Life on the edge of the moodleverse

Category Archives: Badger

Use of Block Badger


Imagine in a school site defining three courses: English, Drama and ICT

Each is delivering its own curriculum content and assessing students understanding through digital artifacts. These departments in particular are delivering and developing a variety of skills around movie making.

They want to document progress, motivate and reward students through a series of badges for a range of different skills

  • Scriptwriter
  • Filmmaker
  • Director

Each badge will be available at three different levels of mastery, say, apprentice, assistant and master.

Each badge, at each mastery level, could be earned from an assessment task in any of three courses – students will often work in groups and adopt different skills in different assessment tasks.

The following diagram shows

  • the configuration of the level 2 filmmaker badge
  • nicknamed ‘Assistant Filmmaker’ – the students will see the badge referred to by this nickname – internally badger knows this is a level 2 badge – and supersedes the level 1 Filmmaker badge
  • it’s part of a collection called Media – this is useful for pulling together badges defined in different courses for display in a block [example later]
  • the badge can be claimed from three highlighted courses – it can always be claimed in the course it is defined – here we make it available in two more courses [1]


Saving the badge – and then returning via the manage badges link, I get a review of my badge


The important thing to note (and maybe ctrl-c) is the claim URL that needs to be inserted into a course.

Here’s my course with some activities that need to be completed before I issue the badge.


I can add a URL to my badge – and mark it only available pending completion of one or more activities


Finally, on the front page I can:

  • add a badger block to display a students’ badges in the Media collection [I can show multiple collections also] and
  • in this example I’ve asked for some bar graphs of number of badges already claimed


This is my [test] site front page – notice the block displays the highest level badges the student has been awarded and place holders for the next available level [if one exists].



[1] Why is it important to list courses where the badge can be claimed?

In many sites, students are often editors of moodle courses themselves – if we made the badge link work from any course – students could backward engineer and insert unprotected links to the badges they desire.

There is also a built in restriction that stops editors of courses outside those indicated from adding new badges to an existing collection – again to stop students forging their own badges into a collection.


Moodle 2.3 Block Badger Beta Version Released

I’ve released a first version of block badger – now looking for willing testers and feedback …

Note that to install you need both

Badger: Simple Badge block

At the upcoming 21st Century Learning Conference Hong Kong [], Tim Carrell and I will be presenting the ‘Badger Block’; one of the more exciting projects I’m currently working on.

We are very interested in the gamification of Moodle utilizing the conditional activities of Moodle 2. We’ve also been looking keenly on the work being done on Open Badges []. The badger block aims to bring the two together and provide the teacher with a relatively simple method of providing rewards within a course and across a site.

The badger block displays awarded badges in a side block and placeholders for badges still to be attained.


Clicking on either gives a review of what the badge is for and the criteria for awarding the badge so

  • those who have it know why and
  • those who want it know how to get it.


As further motivation, the block can also display a bar graph to show popularity of awarded badges.


Badges can be pushed through to the student’s external Open Badges back pack so that achievements can be documented outside of Moodle and beyond the enrollment of the students in their current schools.


Teachers can upload a badge [any square png image] and assign descriptions/criteria.


Note that badges can be put into ‘families’ or given a level.

  • The block only displays the highest achieved level and a placeholder for the next level for badges with the same name.
  • Badges in a family collection can be awarded in different courses and a block can be configured in any course (including the front page) to show badges awards for a named collection. [By default the block just shows badges created in the local course]

After creating a badge, the teacher then adds a link (a Moodle URL resource) to their course – typically access to this link is restricted through the Moodle 2 conditional activities to ensure that a student has to complete one or more tasks before the link becomes available and the students and claim the badge.


There are, of course, appropriate checks to ensure students cannot forge a badge URL to claim a badge they don’t yet deserve 🙂

Teachers can review issued badges to see who they have been awarded to and delete badges not yet issued.

Badges that have already been issued can be retired but not deleted; data about the badge is retained since the badge may already have been pushed to an external back pack – similarly an issued badge can be revoked from within the Moodle but it cannot be pulled back from an external backpack]


Initial pilots are underway and there seems to be a positive reaction to ‘badging’ from students.

I’d be interested in any feedback – and if there is demand I will try and find time to arrange a code release to git hub.

NB: there is a [moodle partner] group working on integration of open badges, moodle and mahara [details] but we didn’t want to wait 🙂