Dr. James E. Willis, III is an independent scholar, consultant for open digital badges and educational technology, and adjunct professor in religion and philosophy. Previously, he worked as a Research Associate in the Center for Research on Learning and Technology in the School of Education at Indiana University on a 2-year MacArthur Foundation grant. His research focused on the implementation, assessment, and futurity of digital badging and micro-credentialing in education. James was also an Educational Assessment Specialist for academic technologies at Purdue University. There, he was responsible for evaluating the impact of educational technology on student learning, assessing academic and learning analytics, and critically examining pedagogical theories. His previous experience includes collegiate administration, teaching ethics and comparative religions in traditional and online formats, and educational research. His previous research has included topics from several fields including Buddhist philosophy, French post-structuralism, pedagogy in videoconferencing, and improving success rates for first-generation and low-income students through predictive analytics. James has given presentations on 21st century bioethics, ethical modeling in social work, and the intersection of ethical theories. Educated in theology, philosophy, and comparative religion, James holds a Ph.D. from King's College London, an M.Litt. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and a B.A. from Roanoke College in Virginia.
Learning analytics can play a role in helping open digital badges and differentiated assessment reach their potential by producing both public evidence for badges and private artifacts to support differentiated assessment at scale.
As microcredentials become more prevalent, so too should the ethical engagement with practices, assumptions, and effects on society. A classification system helps everyone negotiate changing systems of credentialing.
Following their emergence around 2011, digital badges began transforming the way learning and accomplishment are recognized.