What Do You Think of the Badges?

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This page is not intended to be a flame page. Only contribute carefully considered opinions that can benefit the class at large. Please provide a few sentences establishing your standpoint.



Note From Dr. Famiglietti

I appreciate the feedback that folks have written up on this page, and encourage further contributions. The badges are an experiment with a new and more flexible and reflection based form of grading. This is the first semester I have employed them, and I'm not aware of any other professors at Tech who have used this sort of assignment. I will be revising my use of badges in future classes, and your feedback here will help me do that. As for this semester, I feel we must follow the badge requirements as they are currently laid out, for the most part. This is to ensure consistency for the class. Large changes at this point would probably be more disruptive than helpful. However, if folks have suggestions for small "tweaks" that would improve the badge system during our last few weeks (for example, we might be able to change the requirements for the regular reader badge) I would be willing to consider them if you explain and support them here. I will consider any suggestions made over the next few days. Afamiglietti 13:02, 1 April 2011 (UTC)


  • I have to disagree with Norangio3. This is an English class and considering the extreme lack of writing that we do, it only seems appropriate to have the number of badges that we do. Saying "this is a tech school" is not a justified excuse for not having a work-intensive English course. The truth of the matter is that this is the last English class any of us will have in our academic lives; when you look at it from that angle, we do not do nearly enough. There is a reason why engineers have the stereotype for being unable to carry themselves in a social setting. However, I do agree that the specific badge regarding the blog's number of readers is a bit out of reach, the badge system as a whole is necessary and I would argue insufficient, to satisfy some kind of writing requirement, since this is, as we know, an English class. -crossi7
  • Also, the badges, even though they seem tedious at times (I know that I've forgotten a badge or two), make sure that we know how and why we use certain writing styles for different scenarios instead of just plain knowing that you have to use this style here and that style there. It forces you to reflect about your writing as you are writing out the badge. It resembles a detailed grading rubric where you can explain why you think you deserve the grade rather than the teacher just giving you the grade without you having a say. In that way, I think they could even help us explain what we're exactly going for in the paper and maybe squeeze out extra points. -pthakore1


  • I do think many of the badges are necessary and helpful. For example, the project proposal badge is useful and the badges for editing essays are also useful. They provide a place to express ideas for our projects and how we edited papers. However, there are badges that seem, to me, unattainable. These include the badge that requires fifty readers, and twenty-five from out of state, constantly contributing to the blog. Also, one of the class participation badges requires us to know fifteen specific instances of when we participated in class and the date. This seems a little excessive, as I feel that many students, including myself, have contributed fifteen times in class, but do not know exactly what the date was. I would guess that a majority of the class was unaware that they needed to be recording when they participated in class discussions. There is also a very large amount of badges we are required to do, and a lot of them we could not fill out until at least the second half of the semester, after our projects and blogs were well underway, which makes it more difficult to allocate time towards out projects. As a result, this could hurt the quality of final projects. --Norangio3 16:53, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
  • The concept behind the badges is good and sound, but in terms of practical application, I find it to be lacking.  Sometimes the response prompts for certain badges seem to have little or nothing to do with the actual project itself.  At times it seems like the exact same prompts are being used for multiple badge applications, none of which have anything to do with each other.  I would suggest tailoring the prompts specifically to each badge application.  The sheer amount of work involved in all these badge applications is also a little overwhelming.  I realize if you space it out over the semester it is not a heavy workload at all, but some of these badges were impossible to complete until well into the semester.

  • I disagree with crossi7, The workload of this class has already exceed most English classes. The 3 mandatory wiki badges require 20 drafts, 15 discussions and 25 edits on the wiki. This is not a easy assignment, and it's very work intensive compare with traditional essay-writing English class. --lliu
  • I would agree with Norangio3 here. While the badges are a great way for us to reflect upon our work, the sheer number of them and how long they take to fill out, compounded with other homework and commitments, leaves little time for us to work on our projects, let alone sleep (a rare commodity here some weeks). As well, looking at the Project Blog badges many of them seem simply unattainable in the short amount of time we have to work on our projects. For most groups, even getting twenty-five regular readers will be a difficult task as there are simply too many things going on at Tech for most of us to put the effort we wish we could into these projects.--Tswihart3 17:55, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
  1. I agree that it isn't looking good for the Regular Reader or Hat Tip badges at this point. I probably underestimated the amount of work it would take to achieve the goals set in those badges. However, I knew those badges might be difficult to earn, and designed the assignment accordingly. The Social Media Integration and World Awareness badges can be earned simply by discussing the work of related projects on your blog, and making an attempt to raise awareness of your blog and project via Twitter and Facebook. Afamiglietti 19:05, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
  • There are lots of badges to do if you didn't do them at the beginning in this class. Badges are a standard tool that measures if you contribute and understand this class. We have a big project due at the end of the semester for each group. That takes a lot of time, and you have to write blogs, do Facebook and twitter uploads, have, on average, 2 meetings per week, etc. Wiki badges require lots of discussions edits which is not easy work. I suggest a removal of some badges. Nevertheless, it is a good opportunity to practice writing skills. 
  • The concept of badges is nice and I like having the ability to do them early so I have a better idea of my final grade. However, I dislike how part of the grading for the badges is dependent on class feedback -- primarily on the Wiki badges. I understand the reasoning behind it i.e. promote our skills of communication, but I do not see how my grade should depend on if someone comments on the page I make or modify. The activity of the Wiki does not support the likelihood of everyone getting even one response on pages they make, given the recent responses to Wiki questions for the class readings. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic or cynical; however, I think badges requiring feedback from other peers should really be more focused in-class to promote more class discussion instead of on the Wiki, even if it is more accessible. Even more so when some of the elective badges for class participation are not feasible such as Ready Respondent. --kvicente3
  • While I understant the concept of the badges, I do not feel that they help us accomplish our goals of our class, namely helping us to become better communicators. Some, like the application badges and the individual response essay badges were good for this, but badges like the regular reader and social network ones for the blog are based on our success, and while we can learn to be better from trying, most people avoid those badges because not being successful would hurt them in the class. Personally, I would have rather had more assignments like the individual responses and the proposal badges. --Pcarton 18:07, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

  • I believe the idea of badges is good, but the application is impractical. As already stated numerous times, many of the badges cannot be completed (at a gold level) until the last half of the semester. By this time, we are deep into group work for this class. Needless to say, we have much other work piling up in other classes, and while this is irrelevant to this class, it cannot go without consideration when expecting students to fulfill numerous assignments. I believe a restructuring of the badge concept would be in everyone's best interest.
  • Some of the badges' requirements are hard to meet, and the applications, I feel, are time consuming.Not everyone is able to meet even the mandatory badges' requirements, and those are a big part of the grade.
  • I like the general idea of the badges, I really do. It's a unique concept that stands out among other grading systems. However, having to write an essay just to turn in an essay is frustrating to say the least. I'm up to my neck in badge applications to complete, and needless to say the amount of writing is overwhelming. Yes, I should have started these earlier, and taken time away from studying for other classes to do so. But still, instead of submitting something and getting a simple grade, we have to write 300 words to reflect on the assignment. The justification for the badges initially was it would make assembling our portfolio a snap. I have come to find out it is not the case, as our portfolio requires even more composition in addition to badge applications, and the essays we wrote to submit them barely usable as far as portfolio usage goes, since the prompts are different and require extensive editing to be fit. Sorry, it's just frustration. Pure frustration.
    • Just for support's sake, I second this claim. Feel free to consider this post as part of this page's rhetorical situation for whoever pioneered this page. Before starting the portfolio, I too figured the badges would help me to a great deal and even the professor suggested using some of the content from the badges to answer portfolio prompts. The badges barely helped, I ended up doing more analysis to support my claims for comparing different draft revisions. The portfolio ended up to be the mother of all badges rather than a basket I could put assortments of previously completed badges. I'd rather just do a portfolio and fewer or no badges altogether. I'd have loved this class to take more importance over analysis on topics of discussion like cyberpunk, ontology, etc., not paired or overbearingly emphasized on self evaluation as a writer. Practice makes us better, not enforcing subjective analysis on ourselves that are going to be bias in nature, because it is us evaluating us. The prompts that ask along the lines of 'how did you support your claim to fit the rhetorical situation' made me think twice with hesitance to mold to how I could get a better grade on my badges with an adequate response badge appropriate and therefore restricted genuine thought.
  • The badge system in itself is a wonderful idea. Making students apply for what grade they receive instead of just giving it to them is cool, but the requirements for some are very hard to meet. Trying to remember when you contributed to class discussion is almost impossible, and the amount of time required to do all of them is just ridiculous. The badges are a cool idea, but I think they could be a little easier to obtain, and be a little less strenuous to complete.
  • Although I agree with the idea of easily grading, I don't think badges make us "successful" in English class. The badges kind of enforced us to finish a certain amount of work which make some of our content less thoughtful. On the other hand, the wiki changed dramatically through last two weeks which make badges make more sense in terms of enforcement.
  • I think that the badges are an unnecessary burden on both the students and the teacher. The rules for the badges are too strict. Work should not be graded using a check-list, especially for an English class. Also, the badges were more work than the actual work, making them aggravating and frustrating. The idea itself is interesting, but it does not work well when implemented in this way. The similarity of badges to video game "achievements" is interesting and very fitting for our English class, as achievements are strongly tied in with technology. If the badges were just awarded upon earning them without the need for an application, then perhaps this would be a good grading system. --Jdavenport8 22:16, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
  • I can understand why we would use badges, it can make it easier to grade and you feel like you can have an impact on your grade somehow. But I think it was a little bit too much and I felt like the focus was put towards the badges instead of the actual work you had to do to earn them. I think what really made it clear was today in class when Professor Famigligetti told us how much work it was for him to go through them all. It was a good thought but I think it needs to be thought through again to work in a class like this.


  • Although the badges can seem like a huge pain, the reason we are doing them is so that the portfolio we have to make at the end of the semester will be a lot easier. Because we are doing the badges throughout the semester, for the portfolio, we only need to copy and paste the paragraphs from the badges. Although the badges can be annoying to fill out, we may appreciate them in the long run. --Punnava3 02:38, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
  • So why can't we just do a portfolio directly? It seems like unnecessarily duplication of effort, especially when it's not clear how some of the badges will be applicable to any portfolio. Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;-- 13:19, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
  • I more or less agree with all the points made here, both for and against. It seems like they're a great idea, and they are very helpful in prompting reflection on how much we participate in class and how we write papers. But I believe that there are simply too many, and it's easy to become overwhelmed, especially if it's not something that you keep up with all semester. I think a few more days where the class was walked through a badge application would help solve a lot of the issues.
  • I feel badges were both good and bad. It was easier for the teacher to grade but at the same time strenuous for us students to work on. The fact that we had to apply for our grades was a different experience. I feel our work should speak for itself and it should be at the professor's discretion to choose the grade, but it was in our hands to pick the one we felt we deserved and for him to agree or disagree. I feel if there were no badges it could have been a lot easier on both sides.
  • While I think the premise of the badges was an excellent idea, I don't exactly agree with their implementation. I liked having a record of reflections over my thought processes during each assignment, I felt as though many of the badge questions were tedious, repetitive or just awkward when considering the assignment they involved. In addition, some badges had additional requirements that were a bit out there to achieve. For example, having to record the dates and material that we discussed seemed rather superfluous. I think that if the questions were more fitting to its corresponding assignment, the badges would prove to be a much better tool.
  • It seems to me that the main point of the badges was to prepare us for composing our required portfolio. It makes sense to me to have them, but on the other hand they are a tremendous about of work. Perhaps a way to restructure the badges in the future would be when we have assignments (essays, presentations, etc.) we have to fill out badges that have identical questions to those that are on the portfolio. This way, when students have to do the portfolio, they simply choose the assignment they want for each type of artifact, and copy what they have already written, perhaps with some revision. It seems unnecessary to have badges for the wiki and in class discussion, other than to practices rhetorical awareness. However, with a sufficient number of badged assignments, it seems to me that students would get enough experience writing about rhetorical awareness without adding unnecessary work.

Suggestions (Tweaks)

I'm curious to know about the quantity versus quality debate concerning many of the contribution tracking badges. The three mandatory wiki badges, for example, require 15, 20, or 25 contributions in their given fields, and a "contribution" is noted as at least a few sentences. What if, however, a student submitted less than 15, 20, or 25 contributions, but made substantial and lengthy contributions with what he or she did write (for example contributing several paragraphs or even full pages of work)? Would a student like this be penalized because they did not meet the "number of posts" requirement even though its possible they may have contributed more volume than someone who posted two or three sentences 15 times? Will posts of large length be taken into consideration as counting for "multiple posts", does the minimum number of posts simply stand without consideration for large length, or is this simply something that needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis? - Msmith312

I suggest to write one more essay due instead of submitting so many badges. Your essay response can improve your writing skills and has another opportunity to communicate and share your work with other classmates.

I actually like the concept of badges because for the first time I actually feel like I there are stricter guidelines in English for grading rather than just a generic rubric for every assignment. However, I have to agree with Msmith312 above that the quantity not just within badges, but the badges themselves seems to be too many. In my ideal English class, the grading would be structured very similarly except that the three different sections for the project (blog, artifact, and convention) which all have 5 badges each would be compressed to 5 or 6 badges total, perhaps 2 each. This not only eliminates redundancy in badge applications for very similar applications, it unifies the the entire hacker project. Additionally, I would be combine the wiki assignment and class participation sections to a total of 3 badges each. By changing this it makes the course much more manageable and encourages all of the students to actually do the work which makes for healthier discussion in class and on the wiki.

The badge system is a unique and helpful idea with reflecting on the work we have done for the class. However, many of these badges are continuous if not semester-long, so it becomes rather difficult to keep track of the badges and the group projects. Even though it is warned in the syllabus that the badge system is a time-consuming process, it would help if that were emphasized more in class, so badges that require a tally would be much easier to complete -- these badges seem to be the ones causing the most trouble for everyone. Another thought is how the badges may not accurately reflect the quality of work done for the badges. I feels that in some cases, a well-written badge but poor work (e.g. essays) for the badge has received more points than a quality piece of classwork but slightly less than stellar badge application. Bmenn3 18:24, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

I believe if there were a greater variety of elective badges to apply for, then the application process would be much easier to do. While there may already be several elective badges for the wiki, when multiple people across several sections begin to apply, suddenly the selection of badges is not all that great. It also becomes much more difficult to apply for certain badges, mainly the policy wiki, as the semester progresses as it is taken by other students, which diminishes the selection even more. Although it may be difficult to create more badges for a student to apply for, it would be beneficial by providing more variety to the wiki and also giving the students more opportunities to receive credit.

I would rather have one more written assignment like the Reading Responses or something similar. That might be as much job as writing the badges, but I feel like you can learn more from doing that then filling out badge applications. I think this is really something to consider for next semester because I really think this was not a good concept. 

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