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  • Digital Badging Pilot Based on Career Readiness Competencies

    January 27, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
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    TAGS: best practices, competencies, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    In spring 2015, deans from the LaGuardia Community College's Provost's Cabinet began conceptualizing a digital badging initiative as a way to use badges to document co-curricular learning and make it more visible across the campus.

    The digital badges will serve as a symbol of success and accomplishment for the students to share with potential employers and include with their transfer applications to four-year colleges/universities, explains Jessica Perez, director of LaGuardia Community College's Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD).

    "We thought [badging] to be a critical element to the success of this program, to uplift our students and make them more employable," Perez says. "The digital badges will offer students the opportunity to showcase and validate on social media platforms such as LinkedIn their skills, interests, and accomplishments based on NACE's Career Readiness Competencies. During the pilot program, students will begin to establish their online presence and build their brand."

    Deans from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs planned a 2015-16 pilot program that focuses on four pilot badges—Career Readiness, The President's Society, the Environmental Studies Club, and the ePortfolio Scholars.

    "The first phase of our project was the situational analysis where Student Affairs Vice President and Associate Provost Michael Baston identified a need for professional development and support for first-generation, low-income students," Perez says.

    Baston envisioned a collaborative effort between the Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) and the CCPD to provide pre-placement training, ongoing professional development, and ways to demonstrate the transferrable skills that will enable students to advance in meaningful skills.

    "We are currently rolling out Phase 2—student registration and supervisor training," Perez explains. "FWS has identified eligible students for the pilot who are first-semester students for spring 2016 and students who were FWS eligible in fall 2015, but did not work at an assigned placement."

    In the second phase, students are invited to attend a student pre-employment orientation and training to learn more about badging, interview preparation, workplace expectations, and time management; get an overview of FWS; and receive an introduction to ePortfolio and LAGCC Career Connect.

    "Students will be providing evidence for the badges on ePortfolio for assessment," Perez says. "Examples of the evidence will be reflections about their work experiences, resumes, mock interviews, and an oral presentation."

    Another component of Phase 2 is re-training site supervisors about the student and supervisor expectations of the pilot.

    Sites will be selected for the potential professional development value they can provide to students through their job experiences, Perez notes. Thirty students will be placed at on-campus offices such as LaGuardia's Performance Arts Center, Veterinary Technology Program, Student Financial Services, and the Office of Student Affairs.

    "Site supervisors will play a critical role in providing students with the hands-on experiences that will translate to the program's learning outcomes," Perez says. "Site supervisors will be evaluating the student's performance at the end of the program. The evaluation will have weight toward the awarding of badges."

    Phase 3 will address co-curricular activities, while Phase 4—the final phase of the pilot—will be program evaluation and expansion planning. The badging program will be up-scaled for fall 2016 to provide all students in the FWS program professional development, mentoring, and digital badges.

    Currently, program organizers are in the process of designing the digital badges using the Credly platform.

    "The badges on Credly are fully customizable, tailored for each achievement, and LaGuardia branded," Perez says. "The criteria for the badges will be based on the NACE Career Readiness Competencies, tied in with LaGuardia's Core Competencies and Student Affairs Developmental Experiences."

    She says that this program gives students the opportunity to gain facility with digital literacy, self-direction, writing, presentation, and many of the skills desired by todays' employers. 

    "The digital badges are an innovative way for students to communicate and demonstrate their skills and experiences to prospective employers separate from the traditional resume," Perez says. "Badging also provides a marketing tool for the employer relations team of the CCPD to market our students for potential jobs."