Application Process


Since 2016, UCC has been engaged locally, regionally and nationally in developing and delivering innovative digital badge initiatives. The delivery of digital badges directly addresses the university’s strategic goal of ‘Delivering research inspired teaching and learning with a world class student experience’. Within UCC, a digital badge is a validated micro-credential awarded to earners in an online format. It is a means for the university to recognise non-accredited learning that support the values and attributes the university seeks to foster. A digital badge is awarded by the university once an earner demonstrates competence in pre-agreed learning outcomes. The badges refer directly to the university’s seven essential values of Creativity, Responsiveness, Transparency, Scholarship, Freedom of Expression, Integrity, Equality, Diversity and Respect. These badges can be issued to UCC staff and students and non-UCC personnel.

UCC is the first University in Ireland put in place a clear Governance and Operational Policy for immediate use in the development and issue of externally facing, non-credit bearing digital badges. The quality and standard of UCC’s Digital Badges are monitored by the Digital Badge Subcommittee (DBSC) which is overseen by the Academic Development and Standards Committee (ADSC).

Criteria to Apply

There are four areas of quality assurance across which every UCC Digital Badge must meet in their design and delivery:

  • Badge Name: The UCC Digital Badge title will be succinct and accurately reflect the learning, achievement, skill or area that the UCC badge is recognising.
  • Badge Contact: The Badge Contact will be a UCC staff member with senior decision making authority such as Head of College or similar.
  • Badge Issuer: The Badge Issuer must be a recognised group, college, discipline, department, module coordinator, training provider, office, club, society or campus company of the University.
  • Approval: Approval is required from the Head of School or equivalent.
  • Rationale: Badge Issuers will demonstrate a clear rationale for the use of a UCC Digital Badge to recognise accomplishment. The rationale must demonstrate that the badge responds to an identified need, enhances the user experience or provides a unique value add opportunity.
  • Target Earners: Badge Issuers will clearly identify the target earners of the digital badge and have a clear focus on the earner experience i.e. who is the badge for? Why will they want to earn the badge? What opportunity does it unlock for the earner?
  • Strategic Alignment + Integration: Digital badges need to be aware of the wider eco-system of digital badges and avoid duplication. Where relevant potential badge issuers should collaborate with other Badge Issuers to ensure integrated approaches for recognition of similar accomplishments. UCC Digital Badges must demonstrate that they are aligned to the University’s Strategic Goals and Values.
  • Description: A brief overview of the badge, mentioning its purpose and audience will be provided as part of the meta-data for the badges digital administration and published information associated with the badge. This cannot be changed once the badge is created and is an important to external viewers wanting to verify a validated badge. The description will be of an appropriate quality and standard for this use as wider
    publication and verification of badge by external audiences.
  • Learning Outcomes: Each badge will recognise accomplishment by identifying four learning outcomes that the earner must meet. Learning outcomes are statements that specify what learners will know or be able to do because of participating in the badge content and activity. Bloom's taxonomy provides useful guidance on appropriate verbs for writing learning outcomes. Statements. Verbs that are vague and not observable or measurable should be avoided.
  • Duration: Badges relate to a time-set, event or piece of work that is likely to change. Therefore, the maximum duration of a badge can be 5 years.
  • Learner Pathways: Badges can be linked with various levels of accomplishments or aligned competencies. Badges should demonstrate that consideration has been given to potential future badge pathways that support learning trajectories.
  • Content and Activity: A single digital badge should reflect approx. 20 to 30 hours effort by the earner. A clear methodology for the delivery of badge content and activity should be outlined, whether face to face, on-line or participation in other activity. Content and activity should be supported by appropriate tools, resources and information.
  • Assessment: Badge Issuers should clearly demonstrate how they will assess or evaluate that the learning outcomes have been met.
  • Evidence: Badge Issuers should identify what evidence will be used to demonstrate that the learning outcomes have been met. This must include at least one artefact produced by the earner, e.g. blog, short reflection, presentation, poster.
  • Access, availability and resources: Badge issuers should demonstrate how they will ensure equal opportunity for access and availability of the badge to target earners. They should also demonstrate commitment to the capacity and resources to manage and deliver the content and activity outlined.
  • Badge Design: All badges will use the standard UCC Badge Design template. Badge Issuers should identify an appropriate logo/icon and title text to be used in the badge design.
  • Tags: All badges will identify a least four key tags that will assist on-line navigating, searching and finding of digital badges. (e.g. #Technology), the knowledge or skill (e.g. #Innovation), the target earner (e.g. #student) and the Badge Issuer (e.g. #Student Union).
  • Promotion: There should be a clear plan in place for the promotion and advertising of the digital badge to target earners.
  • GDPR: Badge issuers should demonstrate how the administration of this badge will meet UCC GDPR compliance obligations.

Approvals Process

There are two approvals for the development and delivery of UCC Digital Badges.

Step 1 – Badge Development

The first ensures that the design and planned delivery for the digital badge meets the required standard. Proposals for a new digital badge will be submitted as a proposal for review to the DBSC using the standard Digital Badge Development Plan. This form ensures that potential Badge Issuers consider and respond to all standards at the early planning stage. A Badge Assessment Rubric will be used by the DBSC based on the Quality Assurance Standards and associated criteria for assessment to approve progression to the development and delivery of the badge content and activity.

If you have any questions in relation to the process, please email:

Step 2 – Validate Earners

The second assures that the badge has been delivered in line with the approved plan and that badge earners have met the required criteria. At this stage, the Badge Issuer and Contact sign off on delivery and request approval for the digital administration to issue badges to validated earners using the Digital Badge Recipients Form.

Terms and Conditions

In conjunction with the award of a badge the following conditions apply:

  • All major/minor changes to the badge are to be outlined in the Proposal for Amendment to Digital Badge Development Plan form and submitted to the DBSC for approval.
  • An annual report is to be provided to the DBSC documenting the impact of the badge.
  • The DBSC may wish to audit evidence relating to the award of a digital badge. Please retain this information for at least 12 months.

Stages of Badge Development

Choose from one of the following options:

Centre for Digital Education

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