The PhD Professional Development Pathways Platform is a project to create an online digital-badge tracking platform and dashboard that will allow BU doctoral students to track their development of skills and their achievement of learning goals connected to six core capacities. Through the acquisition of digital badges connected to activities and assessments recorded on the platform, doctoral students at BU will be able to monitor their progress through various learning pathways, share benchmarks in their individual development plans, and develop a practice of career planning and lifelong learning. Each badge is assessed and issued according to completion of specific tasks and learning pathways. The online dashboard allows students to organize, download, and share to other virtual platforms a summary of their achievements, providing a portfolio piece for job applications.
The objective of employing a digital platform for tracking the core capacities is to provide students, departments, faculty, and administrators with a method of assessing student progress through the professional development curriculum, enabling the community that supports doctoral student education to evaluate the use and value of the core capacities themselves. In addition, such a platform provides students with a means of staying accountable for measuring their own progress, while also creating a method for translating achievements from their doctoral programs into their lives beyond academia. We are piloting the platform with the PhD students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GRS) due to its large number of students and the diversity of PhD programs across the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences within GRS, which will provide a good cross-section of the doctoral student population.