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Pirate Patch Badge Project

The Pirate Patch project was created in response to a need by the Freshman Studies group to create an involvement device for the incoming Freshman class. Studies have shown that there are certain non-academic indicators for academic success in the first year of college, things like belonging to clubs, being part of activities, attending events.

The Program is a way of giving a tangible reward for certain types of activities. Building off of the Mozilla Open Badges project, we added the refinement of a points system and “level-up” badges.

The pilot phase offered a one-point badge for members of the incoming class who found the link on the PirateNet log-in screen. Then, other points were awarded at preview days for students who found QR codes at various buildings around campus and snapped them with their smart phones.

Students who found five or more were automatically awarded a five-point bonus “Curious Pirate” badge.

The project was built on a LAMP platform. The database is tied to the students user IDs in the campus’ authentication system. Awards are identified by hashes that encrypt information about them.

To accommodate more advanced badges that will actually recognize earned credentials, we support Mozilla’s “bake” process, which gives a downloadable image that has encoded within it links to the requirements that the student had to meet, as well as proof that the badge was awarded to that student.