Digital professional in Higher Education

 UCEM CPD open badge project

The Digital Education team at University College of Estate Management (UCEM) led by Fiona Harvey has recently created and launched a Digital Professional in Higher Education set of digital literacies badges. This is a project aimed at Online Education Technologists (OETs) but open to the wider Online Education department.  Once the first run is completed and reviewed, we aim to collect feedback and improve its delivery, then open to other departments at UCEM.

The project is a collaborative work and our Graphic Designer Asma Hussain has created the beautiful badge designs, Fiona and myself have created the criteria and objectives for this badge project. We have created eight Digital Literacies badges and one Milestone badge which is awarded once the other eight badges are completed. All evidence of the badges is being collected and stored on the e-portfolio Pathbrite where all the tasks are explained and aligned with rubrics. The digital literacies badges have been aligned with UCEM core values and the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and once the eight badges are completed, participants will have enough evidence to apply for AFHEA. To earn each badge, participants have to complete all the tasks on the e-portfolio Pathbrite, write a reflective blog post and comment on the work of other participants. At UCEM we are using Open Badge Factory (OBF) to create and issue the badges.

The eight Digital Literacies badges are listed below:

Online Identity

This badge is about managing the online identity and presence both socially and professionally. To earn the online identity badge, participants will have provided evidence to demonstrate that their presence is up-to-date and online profiles are complete. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on their online identity and to comment and support colleagues to identify how they are perceived online.

Information Literacy

Information literacy is the mother of Digital Literacy. Transferring the practice of information literacy skills to an online environment is more important than ever and skill in this area shows that you are able to identify and practice critical thinking within your everyday responsibilities in the workplace. This includes skills for searching, copyright, privacy, online security and critical thinking. The participants of this badge will have undertaken tasks to demonstrate their awareness of issues of searching for online information and being able to critically evaluate sources. They will have also been able to identify and comment on a range of information literacy aspects such as searching, privacy, copyright and online security.

Professional Practice and Ethics

This badge relates specifically to the UKPSF requirements to recognise Higher Education issues and how they can affect professionals working in that space. Earners should be aware of the agencies that affect their practice as a university, such as the QAA Codes of practice (in particular Part B) and areas of interest highlighted by Advance HE (formerly known as the Higher Education Academy). When exploring these areas, participants will also be encouraged to think about how their practice could utilise these resources for quality enhancement.

Creating Content

Participants of this badge will have completed a range of tasks demonstrating examples of their own work and reflecting on the pedagogical principles that they applied. The purpose of these tasks is to allow the participant to demonstrate that they can evaluate how they have used technology to create online content effectively. This covers professional practice, as well as using peer-reviewed research to apply pedagogical principles.

Tools for Education

The tools for education badge, as you have guessed, assesses participants knowledge and ability in using different tools in online learning, this particularly applies to tools being used at UCEM. The focus of this badge is how the earner can enhance the student experience through the application of these tools within their own practice.


The digital citizenship badge relates to the ability to be responsible online and includes security and privacy issues and how to manage these areas effectively. This badge has five tasks for completion and it includes the planning and creation of a resource for guidance on improving online security and privacy.


This badge has three tasks for the successful completion and participants need, among other tasks, to demonstrate effective online and face-to-face communication and provide an evaluation of the difference between the two. For all badges, the final part is to write a blog post reflecting on the experience and comment on other participants’ posts.

The badges can be completed in any order and reflective blogs will be posted here, so watch this space!