Getting Started with Canvas Credentials - Some Thoughts and a bit on Badge Design

Community Coach
Community Coach

So we are beginning our journey into the world of micro-credentials and learning pathways with Canvas credentials. Something I have been waiting pretty much all my digital learning professional life to do.

With the amazing support of Connie and Melissa at the APAC office, we have completed our basics training and now know much more about the system and setup. Having been a long-time fan of the amazing work that Nate Otto did at Badgr, I am so pleased to see that Canvas has taken all the best bits of the work on Learning Paths and fully integrated it into the LMS ecosystem. Linking badges microcredentials (must get it right) to Modules is core to our implementation ensuring that much of the heft is removed from the teachers' shoulders by automating the issuance of the reward. That said, there is still the flexibility to award badges visa QR codes (wonderful for the end of presentation work or extra credit for attending co-curricular clubs etc).

Having the opportunity to have stackable/nested learning paths is a MASSIVE STEP FORWARD for credentialing. It moves 'badges' away from the "we only use badging in subject XYZ" to a whole school environment where 'badges' in one subject form part of a much larger credentialling pathway. Not just raising the profile of 'credentials' but also seeing their value.

We are excited by the developments of Canvas rubrics too. We wish to award multiple milestone 'badges'. Having created rubric/outcomes for various skills frameworks, we want a system to assess each separately but within one assignment. We are buoyed by the news of multiple rubrics and this cannot come quick enough! Hoping this is also, long term, help with your moves into Mastery models of credentials.

A key issue that arose from our most recent implementation meeting was how important it is to get the structure and management of courses right. I have spent a bit of time sorting out courses into sub-accounts. We teach a series of 1 and 2 year courses which makes this challenging. I have designed sub-accounts based on academic years (hey - its what I did at my last school!). Whilst this is an OK way to manage, it makes for some challenges for creating different credential issuers. We had planned for the organisation (our school) to be the sole issuer but I can see going forward that we may want to have multiple issuers which are likely to be different faculties. Thankfully we are only 2 yrs down the Canvas line so the change to the structure won't be too painful and to quote Mr Spock, "the needs of the many outweigh those of the few, or the one".

Developments in AI and also future LTIs are falling nicely into place. I'm a huge fan of H5P and very pleased to see this as a main element in NOLEJ developments linked to Canvas. If you have not tried this then please do! Micro-course material which you can SCORM and then add to Module requirements could prove a game winner. Bringing in other LTIs as assessment features will develop student engagement and bring a range of opportunities eg Canva LTI.  What other LTIs are people using that link to Assignments? 

Our only current sticking point is with a portfolio. As a K12 school, we need to manage our students' digital footprint, protect their personal data and guide them to making the right decisions. Canvas' Folio has some great features but is not suitable for all year groups. Disappointingly, eportfolios have not had an impact on K12 with their use firmly in 'higher' education. Perhaps this may be changing with an increasing focus on transferrable skills. I would love to hear from any K12 school with a portfolio solution.

Anyway, back to the main reason for posting - badge creation.

I like many of the automated badge features around but ultimately we want to create our own customised versions. I spent a long time searching for badge designs and being equally amazed (at the originality of some designs) and depressed (at the realisation that I could never design similar). That is where Canva has come to my rescue. I do not think that there is a better and more simpler graphics design tool around (Pixlr comes a close second)! The fact that Canva gives all teachers premium features for free is the work of marketing genius and very, very welcome indeed!

Searching Canva for badges produces a series of templates that you can adapt and customize. Features like circular text are a doddle. Layering is straightforward and downloading simple. There is still a little bit of work to be done but that is on the UI (as opposed to learning the UI!).

We've made a start on the badges. Am sure they will develop as we spend the next 6 months developing and trialling our system before implementation. Here are some of my current efforts:

Some badges made on CanvaSome badges made on Canva


Do get in touch if you are starting your badging journey or are already on the 'road'. Would love to hear about all the trials and successes you have had.

Community Participant

Hi Gideon,

I was shaking my head yes as I read this post! I am excited to learn from your journey.

My current district is just starting implementation of Canvas. I came from an advanced Canvas district prior to this one, so I wanted to "ramp educators up to micro-credentials." This semester I am distributing sticker badges (yes, these are truly just badges) for those who have completed Canvas LMS Onboarding. This district is only 1:1 this calendar year and while there is opportunity to set the LMS up with much foreknowledge, it is a little frustrating to remember I am just building the base, the appetite, for a complementary online/blended classroom to their in-person teaching. I use this template in Canva and printed with StickerMule; I have asked for a budget line for this next year as this year I had to out-of-pocket the expense.

August Ready to Lead (Sub Acct Admin).png2023-2024 Canvas LMS User (1).png
Best of luck!

Community Coach
Community Coach

I like those badges a lot and most definitely agree with 'badging' up staff CPD. 

Although we did not use badges in my last Canvas school I had a badge maker and actually making badges and handing them out was a huge hit with staff.

I must investigate StickerMule.

Would be greate to share some ideas at some stage with you. Always happy to chat 'badging'.