When we hear a great idea, we can’t help but share it. When we hear a great idea from one of our very own clients, we’re known to mount our virtual soapbox and spread the good word. Get ready for your closeup, Florida International University (FIU), we’re shining a spotlight on you and your good deeds done in language learning. And if you’re a Mango client looking to increase awareness and usage on your campus, we suggest you whip out a notebook and start taking notes.
This week in language-learning fandom, all eyes are on FIU’s Digital Badge Program for Mango Languages. Designed to incentivize and reward students for engaging with Mango on campus, students receive a digital badge for each chapter and course completed in a given language. Students can display their badges earned on their badge wall and share their language chapters (or entire courses!) completed on their LinkedIn accounts to boost their appeal for professional contacts. Trust us, everybody loves a language learner.
For those of you well-acquainted with Mango’s courses, the badge system may sound familiar. In a moment of cosmic justice, leaders at the FIU library found inspiration in Mango’s existing digital badge and social media sharing feature. They molded this concept into a program that best served their students’ needs, and the FIU Digital Badge Program for Mango Languages was born. Get this — the initiative even has its own hashtag, #FIUMangoLingo. There’s no one we’d rather share a hashtag with than you, FIU.
There’s a reason badges have long been the preferred method of delivering accolades. Boy Scouts love them, spelling-bee winners vie for them, and some of our most accomplished officials are decorated in them. Badges — and their digital counterpart — are an easy and effective way to track progress and reward achievement, all while motivating the student to remain engaged and committed to their learning. Even better, these badges also facilitate communication between students and their professional network, letting potential employers know that they’re equipped with crucial language skills and independently pursuing even deeper knowledge. In fact, we want to create a special badge for FIU simply for their hard work in bringing this awesome program to life for their students. We’ll get right to work on that.
We sat down with Sarah Hammill, FIU’s Business & Online Learning Librarian, to talk about their Badge Program for Mango on campus. Sarah explained that the program’s goals are two-fold: first, to increase awareness about Mango on campus, and also to test out the badge program in hopes of establishing it for other library resources in the future. FIU believes that the badge program makes students more marketable to potential employers, allowing them to create a cohesive personal narrative on their professional pages and on their résumé. After word got out about this new program, Sarah reported an impressive eight percent increase in usage across Mango’s apps — and she says they’re still working out the kinks. We can’t wait to see FIU’s Mango usage — and their students' language skills — skyrocket as this program develops.
If you’re interested in starting up a badge program for your institution, consider this your how-to guide. Sarah even imparted a few words of wisdom for those looking to dole out badges to their resident language-learners and increase campus awareness about Mango. For fellow higher-ed clients, Sarah recommends turning to Blackboard and Moodle to implement the distribution of badges. If your institution partners with Blackboard, ensure that your contract allows for easy access and adding your own course. If your school uses Moodle, you should be good to go.
The Badge Queen (is it okay if we call you that, Sarah?) is also a firm believer in promoting the program face-to-face. She explained to us, "Students will do the promotion for you. When we ask students how they learned about Mango, more often than not we hear, "my friend showed it to me." So, seek out key faculty members, professors, and leaders on campus and train them to introduce Mango and digital badges to their students. Connect with students directly by setting up a booth (don't forget the free swag!) at language-themed fairs, events for International students, and study abroad information sessions. FIU is even planning a campus-wide Language Day on September 18th, just in time for National Talk Like a Pirate Day — perhaps the most important day in Mango's calendar year. Be still, our beating hearts.
FIU, we’re tipping our hats to you. We’re happiest when our resources are enjoyed by as many language learners as possible. We're even more impressed with how you're helping students leverage their language-learning accomplishments into professional marketability. Don't be surprised if your students bump into us on LinkedIn, trying to catch a glimpse at their shiny language-learning badges.
If you’re as inspired by FIU’s program for Mango as we are, consider using digital badges to highlight Mango Languages and increase usage on your campus. If you’re looking for some one-on-one advice for increasing visibility at your school, feel free to contact our Academic experts, Andrea Salinas, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Katie Tilly, email@example.com for more exciting and innovative ideas.