Lifelong learners seek to document, via a digital record, specific learning achievements that are recognized by employers and other audiences. Digital badges meet this need by providing durable, reliable, shareable and verifiable records of well-defined and specific knowledge, skills or competencies.
A validated digital record of demonstrated competency, skills or knowledge achieved through a learning activity. Because it reflects assessed and demonstrated learning, a badge goes beyond recognition of the simple completion of a learning activity. The digital record represented by and attached to a badge contains detailed metadata about the student and their achievements, including who earned it, who issued it, criteria required to earn it, and the means by which competency in the relevant skills was assessed and as possible the evidence and assessment of the relevant skills.
Digital badges may be offered by any UW-Madison unit; they are not limited to academic units. Though the technology and tools used to create and issue digital badges can also be used to maintain digital archives for participation in camps, workshops or conferences, such digital records are not digital badges as defined in this document. They are, instead, digital participation awards and are outside the scope of this policy governing the official UW–Madison badge and its associated imagery.
Digital badges are associated with learning demonstrated through participation in UW-Madison learning activities and assessed by UW-Madison.
Learning associated with UW-Madison digital badges may be obtained via non-credit learning experiences or portions of credit-bearing courses. Digital badges may augment or complement, but may not duplicate, transcripted credentials. Similarly, badges should not be awarded merely for completing a regular, credit-bearing course.
Digital badges cannot be earned through assessment only; they must be offered in conjunction with a formal or informal UW-Madison learning experience. Credit-based offerings can include portions of courses or combinations of courses. Non-credit offerings may include continuing education, employee professional development programming, seminars, workshops, or other events that involves a learning experience and assessment activity. All admissions, financial aid, and enrollment processes are set by the policies related to the learning experience itself, and do not pertain to the badge.
Digital badges offered by UW-Madison do not lead to the conferral of a degree as defined by UW-Madison and will not be reflected on the UW-Madison academic transcript. All promotional materials and communications regarding digital badges must clearly state this limitation.
While elements of for-credit courses may relate to meeting digital badge requirements, badge completion is not a substitute for or component of for-credit coursework nor are badges recorded on the university transcript. Digital badges are non-credit credentials intended to supplement traditional academic transcripts and resumes for learning by highlighting demonstrated competency in a defined area or discipline, recognition for things learned on-the-job, or mastery of industry-specific training or products.
Once issued, badges are controlled by the learner, though they may not be altered. Badges are verifiable, shareable, and discoverable.