MCI introduces digital badges to certify extra-curricular qualifications and key competencies
The Entrepreneurial School® is among the leading European institutions in the field of digital learning. Several years ago, we put e-learning on our agenda for the first time and started cooperating with progressive universities in America, Canada, Australia, and Asia to develop a new and up-to-date approach. After having implemented the MCI eCampus and several programs based on online study, we are now ready for the next step:
In the 2017/18 winter term, we completed a pilot project to test the idea of so-called digital badges. The first 25 students have recently been awarded a Responsible Management and International Career Skills badge. For each field of competence represented by these badges, MCI offered respective extra-curricular courses.
Digital badges are distinctions in digital form, attesting to knowledge and skills gained outside formal studies. Just like other badge pioneers – especially in the USA and Great Britain – MCI also aims to use the badge award system to encourage students to become involved in extracurricular activity and consider further training. It provides an opportunity for students to expand their professional profiles by various key competencies. Additional fields of competence allow them to stand out from their competitors in the labor market.
Students can simply upload digital badges to their LinkedIn profile and, thus, share their qualifications with potential employers and interested project partners. With this, the digital badge system gives students the opportunity to document unique skills and exceptional work experience in a transparent and open way.
Feedback from students in the pilot project was positive throughout. The participants particularly appreciated the practical orientation, interdisciplinary relevance and digital format of the badges, as well as the possibility they provide for interaction on topics beyond the focus of their studies. Miriam Zeitlhofer, chair of the MCI Student Council and participant in the Responsible Management badge program, recommends working towards a badge to all students: “The program allowed me not only to acquire advanced knowledge of the field, but also to prepare and discuss relevant theories and examples. The badge system is a perfect opportunity to expand your horizons and gain new perspectives. It is, in fact, a means of taking responsibility for your own education.”
The initiators and heads of the badge program at MCI, Regina Obexer and Brigitte Huter, are delighted by the great interest and enthusiastic response of their students: “As an e-learning expert, I am convinced that the badge system will soon be accepted as a modern approach to complementing the traditional learning experience,” Regina Obexer explains the idea: “With its innovative approach, the Entrepreneurial School® again takes on a pioneering role.” Brigitte Huter, who also acts as head of the MCI Student & Career Center, emphasizes the benefits of badges for students on the labor market: “Students may select badges according to their preferences, personal interests, and individual career plans. The additional competencies gained and certified will give them a competitive advantage in their career.”
After the successful launch of our pilot badge program, we are going to introduce two additional badges in Digital Marketing and Self Marketing in the 2018 summer term. The badge program will most likely be implemented as a regular MCI Career Center service starting in fall 2018. Further badges are to be created with a focus on digital communication, study skills and data management.