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Community Badges in MOOCs: A Recipe


With Dartmouth's third MOOC, OperaX: An Introduction to Italian Opera, we decided to write some "recipes" for some of the innovations we have developed over the DartmouthX courses. This post is intended to be a "MOOC Badge Toolkit" for MOOC teams looking to build social learning within a course.

Who it serves

In OperaX and many of the other DartmouthX courses, we think of social learning and  learner pathways as key tools for engagement to both engage with existing audiences in our course subject areas as well as student continuing their learning beyond the course community. Open badges in OperaX allow students to submit evidence and be recognized for engaging with social spaces inside and beyond the course:


  • Opera Patron - Receive this badge by earning both of the following stackable badges. Once you earn this badge, you can claim on Credly and share to social media.
    • Discussion Participant - Contribute to a discussion forum and answer the “did you do this” question in the course. In the text box below, paste in the text of your post.
    • Hangout Participant - Ask a question for a Live Office Hour. Either ask a question in advance or attend a Live Office Hour and ask a question with the Q&A tool. In the text box below, paste in your question and include where (discussion or Q&A) you asked the question.
  • Community Organizer - Receive this badge by first earning two of the three badges listed below:
    • Meetup Lead - Plan and organize an opera meetup for a community opera viewing in your own community. OR put together a google hangout where you collaboratively view an opera. Submit a short description to the event in the text box and include a link to the invite/hangout if possible.
    • Conversation Connector - Start a new conversation about a topic from our course in another space. To earn this badge, submit the link (URL) to the conversation in the text submission box.
    • Local Meets Global - Tell a local arts organization about the OperaX course. Type the name of the arts organization you connected with and include a link (URL) to their website (if possible) OR a link to your message (Twitter, etc).
  • Learning Composer -Receive this badge by first earning three of the four badges listed below:
    • Social Curator - Find a relevant Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media post and bring it into the course. You could share this in the discussion forum or recommender tool or re-broadcast on another social media.
    • Reddit Sharer -You shared something on /r/operax.
    • Recommender - Use the recommender tool in edX to share links to opera, links to commentary, links to free tickets.
    • Learning Synthesizer - Create a vine, timeline, blog post, video, or something else that synthesizes your learning and the learning of others from the class.

Ingredients and Utensils

Combining the Ingredients

  1. Define outcomes for badges and design badge or badge constellations. How will badges support learning activities in your course?
  2. Setup a WordPress site or multi-site
  3. Install BadgeOS and selected BadgeOS plugins
  4. Install WangGuard (including setup of an account) and BP Disable Activation Reloaded
  5. Design badges using the badge builder within BadgeOS, Complete the description, criteria, and optional trigger fields.
  6. Build a Badges Portal into your course.


7. Engage students by building in prompts the course and featuring students earning badges in course communications.

earnabadge8. Evaluate and Share



preptime: 4 hours

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