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Technical FAQ

What is this?

This is a list of frequently asked questions about the technical requirements for the Chicago Summer of Learning badging program.

Who is this for?

This is for organizations that are planning on issuing badges along with their program this summer. It is written with a non-technical user in mind, but can act as a solid jumping off point for a more technical user. Additional deeper technical documents are referenced in the “where do I go from here?” question.

Who is Mozilla?

Mozilla is a non-profit company that cares about protecting the open Web and helping people benefit from it. You might know us from our open source browser, Firefox. Mozilla is leading the Open Badges project, which is exploring an alternative credentialing system through digital badges. We’ve built the standard and technical plumbing to allow badges to work together for the learner. For the Chicago Summer of Learning, Mozilla is playing the following roles:

  • Advising on overall campaign design.
  • Supporting the organizations on badge design and implementation.
  • Building and hosting the badge-issuing platform.
  • Celebrating with the rest of Chicago this summer!

Help me with definitions...

There’s a handful of words that will come up often in the technical implementation of an open badge system,

  1. Issuer - the issuer is the organization that awards a badge. Each participating organization in the summer of learning will be considered an open badge issuer.
  2. Learner - the person that earns the open badge.
  3. Open Badge - a 90x90 PNG graphic, and set of metadata that aligns with the Open Badge specification. The technical requirements of the badge will be taken care of by Mozilla, unless an open badge issuer wants to build their own issuing platform.
  4. Open Badge Issuing Platform - software that allows an issuer to issue an open badge to a learner. Mozilla’s open badge issuing platform is called OpenBadger. All participating organizations in the Summer of Learning will have access to OpenBadger.
  5. Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) - The OBI is the ‘plumbing’ that allows badges to be interoperable, and us to build an alternative credentialing system at an ecosystem level. It includes the badge metadata specification, APIs for pushing badges in and pulling badges out and a set of badge repositories called the Badge Backpacks. It is an open source project, hosted at
  6. Badge Backpack - A repository and management interface for each learner to use to collect open badges from multiple issuers, create and publish groups of badges, and share badges. The Mozilla hosted Badge Backpacks are at
  7. Displayer - A website that allows their users to display badges they’ve earned and collected in their backpack.
  8. Criteria Page - A web page that describes what a learner needs to do to earn a particular badge. For more information, see the question below, “How do I create a Criteria Page?”

Will my organization have to host anything?

No, Mozilla will coordinate hosting open badge issuing platforms. However, if you’re capable of hosting an open badge issuing platform, and want the flexibility that provides, there’s no reason not to. Talk to us:

How will badges be delivered or issued?

Using the OpenBadger issuing platform, badges can be be delivered in one of three ways,

  1. Through your website. We can support online-issued badges through a web API that can integrate with your existing website. The API has existing javascript libraries that make it easy to integrate. (Don’t worry, we’ll help you with this)
  2. Through your own email system using a claim code. The learner will receive an email from you with a web location to visit and a claim code to enter on the site to claim a badge.
  3. A printed paper with a web location to visit and a claim code to enter to claim a badge.

What data can be collected?

Each badge has a defined set of metadata with it that communicates who issued it, when it was issued, what the earner had to do to get the badge, and optional evidence. The Open Badge Infrastructure stores this information with the badge, as well as a minimum amount of personally identifiable information (a verified email address) to verify their identity. There are opportunities to collect additional data from learners through deeper integration with the OpenBadger API, but will have to be worked out on a case by case basis.

What’s the badge metadata specification?

The Open Badge specification is simply a set of required and optional information that is included with every badge issued. It includes issuer, issue date, criteria URL, evidence URL, expiration, and other information. It is an open standard for badges that ensures that all badges, regardless of type or issuer, are interoperable.

What information do I need to include with my badge?

You don’t need to worry about this yet, we’ll help you, but eventually you are going to define the criteria information for the badge (i.e. what someone has to do to earn the badge), as well as decide if there is an expiration date on the badge and if you’d like the badge to link to particular artifacts for evidence or not. Again, we’ll help you.

How do I create a criteria page?

OpenBadger, the issuing tool we’ll be using for the Chicago badges, will generate and host the criteria page for you based on the criteria information you will provide us over the next couple of months. If your organization has a website and you’d like to host your own criteria pages, talk to us:

What does the Issuer API do?

Let’s you connect your website to the Open Badge Infrastructure so that your users can push their badges to their Badge Backpacks. If your organization has a website, we’ll help you work with the API. If you don’t have a website and just plan to use offline or email issuing, you won’t need to use the Issuer API.

How do earners display their badges?

Earners can view their badges in their Badge Backpack and share out individual or groups of badges from there. There will also be a Summer of Learning website, where earners can see and share their badges and find additional badges to earn.

Where will I go for technical support?

Mozilla is helping to drive the technical components of this campaign. We will help you get your badges created and up and running over the coming months. You can always reach us at or on the #badges channel of

Where do I go from here?

General Information & Community Involvement

Technical Resources