First Integration of Open Badges on Open edX – Supported by edX's CEO


On Wednesday, November 18, IBL Studios Education, George Washington University, Indiana University and presented the Open Badges XBlock at the 2014 Open edX conference at Harvard University.

These badges –also called micro-credentials– are digital tokens that recognize and verify achievements at any point in time. As our partner,, explains, these digital credentials “recognize proof of a discrete skill or a more significant achievement like a diploma”.  “Enabling professors to issue Open Badges solves one of the challenges facing MOOCs in that students in large online course are accessing the educational content in different ways. The majority doesn’t complete a course and receive a completion certificate, but many pick up relevant skills and experiences along the way. Issuing Open Badges allows professors to see ongoing levels of engagement and provide independent learners proof and evidence of their accomplishments”.

The integration of these badges is powered by the Achievery API and an XBlock and Python client developed by IBL Studios Education and George Washington University, with support from Indiana University Professors Daniel Hickey and James Willis and the MacArthur Foundation. These first Open Badges will be awarded to students on Professor Lorena Barba’s MOOC, “Practical Numerical Methods with Python”. The badges will be issued upon successful completion of graded modules and may contain student links providing evidence of their learning such as through their Github repositories.

Below is a document, prepared by Lorena Barba and Michael Amigot, that explains how the Open Badges XBlock works.

This XBlock will be open sourced by the end of January 2015, once more badge providers are included.

The software was unveiled during a real-time demo session at the Open edX Conference.


As a result of this success, edX decided to create the Open badges satellite group in order continue the development of this software.

The CEO of edX, Anant Agarwal, enthusiastically supported this group and promised full support. In fact, he revealed that he started to use badges in his online courses calling these credentials “micro-karmas”. (Below in the picture, Lorena Barba, James Willis, Anant Agarwal, Michael Amigot and Daniel Hickey).


Video presentation in Harvard: