Have you considered issuing digital badges to your Extension learners? In case you are wondering what digital badges are, how they get issued, and how they can be used, then you might be interested in reading about Mozilla’s Open Badges project described at http://openbadges.org/about/. The portability of badges, the embedded learning experience details that are contained within each badge, and the ability of the badge earner to display badges in applications such as e-portfolios, blog sites and websites make them much more useful than simple paper-formatted certificates.
If the possibility of using badges to recognize the achievements of your Extension learners interests you, then you might consider the use of eXtension’s Moodle site, campus.extension.org. The current version of Moodle offered to Extension educators by eXtension allows teachers to issue digital badges that are compliant with the Mozilla Open Badges standard. In creating badges in Moodle, a teacher initially provides a complete description of what the badge is for, who it is that is issuing the badge, the contact information for the issuer, and an expiration date, if any. At the course level, the teacher can then establish the criteria for issuing the badge. That criteria can be automated based on successful completion of a set of activities or a full course, or the teacher can manually issue the badge. At the site level, a badge can be issued based on completion of a set of courses. All this information–the description, issuer, contact information, expiration date, and all criteria–becomes embedded in the badge file which is issued to the learner.
For more information on how Moodle has implemented Open Badges, see http://docs.moodle.org/25/en/Badges. If you would like to explore options for offering digital badges through eXtension’s online campus, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.