Getting Started

Frequently asked questions from learners

 


What are Open Badges?

Open Badges are a straightforward way to collect, manage and share evidence of learning in today’s digital world. You can collect them to evidence your learning and share them in places that matter to you, including offline as printable certificates. When you show your badge to someone, they will be able to see criteria against the badge and any evidence you provided to prove you met the criteria.

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Who else issues Open Badges?

Open Badges are issued by thousands of organisations across the world. The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) wants to see them widely adopted in Scotland.

Visit OpenBadges.org to find out more about who issues them.

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Why should I collect Open Badges?

You might collect badges for many reasons. A few are listed below.

  • You can collect evidence of your continuous learning as you go.
  • Recognition for otherwise unrecognised informal learning.
  • Badges which include reflective accounts from you can demonstrate your understanding of a subject. They’re not just a certificate of completion.
  • You can share online, group them together in a portfolio and download printable certificates.
  • Badges can provide evidence for and back up what you say on your CV, application form or at a job interview.
  • If you are registered with the SSSC, badges that include well written reflective accounts can contribute towards your post registration training and learning (PRTL).
  • You own your badges and they won’t disappear if you change jobs.

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Can I talk to someone to find out more about Open Badges?

Information about Open Badges is available on the Getting started pages.

If, after reading this, you’d like to speak to someone please join us on one of our regular webinars where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. Find out how to take part in the next webinar by visiting the Webinars and events page.

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Do I have to be registered with the SSSC to earn Open Badges?

You don’t need to be registered with us to earn badges. Most of our badges are available to anyone. We have a small number of badges about registration that do require you to be registered and this is stated in the requirements.

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Can I get an Open Badge for my qualification?

Qualifications are already recognised by certificates and involve a wider programme of learning than would typically be recognised by an Open Badge.

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Can I email you to apply for an Open Badge?

No. We can only accept applications submitted through the SSSC Open Badges website.

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What do I need to do to get an Open Badge?

To gain an Open Badge you need to:

  • check you meet the criteria before applying for the badge
  • read each item in the criteria carefully
  • carry out all tasks
  • provide evidence – make sure you understand what evidence to provide to show you meet the criteria for the badge. This includes information on how much to write and any additional material you might need to provide.

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Will you tell my employer about my Open Badge?

Nobody will know that you have been awarded a badge until you share it with them. Login to your account and open the Your badges page to see a list of your badges. You can download printable certificates or share your unique badge award page by including the link in an email or clicking on the buttons to share it to your social media accounts.

You can also download your badge. This will look just like any other picture on your computer, but you can upload it to a website like backpack.openbadges.org or openbadgepassport.com and they will read the unique data stored in the badge and display it for you. Some types of ePortfolio, like Mahara and PebblePad, allow you to import your Open Badges automatically. Check with your ePortfolio provider for information on how to do this.

If you have more than one badge, then consider creating a portfolio of your badges and sharing the link with your manager or tutor.

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Why was my application for an Open Badge declined?

Your application will be declined if you:

  • write your evidence in second or third person
  • don’t complete the tasks or questions set in the criteria
  • don’t provide enough evidence.

You should read What to do if your Open Badge application is declined for information about why applications aren’t successful and work through the steps on that page before resubmitting your application.

To improve your chances of being successful, it’s also recommended that you achieve the Writing evidence for Open Badges badge before applying for other badges.

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Can I get feedback on my Open Badge application?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to provide feedback for badge applications as this would make the delivery of Open Badges unsustainable. Read What to do if your Open Badge application is declined for information about why applications aren’t successful and work through the steps on that page before resubmitting your application.

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Do I need to use an Open Badge backpack?

No. You can share your badges and create a portfolio from the Your account page. You can use a backpack service if you want to, just download your badge from the Your badges page and upload it to a backpack service like backpack.openbadges.org or openbadgepassport.com.

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How long will it take for my Open Badge application to be assessed?

It can take 28 days for your application to be assessed. If you haven’t heard anything after this time, you can contact the organisation who issues the badge for information.

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Are Open Badges compulsory?

No, it is not compulsory for you to collect badges. However, badges can be an effective way to collect evidence of your continuous professional learning and contribute towards post registration training and learning (PRTL) requirements.

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Can I use my Open Badges for PRTL?

Yes. You can use badges issued by the SSSC as evidence towards your post registration training and learning (PRTL). Badges issued by the SSSC or other organisations just for attending an event may require further explanation of how the learning has informed your practice before they can be accepted.

Keep in mind that PRTL takes account of your overall learning over a course of years and you will require a mix of learning alongside your badges to meet the requirements.

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How many hours of PRTL can I claim for a badge?

This depends on how many hours you spent working on the activities in the badge criteria and won’t necessarily be the same for everyone. One person might do the absolute minimum required to get the badge and another may exceed this by putting more effort, research and practice into their learning.

Any hours you claim in you PRTL will need to be backed up by the quality of your badge evidence. Make sure you record what you did and provide an excellent reflective account in your application if you want to make the most of your badge.

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Who will see the evidence that I provide in my badge application?

Your evidence will be seen by the organisation who issues the badge, your badge manager if you have one and anyone you show your Open Badge to after it is awarded to you.

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Can I hide my evidence from the people I show my badge to?

Yes, however we don’t recommend you do this as it lowers the value of your badge and few people who you show it to will accept it without evidence.

You can hide the evidence by going to Your account, View your badges and clicking on the Hide badge evidence link for the badge you want to hide.

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How do I download a certificate for my badge?

You can download a certificate for each of your badges by going to Your account and then View your badges. Click on the Download PDF link for the badge and make sure that your web browser does not block the popup.

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How can I show my badge to people?

Login to your account and open the View your badges page to see a list of your badges. You can download printable certificates or share your unique badge award page by including the link in an email or clicking on the buttons to share it to your social media accounts.

You can also download your badge. This will look just like any other picture on your computer, but you can upload it to a website like backpack.openbadges.org or openbadgepassport.com and they will read the unique data stored in the badge and display it for you. Some types of ePortfolio, like Mahara and PebblePad, allow you to import your Open Badges automatically. Check with your ePortfolio provider for information on how to do this.

If you have more than one badge, consider creating a portfolio of your badges and sharing the link with your manager or tutor.

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What can I attach to my application?

You can attach the following filetypes to your application:

  • Microsoft Word document (.doc and .docx)
  • OpenDocument Text document (.odt)
  • image files (.jpeg, .jpg and .png)
  • text file (.txt)
  • Zip archive (.zip)

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How do I attach more than one file to my application?

If you have more than one file to attach, you should put these into a Zip archive/folder. This will group your files into a single file that you can attach.

To do this on Windows:

  • locate the file or folder that you want to zip
  • press and hold (or right-click) the file or folder, point to Send to and then select Compressed (zipped) folder.

To do this on Mac OS:

  • locate the file or folder you want to zip in the Mac Finder (file system)
  • right-click on the file, folder or files
  • select ‘Compress Items’.

A new zipped folder with the same name will be created in the same location and you can attach this to your application.

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What is a badge manager code?

Your manager, tutor or mentor may give you something called a badge manager code. This is a short code you can add to your profile to send some of your future Open Badge applications to them for assessment instead of the organisation that issues the badge.

Go to Your account, Edit your account and paste your code into the Badge manager code box. Remember to click on the ‘Update account’ button to save your changes.

If you wish to remove your badge manager, just delete the code from the box and click ‘Update account’.

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Where do I put my badge manager code?

Go to Your account, Edit your account and paste your code into the Badge manager code box. Remember to click on the ‘Update account’ button to save your changes.

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What happens when my Open Badge expires?

The badge will be removed from your account and you will be able to apply for it again.

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Can I edit the evidence I provided for my application?

Yes. You can edit your application after it is submitted by visiting Your account, View your badges and clicking on the ‘Amend application’ link for the badge you have applied for.

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Why can’t I edit the evidence for an Open Badge that has been awarded to me?

When you are awarded a badge the organisation that issues it to you bases this decision on the evidence you provided. Because of this, we can’t allow you to change your evidence after a badge has been awarded. However, you can still delete your badge from the Your badges page and apply for it again with your new evidence.

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