CWU News

CWU Offers the First Digital Badge of its Kind

Central Washington University students can now distinguish themselves from their peers nationwide with a CWU digital badge for Emotional Intelligence. CWU granted the country’s first university-sanctioned academic digital badge for the new university class, offered through the College of Business during spring quarter.

“I’ve already posted my badge on my LinkedIn and social media accounts,” said CWU senior Ronald Anderson of Puyallup. “I will use it to set me apart from other [job] applicants.”

Registration is underway now for a non-credit Emotional Intelligence for Professionals course through CWU Continuing Education, which will begin October 5. CWU is working on additional badge opportunities for the upcoming school year.

The university’s Multimodal Learning (MML) department led the development of the digital badges, which differ from traditional degrees and certificates in that they are narrowly focused and are linked to information showcasing a student’s work.

“Sharing these credentials, via social media, allows employers from around the world to see a student’s skill set and the work that documents it,” said Joy Fuqua, MML executive director. “Although badges are tied to course outcomes, only students meeting the highest standards are eligible to earn one.”
CWU’s badges match up with technical and social skills employers are seeking. They can be earned at any point in a student’s academic career, regardless of degree program. And they are immediately available upon course completion, which could increase a student’s chance for summer employment, an internship, and—ultimately—employment.

Gretchen Hill, director of Special Projects at CWU Extended Learning and Outreach, added, “Badges can be earned in both credit and non-credit academic classes, through co-curricular activities, or for professional development.”

Digital badges may reflect a single skill, like critical thinking, or a combination of skills that comprise a certificate, such as project management. They may be issued permanently or with an expiration date.  
“The goal is to award badges that will be meaningful to students, have relevance to employers, and uphold the academic integrity of the university,” Hill added.