In this dissertation, the creation and iterative improvement of an open badge system for an undergraduate preservice educational technology course is examined through 3 journal-ready articles. In article 1, we detail the design, development and implementation of the badge system and demonstrate how an open badge system could help meet the challenges facing the course. Several future design implications are identified, including how to scale the badge system while maintaining quality control and how to achieve financial sustainability. Future research implications include determining if awarding badges provide students with additional motivation and what employers perceptions of badges might be. Article 2 examines how undergraduate instructional design assistants (IDAs) could be used to affordably scale our badge system. External reviews determined that IDAs can create badge rubrics at a similar level as instructors, allowing us to create far more badges than we could without their help. IDAs also reported that the experience benefitted them by giving them increased technology skills and room for professional growth. While most of the IDAs were excited about the benefits of open badges, none chose to share their badges with prospective employers, largely due to concerns about how to display them or about whether principals would understand their value. In article 3, we look at employers perceptions of open badges. We emailed 1 of 2 forms of a survey to 577 principals and assistant principals in 5 school districts. Form A used wording about digital badges while form B used the term microcredentials. We compared the results of the surveys using the Mann-Whitney U test and the sign test. We also qualitatively examined the results of the open-ended questions using constant comparison analysis. We found that using the term microcredential instead of the term digital badge does not have a significant effect on employers perceptions on open badges. However, providing a small amount of instruction regarding the affordances of open badges does produce a statistically significant difference in the perceived value of open badges. Employers see the most value in achievement and capability badges. Most employers believed badges would be useful in the hiring process, but many worried about the challenge of having too much data. Finally, we found that many employers think that badges could be useful in professional development.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology

Date Submitted


Document Type





open badges, digital badges, microcredentials, technology integration, teaching assistants, employer perceptions