MOOC Unit 2 Reflection

This unit’s challenges, create a mission and create/distribute a digital badge, were engaging as they provided different and new approaches to things I already do in my instruction. Learning more about how badges have metadata embedded in them was enlightening to me and I am starting to see how they could be incorporated into learning in meaningful ways. I admit I still wonder about their effectiveness with high school seniors and adult learners, but it will be interesting to see how they are received.

The “mission” language is hopefully more freeing and engaging to my learners as they will not have the constraints of a worksheet, promoting choice, ownership and creativity. At this point, it feels like I wouldn’t want everything to be a “mission” or it wouldn’t be part of a change in instructional approach. I also wonder about the difference in receptiveness for high school students and adult learners.


The digital badges can be motivating for learners as they can be fun, provide a visible sense of accomplishment, and they are not connected to a grade. Sometimes the grade too much of a driver and it isn’t about the concepts one is learning. I hope badges will be more freeing/less constrained, thereby encouraging the learner to explore with personal inspiration and curiosity.

MOOC – Unit 2 Challenge: Create & Give a Badge… check!


So the next part of the MOOC challenges as part of Unit 2, “Make Learning Meaningful for Students” was to create and distribute a digital badge. I actually liked creating the last badge so I was up for the challenge. And it was more of a challenge than I thought it would be.

I created a badge with Canva, and then tried to set up an account with Insignias*INTEF, which I was able to do, but I couldn’t figure out how to upload and distribute my badge (later realized I should have checked the “Support Materials” section of our MOOC…). After several attempts, I decided to investigate a new badge issuing platform. I found badgr and set up an account. I figured out that I could be a recipient of badges through badgr and organize my “collection,” but I still couldn’t easily figure out how to create and issue the badge with badgr.

I thought maybe my inability to create the badge was because of the image I was trying to work with so I decided to make a new badge using the Classic Badge Designer (I didn’t mind making a new one, it looks better than the previous badge anyway). Classic Badge Designer took a few minutes to figure out; in short, there are 6 elements one can put into a badge and they are added in layers – the trick? The bottom layer is at the bottom of the list (I started at the top and it took a while to figure out the layering). With the newly completed badge (the one you see on this post), I again attempted to upload it to badgr…with no luck.

Did I mention I really do love Google? I did a search and found this help site, and followed the easier-to-follow-than-find directions and successfully posted the badge image, added the required data, and “awarded” the badge to a colleague. Important to note, the notification went into her spam folder, so I would want to inform recipients of that possibility.


EduGoals MOOC Week 2: Creating a “Mission”

So part of our Week 2 challenge is to redesign a simple (some might say boring) assignment into a “mission” for students to accomplish, and then create a journal entry explaining it and how the mission transforms the original assignment. Here is that journal entry.

For this task, I focused on the Civil War and combined two activities into one. There are so many battles, sometimes I would have students create a slide with the facts about a Civil War battle and then do a “speed-date” of sorts for sharing content or to fill out a grid with the details of a Civil War battle; both of which always seemed a little flat. I also wanted to challenge students to complete primary source analysis more than a simple worksheet that guides them through questions about the source they are to investigate.  To this end, I created this mission, for students to: Work with a partner to create a “breaking news” broadcast video informing the general public of a key battle in the Civil War.

As is shown in the Doc, the mission incorporates choice (the battle), cooperative work (they work with a partner), historical research and public speaking. Hopefully with this as their mission, they will address not only the basics of their battle, but go further and make meaningful connections with the primary source documents as well. 

EduGoalsMOOC – Week 1

I haven’t completed a MOOC yet, so why not start now? This MOOC, EduGoals, got my attention as I just purchased Shelly Sanchez Terrell‘s book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom,  so when I saw that she included Missions in learning in her MOOC, I registered! 🙂

Our first week’s challenges involved Tweeting introductions and sharing locations on a Google Map. I have mainly used Twitter to follow conferences, people, live chats, etc, but haven’t tweeted much on my own so doing that felt a little odd, but seeing the locations of other learners on the map was fun. I look forward to being part of this international learning community.

I can see using the shared Google map and the images edited to incorporate stickers to represent interests as an introductory option in the grad school courses I teach. I will also share this strategy with my teaching team. This could also be twisted slightly and used by students; they could find an image of a historical figure and then add the stickers to represent what s/he believed in/enjoyed/found important/etc. If using Twitter to share was not possible for any reason, using Canva (what can’t we do with Canva?) or BeFunky to edit the image and then designing a collaborative Google Slides deck would also be an easy way for people to add their images and a sentence about themselves.