Over 1000 Graduation Badges awarded by Bicocca
In July 2017, the University of Milan Bicocca decided to present its graduates not just with diplomas, but also with Open Badges, with the aim of ensuring that degrees and graduates are appropriately valued, even and especially when applying for positions in foreign markets.
The project was pioneered with the "International Economics" course, and 6 months later, open badges have been published for 14 three-year degrees and Master's degrees, which have been awarded to over 1000 graduates in total. The scheme will be gradually expanded to cover all 69 degrees offered by the university and all its graduates.
Open Graduation Badges: the real-world value of a degree
The information on the badge awarded to each graduate comes directly from the Student Administration System which also produces degree certificates. The aim of the information, in the words of Prof. Paolo Cherubini, Pro-Rector of Didactics at the University of Milan-Bicocca and promoting the initiative, is to provide
"certified information on the knowledge and skills acquired and on the degree of success with which the graduate completed their studies. Crucial, guaranteed information will be immediately available to potential employers."
Each graduation badge contains a description of the content of the degree course, both in terms of objectives and in terms of teaching activities and - above all - skills.
The criteria section provides an outline of what it means for a student to get to obtain the degree in question and what the requirements are for grades, exams, internships, workshops, and theses - including the elements that contribute to the final mark.
In short, it is a pragmatically oriented summary of the content and value of a degree; as such, it is particularly useful for international employers and recruiters, but probably also for national ones, especially in many cases where the company does not have a specialised HR department.
This information is the same for all graduates of the same degree course. The badges additionally include specific information for each student: their final mark, thesis title, weighted average of their marks, and the percentile in which the student and their performance were placed, i.e., the percentage of students from the same cohort who obtained the same or higher mark. After the content of the degree course, this information in particular is useful for employers to assess what value to attribute to the individual experience under consideration, which they can evaluate in relation to the existing statistics for similar experiences.
By clicking the image below, which will open in a new browser tab, you can see the Graduation Badge for a fictitious student, with all the details:
International Student: the value of experiences abroad
600 students and graduates have been awarded an additional badge, the Bicocca International Student badge, which allows learners to display the international experiences they have gained over the course of their career.
Above all, the badge represents soft skills related to interculturalism and proactivity, but it also reports specific experiences that the individual student has had, detailing the duration, host institution, course followed, CFU credits accrued, and the reference programme, and if the experience included an internship: all the information useful for outlining the significance and quality of the experience in the eyes of a potential recruiter.
By clicking on the image below, you can see the image of a sample International Student Badge in another tab:
Extra-curricular activities: beyond course requirements
Graduation and Internationalisation badges have been added to the many badges already issued by Bicocca for extra-curricular activities: entrepreneurship with iBicocca, competitive experiences in the legal field, orientation training and - last but not least - the bbetween project, encompassing 66 badges covering activities related to cinema, foreign languages, multimedia, music, writing, theatre, volunteering, and cultural heritage, giving students an institutional and guaranteed way to suitably promote their activities beyond formal course requirements.