Get Feedback on a Project You Love: P2PU Launches a New Version of Badges

As Grantees of the Digital Media and Learning Competition, Peer 2 Peer University has created a platform for anyone who wants to make and issue Badges. We launched at the DML Conference in Chicago last week to an amazing response. Folks were very receptive to our project-based and feedback-driven approach. Here’s a bit of a walkthrough on what that means, and how you can use it.

How it Works.

Everyone is an Expert in something. Maybe you know how to make the perfect costume for your pet. Or you bring objects to life via 3D-drafting and printing. The point is that we’re a curious crew that’s down to learn how to make the next thing–whether it be digital, analog or abstract. Sound about right?

At P2PU, Badges are a way to recognize and support your expertise as you evolve. If you see a Badge on that’s in line with a Project you’re working on, you can submit it for feedback from an Expert.


When you submit your Project, we’ll ask you to step out what you did, and reflect a bit on what you’d do differently. This might seem obvious to you as the creator of your masterpiece, but it’ll help you get more targeted feedback (we promise).


We’ll notify an Expert that your Project is ready. An Expert is someone who either a.) made the darn Badge in the first place, or b.) submitted a Project which demonstrated their wizardry. They’ll come to your Project in short order, and deliver some robust suggestions for your individual needs. You’ll see that the feedback comes as Kudos, Questions and Concerns:


From here you’ll either be awarded the Badge, or prompted to take a look at the feedback and improve your project. You can resubmit your Project as many times as you like–the feedback will travel with the Project, and we’ll try to get the same Expert to continue to help you out.

If and when you do acquire the Badge, it will appear on your profile page, and you’ll be an Expert yourself. Celebration!

Creating a Badge.

If feedback is a conversation, then creating a Badge sparks a whole community around something you love. If you are a P2PU course facilitator, an organizer of a conference, or if a certain subject matter floats your boat, consider making a Badge for it:



From there, you’ll have a chance to preview and publish your Badge. If you just want to save it and come back later, the Badge will appear in your profile under “Badges in the Garden Shed.”


How long will my Badge take to be published and ready for action?  
Immediately. You’ll get to preview it before you publish, and then you’ll get a confirmation that the Badge is live.

How do I add a Badge to my P2PU course?
We’re working on a very light Badges/P2PU course integration in the next 4 weeks. In the meantime, each Badge has a unique URL. Create a new content module (i.e. “Submit Project for a Badge”) and copy and paste the Badge URL into that content field. Here’s an example:



I’m not in a P2PU course, but I have an event or a project I’d like to create a badge for. Can I? 
Yeah buddy–go for it. You can create a Badge for any kind of Project or event. Just direct folks towards your Badge’s particular URL so they can apply for it.

I’m an Expert and possess the Badge. How will I know when Projects are submitted? 
We’ll notify you with a snappy message in your Inbox.

Do your Badges integrate with the Open Badges Infrastructure? 
They will by May 1, 2013. Stay tuned for updates.

How Do I Edit My Badge After It’s Published?
Since Badges are live immediately, and anyone can apply for them, we chose to maintain the fidelity of each Badge. So if you applied for Podcast Description and Title and the criteria are “Upload your podcast and give it a name” that Badge should *always* have those criteria for everyone who applies for it. If the criteria or description need to be changed, then it’s a different Badge.

So, in this light, we made two design decisions:

  • We supply extensive warning copy in the Badge creation flow, and created the functionality to save your draft and return to it later. The draft Badge will appear in your profile as a “Badge in the Garden Shed.” 

5Preview your masteripiece

  • We made the Badge creation process really easy, simple and immediate–so if you want to create a better, spiffier version of the Badge, you can make another one easily.

What’s Coming Down the Pike.

Here’s a little window into the features we are furiously working on here at P2PU. These items are on deck for our next sprint:

  • Integration of Badges into courses
  • Spiffy landing page gallery sort/search/filter
  • Ability to evaluate the usefulness of feedback
  • Badge creation gallery of shapes and colors
  • Open Badges Infrastructure Integration


Find Out More.

In all seriousness, the skills we need evolve fast and furiously. At P2PU, we believe learning is guided by passion, projects and people. We’ve created a space to connect those arenas and help learners grow. So, Badges represent learning online that you can feel good about. If you’re curious about Badges or P2PU and would like to find out more, here’s some info:


It’s the Feedback, Silly! P2PU’s Plan for Badges

At P2PU we’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about badges–and here is our plan for a qualitative, feedback-based system for our third badge iteration. This was presented at the Digital Media and Learning Grantees Conference in Irvine, CA on January 25, 2013.

Reflections on “Badges: Peril or Possibility”

Yesterday was rich with conversations about badges. Early in the day HASTAC and Mozilla hosted a webinar with Judd Antin, a User Experience Researcher from Facebook, on the Social Psychology of Badges. Later in the evening, I was fortunate to be part of a conversation about assessment hosted by P2PU Community Member Paul Allison for Connected Educator Month. Paul’s been working on fleshing out a curriculum for Youth Voices on P2PU, and I was eager to hear how the conversation about badges is evolving.

Takeaways from the conversation:

  • Dave Cormier brought up some interesting points about badges and power–specifically that badges prescribe & require certain behaviors. If you know you’re being measured on cheery demeanor, number of satisfied customer requests, etc. that may prescribe your behavior. Who dictates what is assessed? That is something to consider in this power dynamic.
  • A potential solution to me is flexible, participatory assessment. What does that mean? It means that community members can iterate upon and adapt the assessment. That way, the values of the community are what is assessed.
  • Are badges too general and clumsy? We need to make the feedback learners get incremental and live.  Reliable assessment will identify more granular and precise skills.
  • Negative feedback remains a thorny issue in this conversation. Because badges usually refer to positive traits only, how do we integrate negative feedback? Should negative badges exist?
  • Are badges an innovation? was a question that came up over and again. I’d like to think that badges and innovative pedagogy are a good pair, and can go hand-in-hand. Badges lend themselves to evidence-based assessments, projects and authentic learning. They may even prompt a curriculum change in this direction, which I think is a good thing.
  • An interesting question that came up during the Mozilla/HASTAC conversation was about the longevity of badges. This has come up in our conversations at P2PU–how to design badges that are both evolving and classic, badges that will still have meaning 5 years from now.
  • Watch our Google Hangout:

All About Badges: How They Work & Their Future at P2PU

P2PU has pioneered the use of badges to recognize skills and projects. We’ve published papers on the subject. Scaled the badge model for a pilot of 500 learners. Won grants for our implementation. But how do badges actually work? And what’s the future of badges at P2PU?

Anyone can create a badge, and we especially encourage course organizers to create badges as part of their course design. If you’re interested in making a badge and would like feedback, check out the rad How Do I Make a Badge? Challenge.

Three Types of Badges.
If you’re participating in a Challenge, badges are integrated within that learning experience. We currently offer 3 different types of badges–they differ in the way they are awarded. To wit:

  • Skill Badges. You’d apply for a skill badge after completing a task, and link to evidence you’ve completed it. Check it out in action. Your peers will vote, and once you achieve the required # of votes and score in the rubric, TA-DA–the badge is yours. These badges are often associated with project completion–that you can demonstrate the “skill” you’ve learned.
  • Stealth Badges. Stealth badges occur automatically based on a user’s activity on the site. At Webmaking 101, you receive the “Webmaking Basic” badge for completing all of the tasks in the Challenge. Since they are awarded based on a user’s activity, they appear “steathily” in a user’s profile.
Webmaking 101 "Stealth" Badge

This badge appears on your profile automatically after you complete the Webmaking 101 Challenge.

  • Community Badges. “Community” badges are what peers award to each other–they require 1 vote. These badges are often associated with traits, maybe for giving Helpful Feedback or being a Team Player.  These badges might be awarded for activity that happens during a course, rather than the finished product.

What We Are Building Next.
OK, so that’s an overview of where we’re at with badges right now. But what are the next steps with badges? What will P2PU’s assessment program look like a year from now?

  • Bake assessment into P2PU’s core values and practices. At P2PU, we believe that you truly learn something when you help teach it to someone else. In that light, assessment is one of our core community values. In the next iteration we’ll be emphasizing peer-awarded badges and expect more assessment activity from users.
  • Improve the user experience. We’ll be improving the user experience of badges to reduce time lag between when you submit work for a badge and when it’s awarded to you. We’ll be integrating submission of work into the task, and condensing the number of types of badges we offer for a smoother badge experience.
  • Help others issue badges. With funding from the Digital Media and Learning competition we are building a universal badge issuer platform. In the 21st century, skills will change quickly–badges that come directly from our users will make this model nimble and relevant. We’ll be making it easier for users to produce badges themselves, potentially with an open icon library.
  • Pay attention to critical voices. We’ve listened to concerns about motivation from key thinkers in this area, like Mitch Resnick and Henry Jenkins. We’ll be thinking about how to implement badges in a stealthier way, so as to not inhibit motivation.
  • Tie badges to our theory of learning. Our badges will correspond to an area of skills, for certain, but also to nurture habits that make for expert learners, such as perseverance, curiosity and risk-taking.

So that is the state of badges and things to come. To find out more, join our community list or get crackin’ on your own badge at the How Do I Make a Badge Challenge.