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What is more exciting than a MOOC? A MOOC in which you can earn digital badges!

MOOCs, or massive open online courses, are an exciting way to learn about a new field. MOOCs are typically available to anyone who is interested in registering, and they are usually free. Frequently, however, upwards of 90% of students do not complete a MOOC that they started. A 2014-2015 SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant is enabling a team of UAlbany and Empire State College researchers to create a Metaliteracy MOOC that will use digital badging to deliver the content. Trudi Jacobson, Distinguished Librarian, is co-Principal Investigator for the grant along with Thomas Mackey at ESC. They and a team of others, which includes Kelsey O’Brien and Allison Hosier of the University Libraries, and Instructional Developer Jenna Hecker from UAlbany, are creating the badging system’s quests, challenges, and other activities that they hope will motivate more learners to finish the 10-week MOOC. These digital badges can be shared via social media, and displayed to prospective employers or educational institutions with a hyperlinked record of what the learner has accomplished.  Research will be conducted to determine the effect of this unique pairing of online learning formats.

Metaliteracy is an enhanced form of information literacy that addresses today’s information environment. It emphasizes that individuals create information as well as use it, and encourages them to do so in collaborative online environments. Metacognition, or reflecting on one’s own thinking, is also an important part of metaliteracy.

The grant will enable the team to develop a SUNY community of faculty, librarians, instructional designers and others who are interested in using digital badging to enhance learning.

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