Open Badges for degrees at Bicocca
Open Badges were created to give visibility to competencies arising from non-formal and informal contexts: but why not take advantage of the digital, portable component to make it easier to identify competencies linked to the most formal study pathway of all, the degree? Why not use Open Badges to bring the degree also on to the new scenario of Open Recognition?
This is the reasoning that led the University of Milan-Bicocca to issue Open Badges to its graduates through Bestr, a first in Italy and probably in the world, too.
The experience begins on 20 July 2017, with the degree session of the course of studies for the Master in International Economics, held in English, valid for the 2015-2016 Academic Year. 2018 will be the turn of the Badge for the Degree in Marine Sciences, which will be awarded to students completing the Master Degree Course, held for the first time in the 2016-2017 Academic Year and which also includes a period of study at the MaRHE Center, a research center in the Maldives.
After that, there will be 68 more Badges for all the other degree courses, plus the International Student Open Badge, which will be issued to students completing one or more periods of study abroad as part of the programmes for international mobility.
The Badges for the degree courses in Marine Sciences and International Economics
«The Badges certifying the degrees and the International Student Badge», explains Professor Paolo Cherubini, Pro-Rector of Didactics at the University of Milan-Bicocca, «are the first tangible sign of the policy of international open recognition, to which the Bicocca is committed, with its signature, a first for universities worldwide, of the Bologna Open Recognition Declaration.
The Badges are of use to employers on the global market, because they replace self-declarations in a digital curriculum vitae with certification guaranteed by the issuing body itself. They are also of use to the graduate, not only to improve his or her web reputation, but especially to communicate rapidly and credibly to employers all over the world what he or she has done, has learned and with what results.»
Customised Badges, thanks to integration with ESSE3
Data relating to the experience of individual students: grade and date of degree, title and excerpt of the thesis, details of periods spent abroad, are all collected dynamically by ESSE3, the student administration system developed by Cineca and in operation at Bicocca, and entered into the Badges as evidence of outcomes of the experience.
The Open Badges seek to give the right weight and the right legibility to those elements that may be characteristic of a graduate from the Unviersity of Bicocca, also and especially in the eyes of potential employers, possibly foreign ones: what the student has learned, how he or she has demonstrated successful instruction (work on a thesis is certainly not taken for granted abroad), the specialisation of the thesis, if the student career was completed in the expected time frame, the percentage of students obtaining an equal or higher degree grade.
The value of an experience abroad in an Open Badge
Experiences abroad deserved special attention, so they were not added to the Degree Badge, but earned their own Badge, the International Student, where a potential employer can see all the experiences a student has completed abroad as part of a study course, including location, duration, host institution, programme and any ECTS credits or internships.
«International recognition of certification of knowledge and competences, is one of the main topics of the ‘G7 University Manifesto', recently approved and shared by the leading figures of the international university world» - stated Dr. David Vannozzi, general manager of Cineca. - «With the development of Bestr, Cineca supports this process and the decision of the University of Bicocca to become a leading player in this pathway gives us confirmation and encourages us to continue in this direction.»
This initiative will be added to the already numerous Badges issued by the Bicocca, as a corollary to the extra-curricular activities, in entrepreneurship and languages, bringing the University up to a total of 72 Badges on the Bestr platform.