Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara

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Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Simon Coggins 8/26/12 3:08 PM
Hi there,

I work for TotaraLMS (http://www.totaralms.com/), which is a distribution of the Moodle (moodle.org) open source learning management system. We have recently starting working on integrating open badges into Moodle, as both a badge issuer and displayer, and also the Mahara e-porfolio system (mahara.org) as a displayer. Here's the announcement:


We are currently working on a specification and getting our heads round the open badges spec.

Our first draft of how we might go about it is available here:


I'd be really keen for any feedback on our proposals.

One big question that I have is around the management of a user's badges given that moodle would be both a displayer and issuer. The 14 step process for receiving a badge (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Earner#II._FUNCTIONAL_FLOW:_FIRST_TIME_EARNER) seems quite complex. In particular I'm not sure how organisations/users would respond to the need to ask users have an external persona account to receive badges.

One idea I've had is to simplify the workflow by making it possible to display badges received from the site directly, without having to push them to an external backpack. Pushing them to the external backpack (and pulling in external badges) would still be possible (and encouraged!), but not required.

Is that something you've seen done before? Are there any major disadvantages or problems that I've missed? Or is there another way to simplify/avoid that first time workflow?

Thanks,

Simon

Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Sunny 8/27/12 6:42 AM
Hi Simon, 

I work for TotaraLMS (http://www.totaralms.com/), which is a distribution of the Moodle (moodle.org) open source learning management system. We have recently starting working on integrating open badges into Moodle, as both a badge issuer and displayer, and also the Mahara e-porfolio system (mahara.org) as a displayer. Here's the announcement:


This is great. We are excited about the work you are doing. 
 
We are currently working on a specification and getting our heads round the open badges spec.

Our first draft of how we might go about it is available here:


I'd be really keen for any feedback on our proposals.

With regards to badge creation user story: "Be able to modify existing badges"; modifying existing badges that have already been issued to earners/learners is not something we support. Once issued, the badge cannot be modified by the admin. This is to prevent the instances in which eg. a "You are awesome" badge is issued by an issuer to an earner and then modified unbeknownst to the earner to a "You are NOT awesome" badge. This might not be what you had in mind for that user story but just in case, thought I'd point that out. 

With regards to the badge display user stories: To clarify, the "displayer" within the badges ecosystem signifies the sites and services that display all badges an earner has earned. If totara intended to be a displayer as well as an issuer, not only would the badges earned within totara be displayable but also the badges that the earner earned from other sites and learning environments if the earner chose to have those badges pushed out and displayed on their totara profile. 

An issuer can display the badges that an earner earned within their learning environment, however they want. They wouldn't need the displayer API for that. They can go ahead and display those badges as they wish. The displayer API is intended to enable the publishing of public badges that a badge earner has in their backpack wherever they are earned from, potentially a variety of different badge issuing organizations and sites. I hope this is clear. Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions. 
 
One big question that I have is around the management of a user's badges given that moodle would be both a displayer and issuer. The 14 step process for receiving a badge (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Earner#II._FUNCTIONAL_FLOW:_FIRST_TIME_EARNER) seems quite complex. In particular I'm not sure how organisations/users would respond to the need to ask users have an external persona account to receive badges.

We are making significant UX improvements right now to make this a more intuitive process. We agree, the 14 step process can be overwhelming. Please feel free to comment on specifics. Our github UX milestone issue tracker can be found here: https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges/issues?milestone=4
 
One idea I've had is to simplify the workflow by making it possible to display badges received from the site directly, without having to push them to an external backpack. Pushing them to the external backpack (and pulling in external badges) would still be possible (and encouraged!), but not required.

Would you mind unwinding this a bit for me? I'm not sure I follow what you have in mind and how this will alleviate the badge receiving workflow. 
 
Is that something you've seen done before? Are there any major disadvantages or problems that I've missed? Or is there another way to simplify/avoid that first time workflow?

Thanks,

Thanks for sharing all your work with us Simon! Looking forward to hearing more. 
 
Simon

Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Simon Coggins 8/27/12 4:33 PM
Hi Sunny,

Thanks for the feedback, very helpful!
 
With regards to badge creation user story: "Be able to modify existing badges"; modifying existing badges that have already been issued to earners/learners is not something we support. Once issued, the badge cannot be modified by the admin.

No we weren't intending to modify badges that had already been issued, it's just so they can update how the badge appears for future recipients. It's a good point though - I've updated the user story to clarify and we'll have to make that clear in the interface to the administrator that it won't affect existing badges.

We have another story "be able to revoke badges that are no longer valid" - is that something that is allowed? I'm imagining that we would just deny verification for that badge, but is that something that an issuer is allowed/supposed to do?

With regards to the badge display user stories: To clarify, the "displayer" within the badges ecosystem signifies the sites and services that display all badges an earner has earned. If totara intended to be a displayer as well as an issuer, not only would the badges earned within totara be displayable but also the badges that the earner earned from other sites and learning environments if the earner chose to have those badges pushed out and displayed on their totara profile. 

An issuer can display the badges that an earner earned within their learning environment, however they want. They wouldn't need the displayer API for that. They can go ahead and display those badges as they wish. The displayer API is intended to enable the publishing of public badges that a badge earner has in their backpack wherever they are earned from, potentially a variety of different badge issuing organizations and sites.

Ah ok, that helps. I envisaged we would want to provide both - a way to display badges earned internally (without needing a backpack) as well as using the displayer API to allow users to display all badges. I'll clarify the user stories to reflect that.
 
One big question that I have is around the management of a user's badges given that moodle would be both a displayer and issuer. The 14 step process for receiving a badge (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Earner#II._FUNCTIONAL_FLOW:_FIRST_TIME_EARNER) seems quite complex. In particular I'm not sure how organisations/users would respond to the need to ask users have an external persona account to receive badges.

We are making significant UX improvements right now to make this a more intuitive process. We agree, the 14 step process can be overwhelming. Please feel free to comment on specifics. Our github UX milestone issue tracker can be found here: https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges/issues?milestone=4

Okay I will do, thanks!
 
 
One idea I've had is to simplify the workflow by making it possible to display badges received from the site directly, without having to push them to an external backpack. Pushing them to the external backpack (and pulling in external badges) would still be possible (and encouraged!), but not required.

Would you mind unwinding this a bit for me? I'm not sure I follow what you have in mind and how this will alleviate the badge receiving workflow. 

We're just talking about providing a way for users to see badges they received through moodle without having to create a badge backpack if they don't want to. Your response "An issuer can display the badges that an earner earned within their learning environment, however they want." clarifies that for me. We would still want moodle to be a displayer of all badges too, but it's good to know that isn't required in order to show a user their badges.

One more question that has come up today - many moodle sites will be internal only system that sit behind quite restrictive firewalls - often with no "external" access at all. How is that managed when it comes to pushing badges to the backpack and in particular verifying badges that have been issued?

I guess that users can always manually upload badges to their backpack, but the verification seems like it could be a real problem - is there any way a site could use an external verification service so they don't need to host it themselves?

Thanks again for the feedback,

Simon
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Sunny 8/27/12 5:03 PM
Hi Simon, 


Thanks for the feedback, very helpful!
 
No problem. Pleasure!

We have another story "be able to revoke badges that are no longer valid" - is that something that is allowed? I'm imagining that we would just deny verification for that badge, but is that something that an issuer is allowed/supposed to do?

Revocation of badges is something that has been discussed before but I do not know where we stand on this at this moment in time. I will have to defer to Brian Brennan, our tech lead, for that. 
 
One idea I've had is to simplify the workflow by making it possible to display badges received from the site directly, without having to push them to an external backpack. Pushing them to the external backpack (and pulling in external badges) would still be possible (and encouraged!), but not required.

Would you mind unwinding this a bit for me? I'm not sure I follow what you have in mind and how this will alleviate the badge receiving workflow. 

We're just talking about providing a way for users to see badges they received through moodle without having to create a badge backpack if they don't want to. Your response "An issuer can display the badges that an earner earned within their learning environment, however they want." clarifies that for me. We would still want moodle to be a displayer of all badges too, but it's good to know that isn't required in order to show a user their badges.

Great. Yup, you can go ahead and display badges issued within moodle no problem without having to go through the backpack and the displayer API. We understand there may be some badges earners wouldn't want to push to their backpack. For instance, I personally may not want to push super granular or motivational badges into the backpack but might want to push the meta level skills attainment badges into my backpack. It's really up to the badge earner what they want to keep in the native environment and which they want to push out to the backpack. 
 
One more question that has come up today - many moodle sites will be internal only system that sit behind quite restrictive firewalls - often with no "external" access at all. How is that managed when it comes to pushing badges to the backpack and in particular verifying badges that have been issued?

I guess that users can always manually upload badges to their backpack, but the verification seems like it could be a real problem - is there any way a site could use an external verification service so they don't need to host it themselves?

I will defer to our tech lead, Brian on this one as well. 
 
Thanks again for the feedback,

Sure, no problem! We're happy to help. Please let us know your progress and we'd be happy to provide any feedback or support. 
 
Simon
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Simon Coggins 8/27/12 7:45 PM
Thanks, good to know we're on the right track.

I've created a diagram to try to explain what we're thinking of implementing here:


One more question, this time about backpack providers. My understanding is that while beta.openbadges.org is the reference implementation of a backpack provider, the aim is to have multiple backpack providers so users can choose where to store their badges.

With that in mind, we're considering making each Mahara site installation a backpack provider. Given the goals of Mahara (pulling together achievements from a range of sources and giving the user control over how they are displayed) it would seem to be a good fit.

Does that match with expectations of the kind of sites that would be backpack providers? It seems the code to become a backpack provider is available from https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges, is it just a case of running a server or is some kind of approval/recognition/acceptance needed to become a provider? How would a new user specify their backpack provider (step 2 of https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Earner/Non-Technical#II._FUNCTIONAL_FLOW:_FIRST_TIME_EARNER) if it is currently hard coded to use Mozilla?

Simon
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Sunny 8/28/12 12:58 PM

I've created a diagram to try to explain what we're thinking of implementing here:


One more question, this time about backpack providers. My understanding is that while beta.openbadges.org is the reference implementation of a backpack provider, the aim is to have multiple backpack providers so users can choose where to store their badges.

Yup, we do not intend to be the centralized repository of all badges of the world and would like to encourage the development of a decentralized badges ecosystem. 
 
With that in mind, we're considering making each Mahara site installation a backpack provider. Given the goals of Mahara (pulling together achievements from a range of sources and giving the user control over how they are displayed) it would seem to be a good fit.

Does that match with expectations of the kind of sites that would be backpack providers?

It does. However, backpack federation is not available yet. By all means you can take our code and set up your own instance of the backpack now, but the current version does not consider having the backpack being a part of a federated system. Backpack federation is on the roadmap for release in the latter part of next year. We want to ensure that backpacks are a node that are a part of a larger network of backpacks to enable querying against all backpacks within the network. 
 
It seems the code to become a backpack provider is available from https://github.com/mozilla/openbadges, is it just a case of running a server or is some kind of approval/recognition/acceptance needed to become a provider? How would a new user specify their backpack provider (step 2 of https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Earner/Non-Technical#II._FUNCTIONAL_FLOW:_FIRST_TIME_EARNER) if it is currently hard coded to use Mozilla?

Does that make sense? 
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Simon Coggins 8/28/12 2:35 PM
Thanks, that clears things up. We've got plenty to be getting on with in the mean time anyway - perhaps later on we can look at Mahara as a backpack provider once the federated backpack work has progressed.

Exciting stuff!

Simon
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Sunny 8/28/12 2:57 PM
Yes, exciting indeed. Please feel free to ask any questions at any point. We're happy to help!
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Tyler Gillies 11/15/12 4:57 PM


On Monday, August 27, 2012 5:04:17 PM UTC-7, Sunny wrote:


Revocation of badges is something that has been discussed before but I do not know where we stand on this at this moment in time. I will have to defer to Brian Brennan, our tech lead, for that.



Has there been an update in revocation discussion? I'm trying my hand at making a badge based authentication system
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Sunny 11/18/12 1:16 PM
I will let Chris McAvoy our engineering team manager and product lead confirm but I believe we will be incorporating revocation of badges. Specific timeline of this should come early to mid December following a team badges sprint, which we'll share out with the community. 
Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Chris McAvoy 11/19/12 4:22 PM
+1 to everything Sunny said.--
@chmcavoy
http://lonelylion.com


Re: [openbadges] Open Badges integration for Moodle/Mahara Yuliya Bozhko 12/2/12 12:40 PM
That would be really great! Thank you!

Yuliya