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Podcast: Co-Branded Badges for Instructional Designers


We want workers and students to collaborate, so why shouldn’t organizations? Co-branded badges are a method of bringing recognition to earners based on collaborations between organizations who share interests.

In this Credly podcast, we talk with Alexandra Pickett, Director of Online Teaching for OpenSUNY and Jennifer Rafferty, Director of the Institute for Professional Development at the Online Learning Consortium.

These organizations have collaboratively offered a badge for instructional designers, which you can view here.

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This podcast is part of a Credly podcast series where we discuss issues of interest for digital credentialing issuers, earners, and partners. Have a topic you want to learn more about? Send us an email at*


Susan Manning:                   Welcome to the Credly Podcast where we touch base with our issuers, earners and partners and explore themes of interest in digital credentialing. I'm Susan Manning.  In this episode, I'm speaking with Alexandra Pickett, the Director of Online Teaching for Open SUNY and Jennifer Rafferty, the Director of the Institute for Professional Development at the Online Learning Consortium. The reason why I've invited both of these women to talk today is because they have a unique shared badge. They have collaborated on the Instructional Designer Certificate Program Badge which is housed in the OLC account, but has the endorsement of Open SUNY. So I'm gonna start with Jennifer. If you can kind of talk us through what this badge represents and then we'll bring Alexandra into the conversation.

Jennifer R.:                             Sure so this badge represents successful completion of the Instructional Designer Certificate Program, which is a collaborative ... we collaborate with SUNY on this curriculum. And it's comprised of four, four week workshops that are geared towards instructional designers who are working alongside faculty members in the course development process.

Susan Manning:                   And Alex, how did you get involved with this?

Alexandra P.:                         So the Instructional Designer Certificate Program is actually a professional development program. A certificate program that we developed here at Open SUNY and for the last few years, have been putting our large number instructional designers here in SUNY through that program. We had offered it and it was quite popular with our community of online instructional designers.

                                                      It's intended to professionalize the role of the instructional designer here in SUNY to give a credential of sorts. A certification of sorts to online instructional designers and to help us here in SUNY get sort of a foundation of knowledge and skills and attitudes across the role of the instructional designers. SUNY has 64 campuses. There's at least one instructional designer at each of the institutions. Some of them have five or six of them. And so we were looking for a way to not only recognize the achievements and the knowledge and the professional sort of presence of the instructional designers in SUNY, and also provide a mechanism for new instructional designers to get folded into the community and like I said, have a common foundation.

                                                      Over the course of the years, our numbers of instructional designers that needed training diminished. And so at that point, I reached out to OLC to see if they might be interested in adopting the ID Certificate Program and making it available to a much broader national and international audience.

Susan Manning:                   So Jennifer, when Alex approached you about taking over this initiative, what were your thoughts?

Jennifer R.:                             Well I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with an institution. I think that we're as a small nonprofit organization, and we work to serve higher ed and some K through 12 and nonprofit organizations. We don't necessarily always have the opportunity to collaborate so closely with a partner in the way that we do with SUNY. So it allows me to have, and my team, the opportunity to be in the higher ed spectrum if you will, because we're working on this project together.

                                                      And so in terms of what my thought was, great, I agree with Alex in terms of meeting the need of instructional designers and filling that gap for so many who come from different backgrounds. In terms of the profile of an instructional designer, many of them have advanced degrees but they may have transitioned into instructional design at a later date in their career. And so they may not be thinking about going back to school for another Master's or another PhD, but they would like to have some type of credential that demonstrates that they have the competencies to work alongside faculty who are developing online courses.

Susan Manning:                   You just hit the nail on the head. It's about what you can with what you know and this credential represents that. It's not about the seat time that somebody might've put into formal education.

                                                      Alex, any last insights on this partnership?

Alexandra P.:                         Yeah, I mean it really has been an amazing, mutually beneficial experience. It really is a question of our chocolate and their peanut butter. We would not be able to ... we just didn't have the people to train any longer in this program and so the peanut butter that OLC brings, the benefits to SUNY and Open SUNY is that we get to share our professional development curriculum and our Oscar rubric with a national and international audience. And we've collaborated with OLC to continue to evolve and refine and develop that tool.

                                                      We have a formal agreement that sort of documents the elements of this partnership and it's just been a really entrepreneurial enterprise to be a part of and to see it be so successful. That's one of the other things. It really, I believe, is filling a need. There are a lot of online instructional designers out there that are looking for just such a credential. So it really is a very mutually beneficial rewarding and very successful partnership. And we love being able to co-brand our badge with OLC. I think it's recognized on both sides that there is real recognition of the brands on both sides and so we get something out of it and I think OLC gets something out of it and so, it's like peanut butter and chocolate. I think it's better together.

Susan Manning:                   Awesome. Well thank you both for taking the time to share what you're doing. I believe others will find inspiration in this kind of collaboration and we'll see more of it.

                                                      Thank you listeners for joining us. If you'd like to suggest upcoming topics, feel free to write us at