Open Badges are a particular form of digital credential (verifiable digital certification) and represent skills acquired or results achieved by a person. Open Badges differ from purely visual representations of badges or certificates because they contain structured information (metadata) that qualify the Badge, indicating the body that assigned it (the issuer), the criteria adopted for assessing skills, any evidence that the learner (student, professional, citizen) has submitted, the certification's expiry date (if it has one), and useful information for automatically verifying, evaluating, and managing the badges.
The technology is based on an international specification called Open Badges and supports a wide range of Badge types, developed in collaboration with issuers to represent vertical skills (such as computer programming) or, for example, soft skills (communication or problem-solving skills, etc.). Badges can be issued by formal educational institutions (schools, universities), as well as non-formal and informal educational institutions, and by professional associations, companies, and voluntary associations: in short, by any community of practice.
On request by the issuer and for specific certifications – such as degree certificates – the Bestr platform enables users to obtain a Blockcerts certificate.
Blockcerts is a digital credential based on an open specification and aims to enable the creation, assignment, display, and verification of the integrity of notarised certificates in a blockchain. These digital certificates are in fact recorded in a blockchain (the method used by Bestr is based on Ethereum), which is tamper-proof and can be shared online.
Bestr's aim in providing this type of digital certification is to enable users to obtain a digital certificate that they can keep and share independently so it can be viewed and verified securely, easily, and quickly by third parties.
On request by the issuer and for specific certifications – such as degree certificates – the Bestr platform enables users to obtain an EDCI digital credential.
EDCI is an open specification defined by the European Commission as part of the Europass project.
Bestr (pron. Bèster, neologism for: «what makes me better and the best») is Cineca's digital platform based on Open Badges that supports lifelong and lifewide learning and allows skills acquired through formal, non-formal, and informal learning paths to be recognised and verified.
Cineca created Bestr to promote the free dissemination of knowledge and reduce the skill-gap between the demand for skills on the labour market and the supply of skills developed by the education system.
Cineca does not charge any fees to end users for digital credentials issued through the Bestr platform.
On request by the issuer and for specific certifications – such as degree certificates – the Bestr platform enables users to obtain Blockcerts or EDCI certificates.
Bestr provides public web content accessible by any internet user through the sites:
Users have read-only access to all public pages on the platform. In particular, they can access the list of badges published by issuers.
On its public pages, the Bestr service makes content available that can be used freely even by users who are not registered. This content can be freely shared and disseminated on social networks or by any other means chosen by the user.
Each Badge released on Bestr requires users to meet criteria set by the issuer at the time it is released. In order to evaluate the criteria for awarding a Badge or once the criteria have been evaluated independently by issuers, the latter submit information relating to learners who have satisfied the criteria for awarding the Badge to the Bestr platform, on the basis of a document that appoints Cineca to process the users' personal data.
Issuers can also submit this information to the Bestr platform automatically by means of specific integrated functions.
Depending on the type of Badge or Blockcerts, the information transmitted might include:
Once the information required for a specific Badge or Blockcerts to be awarded has been obtained, the Bestr platform is then able to invite users to collect the Badge by an e-mail and users can obtain it by registering on and accessing the platform with their own credentials.
There are two ways to register on the Bestr platform: "local" registration, i.e. by providing the information required for registration directly to Bestr, or registration "via federated authentication", for users with a unique digital identity provided by one of the supported federations (IDEM, eduGAIN).
This is when a user profile is created that is registered locally on the Bestr database.
Only users who receive an invitation to collect a Badge can register locally on the Bestr platform.
Local registration, which involves verifying the user's e-mail address, enables the user to collect the Badge and subsequently access the platform.
The information required for registration is:
date of birth
password and password confirmation
The user might be requested to confirm personal data already submitted by the issuer (see the "Assigning and collecting a Badge" paragraph); in particular, specific Badges that entail formal recognition or represent formal titles may require the tax code to be confirmed and stored.
Locally registered users can request a new password to be generated.
Users who are part of a federation that provides a unique digital identity can register with Bestr using the credentials of their body or institution.
The federations currently supported are:
This type of registration, which enables users to both acquire a Badge and subsequently log in to the platform, only requires one additional piece of information:
date of birth
This is because the other personal data required by the Bestr platform, i.e. first name, surname, and e-mail address, is submitted by the federated authentication server and stored locally by Bestr, where it cannot be modified by the user. In this case, a password is not required, since authentication takes place on a server external to the Bestr platform. Bestr does not receive or store information related to passwords used by external servers.
If a user has previously registered locally or redeemed a badge using the same e-mail address subsequently used for federated authentication, then logging in via federated authentication will be equivalent to logging in locally, because the existing user will be automatically recognised. A user in this situation can then log in either with their own local password or through federated authentication.
The user may be asked to confirm personal data already submitted by the issuer (see the "Assigning and collecting a Badge" paragraph); in particular, specific Badges that entail formal recognition or represent formal titles may require the tax code to be confirmed and stored. In the event of problems, end users and IDP administrators can request support by writing to: https://bestr.it/support/contact
To register on and access Bestr, the user must be at least sixteen years old. The platform performs a check both during registration and on each subsequent login.
Users can ask to be kept up to date on news regarding the services offered by the Bestr platform. If a user requests an invitation, they will be notified by Bestr staff when the registration function is open even to users who have not received an invitation to collect a Badge.
If a user thinks they are entitled to a badge, they can indicate this by entering their information (name, surname, e-mail address) in a specific form for the desired badge. The form might be public or sent separately only to interested parties. The data provided by the user in this context will only be used to be sent to the issuer so they can verify that the information corresponds to a person entitled to the Badge. Bestr will then send the invitation to collect the Badge by e-mail, which will take the user through registration on the site as outlined above. The user will only become a Bestr user to all intents and purposes and will only be able to receive the associated communications once they have registered on Bestr and verified their e-mail address.
For specific certifications – such as degree certificates – and on the instructions of the issuers, the Bestr platform enables users to request the creation and notarisation of a Blockcerts.
A Blockcerts can only be requested by an authenticated user and notarisation requires the user's public address associated with the blockchain being used.
The Blockcerts certificate issued to the user is a digital file in JSON format and compliant with Blockcerts specifications. The Blockcerts certificate contains the descriptive information of the credential it represents, the user's personal information, and information useful for verifying the certificate itself.
The notarisation process within the blockchain does not require the user's personal data to be stored within the blockchain.
The blockchain used by the Bestr platform is Ethereum Mainnet.
Registered users can log in to the Bestr platform and access all the services open to them.
Registered and authenticated users have the ability to manage their personal data and the visibility (public vs. private) of their user profiles.
Authenticated users can change their password.
Registered users who have acquired at least one Badge have a profile page that shows the Badges they have acquired. Users can change the visibility of this page by selecting from:
public page (default after acquiring the first Badge)
private page visible only to the user themselves
Users can share the badges they have obtained through the Bestr platform on the most widespread and popular social platforms (social sharing) and on external sites (embedding).
Registered and authenticated users can download the Badges they have acquired through the Bestr platform in PNG format according to the OBI standard.
Users can share Blockcerts and EDCI documents in the same way.
Any user who is interested in collaborating with Bestr to release a new Badge can contact the Bestr staff through a web form.
Users can also get in touch with Bestr staff through the other available channels:
Contact page: https://bestr.it/support/contact
Twitter account: @joinBestr
The Bestr platform uses state-of-the-art web technologies that work best with the latest versions of the most popular modern browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 11, both on desktop and on mobile.
Browsing Bestr is normally possible with previous browser versions, although small issues with display or functionality may occur.
We cannot guarantee the availability of all features for browser versions that are no longer supported by the respective manufacturers (see https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/End-of-IE-support ).