Information-age credentials may be the first serious competitor to traditional degrees since college-going became the norm.
AT the end of “Fundamentals of Atomic Force Microscopy,” a short online course offered by Purdue University, students who score at least 60 percent on the final exam will receive an e-mail with a file attached. It will contain a picture of a blue-and-white circle, roughly one inch in diameter, embossed with the stylized image of an atomic force microscope bouncing a laser beam off a cantilever into a photodiode, which is how scientists take photographs and measure the size of very small (nanoscale) things.
The picture is a digital badge, a new type of credential being developed by some of the most prominent businesses and learning organizations in the world, including Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California, the Smithsonian, Intel and Disney-Pixar. The badge movement is being spearheaded by the Mozilla Foundation, best known for inventing the free Firefox Web browser, the choice of nearly one-quarter of all Internet users worldwide.
Via Smithstorian, Mark Smithers