Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Grandon Gill, D.B.A.

Co-Major Professor

Andrew Artis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dirk Libaers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Hopes, D.B.A.

Committee Member

Timothy Novak, D.B.A.


badging, credentialism, human capital, resume audit, scaffolding, signaling


Digital badges are becoming more prevalent in the credentialing sector yet there is limited understanding of how the industry is developing or how digital badges influence the hiring process. This study employed an exploratory case method to make known the development of the badging industry. This dynamic new educational technology has a wide range of stakeholders working at establishing standards to ensure consistent and effective application across the badging ecosphere. To understand academic badging further, the researcher conducted a type of field experiment called a résumé audit study. In the late Spring of 2019, the investigator applied to 1,848 unique entry-level jobs using one of three versions of a fictional résumé. One résumé displayed badges in business skills, another résumé showed identical skills but without badges, the third résumé was a control with no added business skills. The results show that a recent graduate without a business degree significantly increases the likelihood of employer interest if digital badges associated with business skills appear on the applicant’s résumé. Whether academic digital badges become a transitory technology or transformational one depends on promotion and policy. Badging needs a champion to support increased awareness to help stakeholders understand the benefits of credentials that are secure, verifiable, and rich in data. Decision makers at all levels of government and education need to ensure educationally related policies support badging as a viable 21st Century credential.