Humans of Blockchain ™
There are various sectors that would benefit from Blockchain technology. One of the main sectors is Education or specifically Higher Education.
Despite the hype, blockchain’s transactional speeds are still far too slow for global financial management. Bitcoin currently operates at just 0.01% of the efficiency of Visa for transaction clearance—and it uses 35 times as much energy to do so. But for slower transactional environments like higher education, the potential applications are diverse. In blockchain technologies, each “block” in a given “chain” represents a timestamped transaction relating to an asset with real-world value. Blocks cannot be changed, and are stored in perpetuity.
For colleges and universities, this technology carries the potential to transform the way that educational value is both recorded and transmitted. Here are six we think could make a stir soon:
#1 – Using Blockchain for Credit Recognition and Transfer
Educational Credits are transferred for completing courses. What if the credit transfer system was built on a custom Blockchain specifically for credits. Implementation would require a credit standard, a custom blockchain, and sufficient community agreement to ensure immutability.
The decline in first year enrolments is resulting in a diverse financial impact on institutions across the United States. This results in institutions focusing more on Transfer Students (as the pool is twice as large as first year). But credit articulation presents a real challenge for institutions bringing in students from community colleges. blockchain-supported initiatives may hold great promise for university and city education systems looking to streamline educational mobility in their communities.
#2 – Blockchain for Intellectual Property and for Rewarding Use/ Re-Use
Educators and Researchers can use Blockchain for announcements related to publication of educational resources and references. What if Copyrights are notarized at the date of publication and later re-use can be tracked for impact assessments.
Despite the increasing demand for academic research to be open and accessible to all, the journal industry is still acting as the intermediary imposing limits. If researchers were able to publish openly and accurately assess the use of their resources, the access-prohibitive costs of academic book and journal publications could be circumvented, whether for research or teaching-oriented outputs. Accurately tracking the sharing of knowledge without restrictions has transformative potential for open-education models.
#3 – Blockchain in Student Identification
Students should receive identity based on certification upon admission. The identity can then be used by the students for identifying themselves to any other areas of the institution without further need for storing personal data again.
The data footprint of higher education institutions is enormous. Multiple International/ National requirements are in place for the storage and distribution of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), maintaining this data in various institutional silos magnifies the risk associated with a data breach. Using sovereign identities to limit the proliferation of personal data promotes better data hygiene and data lifecycle management and could realize significant efficiency gains at the institutional level.
#4 – Using Blockchain as a Lifelong Learning Passport
Individuals can store evidence of learning amassed from various sources, with verification of receipt/completion stored to a personal blockchain ledger. This digital identity would allow users to upload their educational claims and submit them to providers for verification.
Changes in educational delivery methodologies are accelerating. Educational institutions and private businesses partner with online course delivery giants to extend the reach of their educational services and priorities. Traditional educational routes are increasingly less normal and in this expanding world of providers, the need for verifiable credentials from a number of sources is growing. Producing a form of digitally “verifiable CVs” would limit credential fraud, and significantly reduce organizational workload in credential verification.
#5 – Using Blockchain to Secure Certificates
What if Institutions were to replace the public key certification infrastructures with digital signatures to permanently authenticate issued certificates. Institutions and graduates must secure the physical or digital certificates, but the capacity for verification becomes eternal.
When an institution issues official transcripts, obtaining copies for the same can be an extremely tedious task for the students. But student-owned digital transcripts put the power of secure verification in the hands of learners, eliminating the need for lengthy and costly transcripts to further their professional or educational pursuits.
#6 – Multi-Step Acceleration Verification through Blockchain
Verification by accreditation organizations that is stamped to the same blockchain as certificates marks a two-step authentication: Not only was the certificate issued by the stated institution at the given time, but at that same time, the institution was accredited by the signatory organization.
As different accreditors recognize different forms of credentials and a growing diversity of educational providers issue credentials, checking the ‘pedigree’ of a qualification can be laborious. Turning a certification verification process from a multi-stage research effort into a single-click process will automate many thousands of labor hours for organizations and institutions.
While the use of blockchain technology is nascent in higher education, continued developments and their applications demand CIOs’ attention. To realize its full potential in education, open implementations will be crucial. Blockchain offers an opportunity to transform the administration of higher education from the inside. Institutions must be at the forefront of these endeavors to ensure they are effective.
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