Badges, or Micro-credentials, are digital representations of educational achievements that are currently valued by specific industries or employers. They should reflect the completion of a coherent set of defined requirements, either curricular or co-curricular, that convey the learning or mastery of specific skills or competencies. They do not appear on a student’s official transcript, but instead serve two primary purposes:

  1. as a signal to prospective employers that the student has achieved the skills represented by the badge, and
  2. to help students explicitly see the skills conveyed through the completion of the requirements.

As non-transcriptable credentials, they do not require approval by the state, nor the level of internal approval required for majors, minors, certificates, citations, or other transcript notations. But if they are to be meaningful to the outside world and carry the UMD brand, there should be some level of oversight by the unit proposing the credential and the University.

These “bite-sized” credentials should be lighter in weight and requirements than a major or minor yet should have a clear and specific focus. Ideally, they should represent skills that are not explicitly apparent in a student’s transcripted credentials. The added value of a badge that is merely a subset of an official degree program is minimal. Instead, they should make explicit, both to employers and students, skills that complement the student’s academic program and differentiate the student.

Each badge will have a contact person who will be able to enroll students. Badges will be earned and issued using Portfolium, the electronic portfolio tool that is freely available to all students, faculty and staff at the University of Maryland. Students will be enrolled in a Pathway in Portfolium where you can see the requirements for earning the badge and track your progress. Once all of the requirements have been met, students will be issued the badge to display on resumes and professional social networks such as LinkedIn.

Approval and Oversight of Badge/Micro-credential Creation

Undergraduate badges are reviewed and approved by the Dean for Undergraduate Studies. The Office of Undergraduate Studies will be responsible for periodic review of approved badges.

Practice and Procedures

for Approving Undergraduate, UMD-Branded Badges and Micro-credentials

Criteria for Badges/Micro-credentials

Badges should consist of a substantial and coherent set of requirements, and represent a specific, focused set of skills or competencies. The requirements can consist of curricular elements, such as completion of specific courses or assignments in courses, and/or co-curricular activities as appropriate. A program requesting a badge must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The requirements create a coherent program of coursework and/or co-curricular activities. There is no minimum requirement on the number of credits nor the level of the courses. If completion of a course is used as a requirement it must be completed with a grade of at least C- (1.7 GPA).

  • Students must complete and submit a reflection on their experiences and learning related to the badge. This gives students the opportunity to achieve clarity and better understanding of what they have learned. deally, one or more artifacts should accompany the reflection that demonstrate tangible manifestations of the learning outcome: a report, a presentation, an event, a prototype, or other employer-facing evidence of knowledge and skills.

  • The badge must have learning outcomes and an assessment plan that expresses the program’s coherence, with appropriate data collection and analysis to assess the success of the program.

Procedures for Application

Applications for the creation of a badge are made to the Dean for Undergraduate Studies. The application originates in the sponsoring unit and is signed by the unit’s head and the unit’s dean.

The application should address the following:

  • What is the proposed name of the badge/micro-credential?
  • Describe the specific knowledge and skills the badge is meant to convey.
  • Enumerate and describe all requirements.
  • List the learning outcomes or knowledge/skills/abilities and the assessment process, including a map connecting the requirements to the learning outcomes.
  • What constitutes satisfactory completion of the program requirements?
  • What monitoring or final approval process is in place in the academic unit to ensure that the standards are met?
  • Who (what position) is responsible for maintaining these standards?
  • Who (what position) is responsible for awarding the badge?

Awarding Undergraduate Badges/Micro-credentials

Approved and completed badges will be implemented and awarded using the institutional badging platform approved, provided, and supported by the Division of IT.

A badge consists of an image and metadata. To create a new badge, the following metadata must be provided:

  • Badge Name: Name of badge
  • Badge Description: Public facing badge description
  • Badge Competencies: Skills learner demonstrated

For badges created within the University of Maryland, the badge graphic must be created by the Office of Strategic Communications in consultation with the program. Once the framework for the badge has been approved, the Office of Strategic Communications will be contacted to begin the creation of the graphic.

Badges for Factulty/ Staff

If you are interested in creating a badge for faculty and/or staff please contact us at badging@umd.edu.