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Community engagement

How to encourage community engagement within Mozilla's open badges initiative?


Currently, Mozilla has a number of growing communities in relatively new areas. Traditionally, the Mozilla communities have grown around open source projects and those who utilized the software built by these projects. With the introduction of hackasaurus, webmaker, popcornmaker, open badges, kitchen table events, etc. Mozilla has added communities focused on learning webmaking and the use of digital badges. The addition of communities focused on learning, and the support of learning, the audience has changed from the technical to the pedagogical. This is not to say Mozilla as a whole has moved away from the technical, it's just saying that a new group has joined in. And this group is more focused on learning (or pedagogy) than focusing on the technical.

It should be noted that many of the activities described below are already occuring and the open badges group are already doing a good job of growing thier community.

Current community engagement tools

  • github - source code, wiki with documentation, excellent for the technically oriented (maybe not the best place for the non-technical)
  • google groups - great for discussion, has strong history as newsgroup platform, easily accessible for the non-technical
  • etherpad - great collaborative space, especially for document creation, does very well during open calls
  • google docs - documents are beginning to form in google docs that are community built to explain how to use, implement, issue, etc... open badges
  • conferences - a number of events and conferences (DML 2012, other) have been discussing badges
  • other (tbd) - there must be other community tools being used within this realm


  • support the learners/displayers
  • support the issuers
  • support the teachers
  • support the technologists
  • encourage communities for all the above
  • provide stewardship for their collaboration in a meta-community (or hub)
  • be dead-easy to use
  • be flat and allow quick access to area of need and support
  • provide reference materials (and samples) to ease understanding of the badges ecosystem
  • other (there are more, these should provide the gist to describe this "project")

Hub and Spoke (or homebase and outposts)

A mozillian (or small group of mozillians) need to take ownership of an open badges hub. The build out of the hub should focus on the above users and colesce a launching pad for all the communities that have and will form around the use of open badges. The main theme being that Mozilla should grow a kick-ass awesome hub to promote and support the use of badges, they should also provide exemplary outreach services to all the spokes (or outposts) that may form, regardless of where they form.

Outstanding Stewardship

Most important is to provide outstanding stewardship of all the communites that form in and around open badges. This isn't just the communtity hub that draws people in, but also pushes them out to their areas of interest and need. One of the most interesting aspects of this community is the four different groups that require enagement. We need to support and assist all four of these groups, and each group is different. These include;

  1. the learner/displayer - those who want badges, and are willing to put in the time to build skills and knowledge and engage in assessment
  2. the issuers - institutions, independent / professional organizations and people (or supermentors) who want to issue badges
  3. the teachers - those who want to issue badges to learners who show mastery of skills and knowledge
  4. the technologists - who want to utilize, build and extend the badges technology and related infrastructure


How this wiki page comes full circle; and where I believe my individual efforts could be best applied.

How would an individual, group, institution or Mozilla encourage community engagement within Mozilla's open badges initiative?

Badge Implementer(s)

They should become badge implementers, they should implement every corner of the OBI and be transparent and blog about it. Describe the issues they run across within their environment, institution, etc... They should add to the collective consciousness of open badges.

Individual Effort

I will start coding in PhP, HTML5, CSS & node.js against every corner of the OBI. Play the role of a newcomer to open badges and blog about everything. Explain how I learned things, what worked - what didn't, have fun... Contribute to any open documents that will begin to form around open badges. Become an open badges expert and evangelist. Heavily commit to the learner/displayer role.

Exemplary Steward(s)

There are so many ways to utilize badges; from the traditional of kids learning new things (and being recognized for this learning), through adult-learning and professional development, to recognizing specialized skills and beyond. Stewardship is about encouragement, support and bringing things together. Great stewardship is social artistry at its best. All the activities in and around open badges needs to work toward a common success while not burdening any one person, group or institution with to many rituals.

Individual Effort

Do all that I can to grow and engage the community in and around open badges. I will reach-out to individuals, groups and institutions who are implementing and enjoying the OBI. I will shoulder the burden of contributing to the community beyond what these groups are willing to contribute. I will watch what they are doing and support their efforts and promote all their great works. I will assist in their being successful.

Gather and write about all the internal Mozilla information regrading badges I can find. Leave no stone unturned, how Mozilla got to where they are technically and otherwise is important to the open badges community.

Case Studies

Having a lot of case studies out in the open will assist greatly in helping people understand how to implement badges. The theme of these case studies will include (and not be limited too);

  • technical implementations
  • coding how-to's
  • assessment approaches
  • badge design
  • integration with existing approaches
  • other

Individual Effort

I will follow-up on opportunities to write case studies. Each should be a deep-dive into what they have done, how they got there, challenges they have faced, how their learners have responded / enjoyed their badges, assessment approaches, technology architecture that was unique, etc... All these writings will fit into the preferred methods of publishing and communicating with the open badges community.

Assessment Guidelines

Having the community share approaches to building assessment techniques and how they integrate with (or differ from) existing assessment will be important. There is no shortage of exceptional educational resources and open approaches to accreditation (including badges) are emerging. Narrowing the gap between the resources and the credential will be done with assessment. Creating a community around assessment techniques will be important to the success of open badges.

Individual Effort

Encourage discussion and gather all references and case studies I can regarding successful assessment techniques used in issuing badges. Continue to explore my ideas around mass-collaboration and assessment and the role of the super-mentor within personal learning. Seek out innovative was to create and execute assessment.

Mozilla Hub

Mozilla requires a single hub (or homebase) as an online presence to steward the efforts and community surrounding open badges. The stewardship of this hub should be community based with the strong support from a few key individuals within Mozilla. Outposts (or spokes) should be allowed to form wherever the community desires, and these should be well supported by the Mozilla Hub. The strength of this is in allowing groups to form wherever, with their choice of community and collaborative tools.

Individual Effort

Be an active member of this community and a key member of the Mozilla team supporting and building this open badges community. Strive for this community to be exemplary.