Digital Badge design and practice at a national level is a relatively new field of scrutiny and this study reports on a sector-wide initiative for building digital capacity with the design, and implementation of an ecosystem of 15 open courses in teaching and learning with digital badges to recognise the professional development of teachers in Irish higher education. Each course is provided in three delivery modes and mapped to Ireland’s National Professional Development Framework for teachers. This enables multiple access points for teachers to engage in professional development via the Framework and recognize their engagement through peer triads and a digital badge ecosystem. The paper critically discusses and reflects on the study of the complex phenomena of the application of the open courses within professional contexts. A novel dimension is the implementation of a peer triad system for recognition of PD. Implementing the open courses digital badges ecosystem was challenging as this different form of assessment required a clear understanding of all stakeholder expectations, the language of recognition and how the learning outcomes could be met and validated using a peer triad assessment. This paper concludes with sectoral learning on nationally recognized open course development, including success factors for building digital capacity, challenges encountered and transferability to other contexts.
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