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john_morris
Community Participant

What are Badges and Missions and when would I use them?

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I am using Discussions in Canvas and have setup weekly tasks for my students to participate. I'm scoring the Discussions as a "pass/fail" and providing short feedback to encourage them and let them know I'm watching. I saw a group of "badge" apps in the Settings and am trying to understand what they are and whether they would be useful to reward Discussion participation that is exemplary. While investigating the term "badge", I also ran across the term "Mission". They look like they might work, however, I cannot find a beginner's explanation for what these are and when / how to use them. Can someone provide an overview of these concepts? (!openbadge !badges !badgestack)

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kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

If you're looking for an easy way to get started with Badges in Canvas the (free) Badges for Learning course by  @jward ​ is pretty awesome! It doesn't take long to work through and really breaks the steps down nicely.

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kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

If you're looking for an easy way to get started with Badges in Canvas the (free) Badges for Learning course by  @jward ​ is pretty awesome! It doesn't take long to work through and really breaks the steps down nicely.

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Thanks for sharing this  @kona ​! I love badges for gamifying the learning process. Also love that Canvas gives me the flexibility to incorporate badges how I want to use them in my classes.

john_morris
Community Participant

Thanks  @kona ​ for directing me to  @jward ​'s course -- it was from following your direction that I found an answer. I'll save future users the time and report what I learned here. Jared's course is useful for getting one up to speed for USING badges, but my question was WHAT ARE THEY and when would I use them? I found an excellent (and much shorter) answer within Jared's course written by Matthew Farber who wrote this article on Badges and the Common Core in 2013. In short, this article identifies badges as a means to "recognize competencies, skills, training, collaborative abilities, character, personal contribution, participatory energy, leadership and motivational skills, and other so-called 'hard' and 'soft' individual and cooperative talents" (attributed to Cathy Davidson). It describes badges as a way to "gamify" (another new term for me) learning and employ intrinsic motivators as a means to learning. Jared's course is useful for getting started to use badges in Canvas and directed me to Farber's article which is chock-a-block full of links and references and provides an easy means to launching inquiry into the topic without enrolling in a course.

Glad you found what you needed there John. The focus of that course is on how to get badges set up. And, since I am coming from the classroom/edtech/ID world, I wanted to make sure I covered the 'why' of badges and gamification for learning. It's important to do this right so we build upon and support rather than detract from the learning outcomes we have for our students. 

 @john_morris ​ there was a great Canvas Network (MOOC) course called "Badge 101: The Discovery of Badging" that sounds like what you are looking for. Unfortunately I don't see where it's being taught again any time soon. sadpanda​

john_morris
Community Participant

 @kona ​, thanks for the link out to the Canvas MOOC page, I signed up for one of these earlier, but wasn't sure where I had found that page. I can see there is a whole universe of learning available within the Canvas Community. (My institution just purchased Canvas and I am an "early adopter", just poking around trying to find useful things to use in my online courses.) Also, thanks  @jward ​, for setting up the course. I completed it, signed up for a Mozilla Backpack account and am now waiting to see how else we can use badges. I have a meeting set next week with one of our Ecampus folks to learn more. This is a major undertaking and I can see I have a lot to learn!

Welcome to Canvas  @john_morris ! I hope you are enjoying Canvas and the new community!

Hey  @kona ​​ and  @john_morris ​,  Keep an eye out for another round of the awesome course  @jward ​ created, this time tied to CanvasLIVE​ and Canvas Community badging.  Smiley Happy 

 @biray ​

john_morris
Community Participant

Thanks  @kona ​ I wish I could say I'm enjoying it, but the truth is that I am overwhelmed. I feel like when I tried to use Windows 3.1 after growing up on DOS -- for example, using a mouse was more convenient than using just a keyboard with cursor keys, but until I could distinguish between a window and a field or folders from files, I was not very productive. I'm fortunate I'm not getting introduced to all of this at a time when I have deadlines and others depending heavily on me. Finding what seems like a "quick answer" takes hours and days rather than minutes and requires lots of hunting with frequent dead ends. I sure wish there was a good old-fashioned sitemap Canvas and the community boards.