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Digital Credentials

Extension guidelines for creating and issuing digital credentials or badges to learners as a record of accomplishment.

Digital Credentials

There are two different terms used on the University of Wisconsin campus related to issuing digital credentials: badge and credential.

A UW-Madison Digital Badge is a validated record of demonstrated competency over and above participation. The record contains detailed metadata about achievements such as who earned it, who issued it, the criteria required to earn it, and as possible the evidence and assessment of the relevant skills. There is an elevated level of rigor associated with the issuance of a Digital Badge. The University has adopted a policy UW-1088 on the issuance of a Digital Badge. The Division of Extension will use the process already in place at the Department of Continuing Studies if it is determined that it is the appropriate course of action.

An Extension Digital Credential is also a validated record, but the level of rigor and demonstrated competency is not as high as a Digital Badge. A Digital Credential may also be awarded for participation in an Extension program or professional development opportunity. Educational Technology Support (ETS) has established a process for the issuance of a Digital Credential for use by both staff delivering educational programs and by staff delivering internal professional development opportunities.

The system used to issue digital credentials (Badgr) refers to all digital credentials as badges.

Badgr is not a learner management system or official record of learner participation and achievement. The only purpose of the system is to issue the digital certificate. The instructor is responsible, if so desired, for tracking and storing learner participation and achievement records.

Digital Credential Creation

A program manager, institute director or operational director must initiate the request for a digital certificate at least two months before it is issued. The following process outlines the steps and who is responsible for the step. Educators, specialists, or other Extension staff that want a digital certificate created need to work with program or unit leadership to request the certificate.

Steps and responsibilities in the digital credential process.




Initiate conversion with ETS

Credential Requestor (program manager, institute director or operational director)

The process will be initiated by filling out a Digital Credential Proposal.

This will be a consultation to determine if a certificate is appropriate vs. a badge and what other support may be needed. While the certificate requestor may not have all necessary information at the beginning of the process, the following will be needed to create and issue the certificate:

  • Name of Digital Credential Owner
  • Institute associated with Digital Credential
  • Name of Program Issuing Digital Credential
  • Proposed Digital Credential Name
  • Digital Credential Description
  • Earning Criteria/ Learning Outcomes to obtain Digital Credential 
  • Expiration Date (if applicable)
  • Names of educators/staff allowed to issue the credential.

Provide recommendation


If it is determined the request meets the requirements of a UW-Madison Digital Badge, the Credential Requester will be referred to the Department of Continuing Studies.

Proposal Communications

Supervisor (Institute Directors, Ops Directors)

This step is to inform supervisors of the request and ensure appropriate use of resources.

Setup learner record keeping system/process

Credential Requester

Badgr is a digital badging/credential system. It is not a student/learner information system to store and track learner achievement. It will be up to the Credential Requester to have a process/system to track which learners have successfully met the requirements to receive a Digital Certificate.

Contact Digital Cert Designer

Credential Requester and ETS

The Credential Requester and ETS will supply the proposal to the designer of the Digital Credential. To maintain brand identity and consistency, the digital credential will use a standardized template that allows for customization to recognize the program.

Design Digital Credential

Digital Credential Designer

The Digital Credential Designer will give the final design to the ETS Badgr admin for upload into Badgr when creating Digital Credential

Create Digital Credential


Using the approved proposal and design, the ETS Badgr admin will create the Digital Credential in Badgr

Award Digital Credentials

Credential Requestor


The Credential Requestor will supply a spreadsheet (template provided by ETS) to the ETS who will upload it into Badgr, which will issue the certificate to the learner via email.


Credential Use by Others

Someone other than the Digital Credential Owner and not listed in the original request during the creation of the digital certificate may want to issue it to learners. This is possible if the Digital Credential Owner approves the use of the digital certificate.

The following process outlines the steps and who is responsible for allowing usage of a digital credential by someone not identified during the credential's creation.




Request to use digital credential

Educator, specialist, staff

The person wishing to use an existing digital credential can request issuing authority by clicking the "Request Issuing Authority" button. You will need the following information:

  • Educational Experience Name (the title of your program that applies to this digital credential)
  • Name of digital credential
  • Number of expected learners
  • Digital Credential Owner
  • Program delivery model
  • Proof of competency requirement that learners must fulfill

Usage decision

Digital Credential Owner

The digital credential owner will decide if the request to use the credential is appropriate. The decision will be communicated back to the requester.

Update Credential Access


ETS will update who has access to issue the credential.

KeywordsBadgr badging certificates   Doc ID123280
OwnerKevin G.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2023-01-05 09:08:46Updated2023-10-04 15:57:00
SitesExtension Handbook
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