitted through the DML Competition submission web site: See Application Instructions
Multiple proposals are permitted from a single organization, but only one can be selected as a winner and move to Stage Three.

Submissions for Stage Two are due no later than January 17, 2012 at 5pm PST.

Written Proposal

In your written proposal for Stage Two, please describe the badge system and technology design by describing ideas and plans around sections A-D (Content Alignment, Badges, Technology, Team) below. While your plan should address the top level concepts in each of these sections, it is not required that you have answers for all of the characteristics or questions included within A-D. Use them to help guide you to be as thorough as possible in your description of the proposed badge system.

A. Content Alignment

In your proposal, clearly indicate whether you want to build your FINAL system:

  1. using content you submitted in Stage One;
  2. using content someone else proposed in Stage One or collaborator content (please indicate which content);
  3. using other content to demonstrate your design and tech ideas (in this case, if your design is successful, HASTAC will match you with a content applicant from Stage One or a collaborator)

B. Badges

In the written proposal, please address the following, including links to relevant material or resources where applicable.

  • Content. What content will be the central domain of the badge/badges? What badge or set of badges are you proposing?
  • Skills. What skills will be identified, tracked, and recognized with the proposed badge or set of badges?
  • Discrete vs. dynamic. Will the badge or set of badges represent a discrete set of skills, competencies, or activities (e.g., training and ranking badges) or will it track ongoing performances (e.g., dossier systems)? 
  • Scarcity and granularity. How often will achievements or actions be tracked and represented in badges, and how specific will the recognized merits or achievements be? What is the level(s) of granularity in the proposed badges?
  • Qualifications. What qualifications will the badge or set of badges convey? What prerequisites are required for individual badges or groups of badges?
  • Role and identity. What roles or identities will be represented by the badge or set of badges? How do the badges allow individuals to take on roles or build identity?
  • Level. Will there be levels or hierarchies of badges and achievements? How will the badge or set of badges track and represent increasing levels of expertise?
  • Opportunities and privileges. Will the badge or set of badges confer opportunities and privileges as they are earned? When the final badge in a series is earned, what new opportunity does it create?
  • Performance/Assessment. What are the criteria for the badge or set of badges? Will there be a performance rating? How will it be assessed? Will they be peer rated? 
  • Permanence. Will the badge or badges exist permanently? Will they expire and/or will there be an opportunity to update or renew the badges? 
  • Portability. Will the badge or set of badges have value in other contexts than the one in which it was earned? If so, how will the value be validated? For example, if someone earns a collaboration badge in one community, how will the value of that badge be recognized in another community?
  • Design. What does the badge or set of badges look like? What information is presented on each badge versus behind the badge in the metadata? What branding elements are included on each badge? (Visuals will help here.)
  • Transparency/Meaning. How do those not familiar with the badges or the community in which they were earned view or understand what it represents or signifies? Will learners or badge owners or third parties perceive meaningful value in this badge or badge system?
  • Protection. How does the design of the badge or set of badges ensure that it cannot be “gamed?” The goal of any badge system should not be the earning of badges, but rather learning or collaborating. Poorly designed badges encourage users to seek badges without attention to what they signify about learning and not just about status, reputation, or opportunity.
  • Endorsement. Would endorsement of the badge or set of badges by a third party carry additional value? Who might that third party be and what criteria would they require to endorse the badges?

C. Technology

In most cases, a badge system will reflect interactions and experiences that occur both off- and online. The badges themselves will be digital and exchanged and stored online, either through the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure, or in a way that is fully interoperable with the Mozilla infrastructure. (More information on the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure:

In your proposal, please include thoughts and plans addressing the following technology components:

  • Issuing. How will the issuing web site deliver assessments and award badges? Will learners manage badges locally, or only off site using the Open Badge Infrastructure?
  • Interoperability. How do the badges fit into the broader ecosystem? Is the badge being issued in a manner that meets the specifications for the Open Badge Infrastructure?
  • Software and widgets. Do you plan to produce software and widgets that others might want to use for their badges systems? For example, a badge issuing module for a popular learning platform like Moodle, or a badge display widget for a popular service like Wordpress. Creation of software and widgets of this type is highly encouraged and can be covered by a grant.

D. Team

The ultimate goal of the Competition is to create robust and comprehensive teams to work together to create high-quality badge systems. These team members may come from a diverse set of backgrounds, with differing levels of expertise or familiarity with badges. You will be judged on the quality and relevance of the design submissions, and on your capacity to complete the proposed work. We want to understand if your team has sufficient resources, or if HASTAC can work with you to help fill any gaps you identify.

In your written proposal, please include descriptions of the following:

  • Team expertise. Who on your team will work on the development of a badge or set of badges? What is their previous experience in building badges or related systems, and what are their areas of expertise? What technology expertise do you have on your team? Do they have the necessary expertise to plug into the Mozilla Open Badge infrastructure?