Bucks County Community College & Digital Credentials

During our recent webinar, "Beating the Buy-In Game: Governance in Higher Ed," we heard from Jacqueline Burger, Associate Professor, at Bucks County Community College. Jacqueline shared unique insights into how their badging program was created and dives into how they're running their program today. 

Here's what Jacqueline had to say about digital credentials at Bucks County Community College. 

1) Is there a universal definition of micro-credentials or does each institution develop its own? Are they universal across Bucks? 

Jacqueline: For us, currently, we avoid the term micro-credentials. Establishing a micro-credential grouping of offerings would most likely require us to pursue permission to do so from our accrediting agency, Middle States Commission for Higher Education. 
 
In our Digital Badge Team, we did develop a taxonomy:

Authoritative entity –a person or group of people with expertise with the digital badge topic who determine competencies and criteria of mastery for said competencies.

Digital badges –electronic representation and recognition of verifiable evidence for a criteria-based skill, learning achievement or experience.

Digital badge provider –the vendor Acclaim/Credly serves as the provider of the College digital badges. The Acclaim/Credly digital badge platform is accessible to digital badge issuers for creating, managing, and claiming Bucks County Community College digital badges.

Ecosystem –the flow of authorization and information among digital badge earners, issuers, and viewers.

Enterprise –the Bucks County Community College digital badge account to digital badge recipients and serves as the highest level trusted authority and digital badge enterprise as designated via the digital badge provider.

Issuer –a person or group of people affiliated with a department of the College tasked with using Acclaim/Credly to create and to distribute the digital badge. 

Metadata –the title, description, criteria, date, expiration date (if required), tags (if required), and evidence (if required) of a digital badge.

Participatory badge –extrinsic motivating badge granted to a recipient upon attendance to an activity and/or event.

Recipient –a student or employee of Bucks County Community who successfully completes criteria and subsequently earns a digital badge.

Skill badge –granted to a recipient upon successful demonstration of a competency or set of competencies as defined by an authoritative entity.

2) Does Bucks issue credentials for continuing education credits? 
 
Jacqueline: Yes - Bucks issues five different badges for our Workforce Development continuing education offerings. Bucks also issues over 260 different badges  for our Public Safety offerings.
 
3) Do your microcredentials have a higher level of competency than a grade? Could a credential be awarded for only an assessment greater than 85% for instance?
 
Jacqueline: We approach this with flexibility.  
 
Badges correlating to academic, credit course work have criteria established by the faculty affiliated with the content of the badge. For example, faculty teaching our Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing courses issue students badges after a student earns a B or higher as a final grade. 
 
Badges correlating to academic work on a particular project, like our Undergraduate Research badge, are issued to a student only after the student's professor verifies the scholarly rigor and excellence of the project. 
 

If you're interested in learning more about establishing governance at your institution, listen to the full webinar, "Beating the Buy-In Game: Governance in Higher Ed.
By Patricia Diaz