What is an Open Badge?
An Open Badge is a portable eCredential standard to recognize, verify and share skills and learning. It was created by the Mozilla Foundation in 2011 and has been adopted by schools, vocational, public organizations and companies around the world.
Open Badges were developed because of the strong need in our web-enabled society to recognize and demonstrate all of the learning that happens through work, hobbies, volunteering and various other activities in our lives.
The word “badge” makes many people think first of scouting, but badges have their origins in the military as symbols of rank, specialization and expertise. Today, digital badges are often used as gamification tools to engage users in learning programs, online communities and social media. However, these digital badges typically aren’t worth much and often can’t travel outside the environment where they’re earned.
An Open Badge is a “smart” digital badge that can travel. It contains embedded information, or “metadata” that can provide more valuable recognition and make it meaningful in new environments. This metadata provides information about the issuer of the badge and the criteria used to recognize the skills, achievements, capabilities and qualities of the badge earner. This makes the Open Badge a trusted credential, with validated evidence of learning that can be carried forward from one environment to another.
Alignment to a standard makes Open Badges portable. This means earners can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell a more complete story of their achievements and interests. Earners can display the badges in an ePortfolio or Skills Passport or share them on websites such as LinkedInWeb for employment, social networking, education or lifelong learning purposes.
What is CanCred Factory?
CanCred Factory is a reliable and flexible platform for issuing Open Badges. Technically, it is identical to Open Badge Factory with the same comprehensive set of tools for creating, issuing and managing Open Badges . But CanCred Factory is a distinctly Canadian service, hosted on servers in Canada and focused on the needs of Canadian badge issuers.
CanCred Factory is what your organization needs if you are planning on designing and managing a meaningful and sustainable eCredential system to build your reputation and brand.
Are the badges created by CanCred Factory compatible with the Mozilla Open Badges Infrastructure?
Yes. The badges created and issued by CanCred Factory are fully compliant with the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) originally developed by Mozilla Foundation and now managed by IMS Global.
Moodle and several other learning platforms have tools to create and issue badges. Why should we use CanCred Factory?
There are several reasons why you should manage your badges on our specialized platform:
With CanCred Factory you can avoid fragmentation of your badge strategy and ensure a long life for the badges you issue. You can manage all your badges in one place but issue them through plugins on other systems you use, such as Moodle, Totara LMS, Blackboard, Optima, WordPress, Canvas LMS, D2L Brightspace and Mahara ePortfolio. You can also issue them manually online, or face to face at live events with claim codes.
When you issue a badge from Moodle or another system using a CanCred Factory plugin, your badges will be safely stored and centrally managed in CanCred Factory. They will remain functional and valid even if your organization decides to replace your current learning platform with a new one.
CanCred Factory also provides tools and features that are missing from Moodle and other learning platforms. These tools will help you to create and manage a consistent badge system.
The list of tools is a long one, but here are some examples:
- badge pathways with Milestone badges
- a comprehensive reporting system
- tools for managing badge expiry
- roles for managing badge design and issue as a collaborative workflow.
What platforms work with the OBF plugins?
Plugins, also known as client applications, have been developed for Moodle, Totara LMS, Blackboard, WordPress, Canvas LMS, D2L Brightspace and Optima learning platforms as well as Mahara ePortfolio. More plugins are coming in the future. These plugins make it possible to issue badges remotely but manage them centrally in CanCred Factory.
The plugins are open source and can be found on the Integrations page of the Open Badge Factory website.
Can we develop plugins for our own systems?
Yes, we encourage this! Discendum provides an Open API that developers can use to create their own plugins. See our API documentation. If you don’t have your own developers, contact us and tell us about your needs.
Can we use CanCred Factory for free or is there a charge?
We offer 3 service levels; Free, Basic and Premium.
At the Free level you can access CanCred Factory’s basic features and plugins, but you can only create two badges. This service level is convenient for developers who need to test their plugins or for organizations that need to issue only one or two badges.
The Basic level gives access to most features although some features are blocked, such as Milestone badges. You can have a maximum of ten different badges at a time. This service level is suitable for organizations that want to start developing badge systems.
Premium level customers have full access to all CanCred Factory’s features. You can have an unlimited number of badges in your badge inventory. This level is suitable for organizations that want to develop larger, more structured badge systems with flexible badge pathways.
Please note that there is a maximum limit of 15,000 issued badges/year at all service levels. If your organization plans to issue more than 15,000 badges/year, you can upgrade your account by contacting us at at firstname.lastname@example.org
Premium level customers also have the option of adding sub-organizations, such as faculties, departments or subsidiaries. Each sub-organization can have its own issuer name and URL and can generate separate reports. There is a modest additional subscription cost for each sub-organization. Contact us for details.
Is it possible to move from one service level to another?
Yes. The admin user of your account can change the service level subscription.
How do I get started with CanCred Factory?
After signing up, you’ll have an account at the Premium level. After the trial period you’ll have the option to purchase a paid subscription at either the Premium or Basic level. If you choose neither, you will revert to the Free level, with a maximum of 2 badges in your catalogue. You will also be able to delete your environment and terminate your account if you choose to do so. Any issued badges are guaranteed for 2 years after account termination.
What does “Verified by CanCred Factory” mean?
This text will appear as a footnote in your badge criteria pages if we can verify that at least the admin user of your account belongs to your organization. Becoming a verified issuer is possible only at the Premium level and above. The admin user must apply for verification and comply with our verification process.