The Open Badges team got together last week in beautiful Portland, ME to discuss what’s next for development.
For the past couple of months we’ve been actively reaching out to the community and gathering feedback on a variety of issues from those related to COPPA to authentication with Persona to revocation of badges to pie badges etc.
After gathering all the notes on feature requests and issues raised, we took a look at the list and started to prioritize. An important deliverable deadline for us is the ongoing DML4 competition and the upcoming DML conference scheduled for mid March 2013. Since March of this year, 2012, we’ve been working closely with all of the 30 DML funded grantee teams to ensure they understand the Open Badge Infrastructure and have what they need to integrate their badges with our open standard and API. At the upcoming 2013 DML conference they will have the opportunity to show their work and progress and we want to ensure their badges integrate well with our technical infrastructure and that our system can accommodate for the varying needs of the 30 grantee teams.
Working with the 30 DML grantee teams has been a great testing ground of issuer use cases. So far, almost all issues raised by the larger community has most often been raised by the pool of DML grantee teams as well.
We took both the feedback of the larger community as well as that of the DML grantee teams and have come up with the following issues list for release in Q1 2013:
COPPA, as many of you well know, has been very front of mind for us. We’ve talked to many of you who work with children under 13 to gather information, we’ve spent countless billable hours of our legal counsels’ time diving into this into greater detail and studied many existing COPPA compliant technical implementations.
Questions around children’s online identities are complicated ones that have yet to be resolved. At this moment in time, no children online identity providers handle identity and data protection while allowing sharing capability in an open Internet environment.
Not to mention, COPPA is a moving target. As we dove deeper into understanding the complexities around youth and online identities, we realized that this is something we cannot undertake alone. We need to work with the broader community of stakeholders, educators, identity providers and policymakers towards a collective solution.
As such we will be developing a cohesive stance towards COPPA which we will share out with the community soon. More to come here.
II. Extending spec - a. standards alignment
Many members of the community requested an additional optional metadata field that would indicate standards alignment of that badge. For instance if the learning content behind a Buzzmath badge that was earned reflected how the earner learned how to “Rewrite expressions involving radicals and rational exponents using the properties of exponents”, that directly aligns with Common Core Standard, CCSS.Math.Content.HSN-RN.A.2.
So Buzzmath, would likely link to the Common Core Standard url [n.b. specifics tbd] in this new standards alignment metadata field.
We think there are opportunities for this field beyond formal standards alignment. Our Sr. Director of Learning, Erin Knight will be writing more about how this field can be relevant to you so again, more to come here as well.
III. Extending spec - b. tags
As we think about badge organization and badge retrieval/discovery, we start to think about the different pieces of relevant information, i.e. data, that would help enhance this experience. Many of you have brought up the utility of creating a badge categorization or taxonomy of badges. We may choose the option to create a controlled vocabulary or take a folksonomic approach. We will be going with the latter and iterating based on how the community starts to utilize this field.
IV. 508 Compliance
We take accessibility considerations seriously and will comply with 508.
V. Fb Display integration
We will have Facebook display integration by spring 2013. In actuality, a big part of this is wrapping a great user experience around how a badge earner pushes their badges out to Facebook and how that can be distinguishable from a simple status update.
We’ll share out interim releases with the community for feedback.
VI. Signed badges
Signed badges will be a part of the Q1 2013 release schedule. As Brian mentions in the github issue, technical implementation is actually not the most challenging part. We really need to ensure issuers who are interested in signing their badges know where to start and how to go about making badges with signed assertions. The related documentation and tools development is key. We’d love for those especially keen on signed badges to provide feedback and support for this development.
VII. Backpack Connect - Autopush (badges by approved issuers automatically pushed)
Currently a badge earner must deliberately push every badge earned into their backpack (batch approval does exist today, however) which could be a clunky user experience. With auto-push, earner-approved issuers will be able to automatically push earned badges into the earner’s backpack.
VIII. Revocation of badges
When an issuer mistakenly issues the wrong badge to an earner, the method of revocation is that they go ahead and delete the assertion file. From the earner’s standpoint, that badge still exists in the backpack but if they want to display it out, the assertion file will not exist and it will be evident that the badge is not valid if anyone bothers to check. However problematic to all of this is that, a revoked badge is not obvious. There’s needs to be a better user experience around badge revocation. We will be including this in our next release.
IX. Badge expiration
Similar to badge revocation, the treatment and user experience around badge expiration is not clearly defined yet. We will be building out the new UX around badge expiration as well.
All these issues are trackable on our github issue tracker which you can find here.
We’ll keep you all in the loop with updates as many of these items require followup conversations and separate blogposts so stay tuned for more!