For those unfamiliar with the DML competition, here’s a brief recap: Having built out the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI), the plumbing to support a larger open badges ecosystem, we at Mozilla along with the MacArthur foundation and HASTAC felt it would be important to seed the ecosystem with high quality badges to kickstart the badges movement. Thereby, we made an open call for badge system submissions about a year ago where we had over 600 entries which got whittled down to 90 finalists who came to San Francisco earlier this year to pitch their badge systems to a panel of judges. Of those 90, 30 were selected as funded winners who now have a year to build out their badge systems that will integrate with the OBI.
More information on the DML competition can be found here.
For reflections after the DML competition, definitely check out the blog post written by our Sr. Director of Learning, Erin Knight which can be found here.
5 months later, it’s worth taking a gut check on where we are and what lies ahead.
Now that the emotional highs and lows of the competition and conference are behind us and the dust has settled, the winning grantee teams are getting to work on building out their badge systems or badge platforms and we at Mozilla in conjunction with HASTAC and MacArthur are ensuring that the teams have the support and guidance they need to successfully do so.
As part of this effort, Sheryl Grant from HASTAC and I conducted a round of outreach conversations with each of the winning grantee teams. Coordination with 30 winning grantee teams, frequently comprised of multiple team members, traversing different timezones was no trivial task, but it was well worth our time and energy.
Similar to how I put together a partner breakdown report a few weeks back, I thought it’d be a worth while exercise to examine our own grantee projects in a similar manner but within the context of the DML competition.
Here are some of our findings from this first wave of outreach conversations:
11 out of the 30 teams have had some contact with the Mozilla Open Badges team and/or have had checked out the available resources out there and thus were somewhat familiar with the integration process. During the course of outreach, Sheryl and I made sure all the grantees knew who to contact (me!) when they were ready to start issuing badges that integrate with the OBI as well as the pointers to the resources readily available for them.
The breakdown of the tech platforms utilized by each grantee team is as follows:
With 6 grantee teams, .net is the most used tech platform among the grantee teams, closely followed by drupal. There are still 5 teams that are weighing the different tech platform options and 5 teams that are building their badge system on top of existing badge issuing platforms.
COPPA stands for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, in which a “child” is defined as an individual under the age of 13. The details get much trickier but the general idea is that a website operator who collects personal information from children under 13 must seek verifiable consent from a parent or legal guardian. We wanted to know for whom among the grantee teams, COPPA was a concern.
The breakdown falls smack down the middle; 15 teams are concerned about COPPA compliance and 15 teams are not.
The current public beta release of the Mozilla reference implementation of the backpack does not support children under 13. This was a deliberate choice as accommodating for COPPA would have delayed our release rather significantly. We will be creating a parallel backpack with limited sharing capabilities that will be COPPA compliant for the 15 DML grantee teams and their community of under 13 badge earners by early next year.
More information on COPPA can be found here: http://www.coppa.org/
There were several themes that came up over and over again during the course the outreach conversations. Most common ones were as follows:
All of these are HUGE themes in and of themselves that deserve a lot of attention and careful thinking around them. And none of them are discreet or isolated but relate to, depend on or validate one another.
Following up on these outreach conversations, in September we are holding a face-to-face workshop for the grantees to take place at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. We hope to learn more on the progress made by the grantees and how we can collectively work through and tackle these higher level themes. I’ll have more to share after the workshops.