IMS Global Learning Consortium, the Mozilla Foundation, and Collective Shift have announced an agreement for IMS Global to become the organization responsible for the advancement of the Open Badges specification and community beginning January 1, 2017. This transition is being led by the leading providers and consumers of Open Badges to enable a sustainable future for the technical work and community advocacy. View the press release.
Frequently Asked Questions
Open Badges is a technical specification and set of associated open source software designed to enable the creation and issuing of verifiable credentials across a broad spectrum of learning experiences. The Open Badges specification and community was created by the Mozilla Foundation with funding from the MacArthur Foundation. Recently, the Open Badges specification and Badge Alliance community have been sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation and Collective Shift/LRNG (seeded by the MacArthur Foundation).
In order to ensure sustainability and distributed governance over the Open Badges specification, IMS Global Learning Consortium, the world’s leading open standards consortium for education technology, in partnership with Mozilla Foundation and Collective Shift/LRNG, has agreed to become the organization responsible for managing the effort to advance the development, transferability and market adoption of the Open Badges specification and community effective January 1, 2017. The Badge Alliance will be retired and its existing leadership and steering committee (IMS Global, Mozilla, and Collective Shift/LRNG) will continue as key contributors and members within the new IMS framework.
There is much enthusiasm and progress in the adoption of Open Badges around the world. The time is right to accelerate an interoperable ecosystem of Open Badges products and services and put the Specifications future development on a clear path to sustainability, by fostering active support of industry-leading organizations, both product developers and consumers.
IMS Global’s 380+ member organizations will provide the market leadership and financial support to ensure that Open Badges products can work together to address key micro-credentialing needs for badge earners and badge consumers. The financial strength of IMS will provide sustainable resources to manage the technical and community activities.
IMS is one of three members of the Badge Alliance Steering Committee, along with Mozilla Foundation and Collective Shift. In the course of working together over the last two years, it became clear that IMS’s work on digital micro-credentials in education, including competency-based education and e-transcripts, makes it well suited to drive the evolution of Open Badges and provide the community a proven way to collaboratively fund and evolve the specification. IMS develops and manages many interoperability standards that, like Open Badges, are tied to learning. IMS has many members who are already involved in micro-credential development who can directly contribute to the success of Open Badges.
Open Badges and its open-source development will be available to the community as a continuously improving specification for the foreseeable future. In addition, IMS will form a Community Council to enable all existing community members to actively contribute to the work and participate in ongoing community events.
What will happen to the Open Badges Insignia that I have downloaded and display on my issuing site?
The insignia remains a good way to describe your support for Open Badges and signal your adherence to the technical specification. In the near future, IMS will be implementing conformance certification for the Open Badges specification for organizations that desire it. These Certified Open Badges Issuers would be listed in the IMS Conformance Certification directory at www.imscert.org.
Yes. IMS publishes all of its specifications for free once they have completed a rigorous validation process to ensure interoperability is achieved. IMS also plans to continue the open development practices for the specifications and code that have been established by Mozilla Foundation for the Open Badges work.
The ongoing development and governance of the Mozilla Backpack will be led by Digitalme, to maintain an open source, interoperable option for individuals to securely store and share their badges between platforms. They are currently updating the service and managing the transition of users and their data.
IMS will form an Open Badges Community Council open to all participants. Input to the working group process will be sought through a dedicated forum and in regular meetings with the community. Working group meeting agenda, minutes, and decisions will be published in the public forum on the IMS website for viewing by all persons that have established a free account.
Nothing will change in terms of your ability to contribute in whatever manner you are currently contributing. IMS member working groups will make the formal decisions related to the specifications, but your contributions are encouraged through the forum. The new Open Badges Community Council will enable those organizations and individuals that wish to contribute to be recognized for their advancement of Open Badges via profiles published on the Open Badges web site.
We want to hear from you and publicize your achievements with Open Badges! IMS will be establishing a process for joining the Community Council, including the publication of a profile on the IMS Open Badges Community Council microsite to highlight Community Council members and their activities. To receive notification of when this will be available, please send an email with your contact information and qualifications to OpenBadgesInfo@imsglobal.org.
This is the date the formal change takes effect and the Open Badges working group begins its operation. Between now and then actions will be taken to transition the associated websites, Github repository, and other resources. At this time, all staffing and organizational responsibility for the Badge Alliance will transition from Collective Shift to IMS. Some of the technical tools and resources currently provided by the Badge Alliance will change to adopt the standard sets of IMS tools, but the process of regular working groups evolving the spec will continue, just “under new management.”
The Open Badges Working Group within IMS will continue where the Badge Alliance Standard Working Group leaves off at the beginning of 2017. There is a list of recommended updates being considered and developed on the Open Badges Github repository. If you or your organization would like to sponsor or develop a prototype for one of these updates, just comment on the appropriate ticket. Additionally, the community is participating in a voting process to help prioritize feature development, add your voice!
Nate Otto, the technical director of the Badge Alliance, will remain in that role for the IMS Open Badges working group. Maintaining continuity of development is critical and will be strengthened by administrative and program management support from the IMS team.
The IMS Global work will be managed under a single Open Badges brand. There will no longer be a separate “Badge Alliance,” but the work of the former Badge Alliance will continue in IMS.
What role will Collective Shift (LRNG) and Mozilla play in the future development and adoption of the Open Badges work?
Both Mozilla and Collective Shift will join IMS as members and help guide the future evolution of the specification along with other IMS members who are leaders in open badge issuing platforms, such as Concentric Sky (Badgr), Credly, and Pearson (Acclaim), among many others.
IMS provides a variety of membership types to fit the needs and budgets of a diverse set of organizations. For more information and a comparison of benefits visit http://www.imsglobal.org/imsmembership.html. IMS does not have individual memberships, but welcomes new organizational participation. There are three levels of memberships for organizations. Contributing Member is the highest level of membership and provides leadership for all IMS initiatives, workgroups, and executive boards. Affiliate membership provides access to all IMS specifications and implementation support. Alliance memberships are for organizations seeking implementation and certification for a specific IMS specification. It is important to note that, while IMS member organizations are the sponsors of the IMS specifications, the specifications are publicly available to all organizations (members and nonmembers) who want to benefit from the work of the IMS member community. In fact, only a subset of organizations that use IMS standards around the world are IMS members.
For the foreseeable future, OpenBadges.org will continue to be the primary web outlet for the Open Badges community.