Blockchain for Higher Education: The Innovative Impact on Academic Credentials and Security
Blockchain technology is rapidly enjoying massive global adoption, thanks to its transparent, immutable, private and decentralized properties.
This makes it effective as public ledger, secure platform/network that promotes anonymity, whilst encouraging trustless and permissionless transactions as well as put people back in charge of their monies.
However, blockchain’s functions aren’t just restricted to currencies. The technology is applicable across diverse industries, including education. Let’s examine how it’s currently doing this as well as possible future applications.
Unalterable Data Storage for Transcripts, Credential, and Records
One of blockchain’s most appealing features is its immutability –the inability to alter any data stored on it. So, you can be sure of the integrity of the data you find on the platform.
This is why many educational institutions are beginning to adopt it for storing students’ credentials, records and transcripts. This makes it incredibly easy for companies, organizations and any other interested entity to verify an individual’s academic qualifications.
Even more, searching for these files are pretty easy and instantaneous. Unlike traditional paper filing systems that are not only fragile, but also subject to fire hazards and flooding, data stored on the blockchain will always be protected and virtually available.
You also neither have to worry about the veracity of the information nor the possible breakdown and loss of the paper materials used to store the data.
Currently, MIT is leading the charge with a blockchain service called Blockcerts. This was developed in collaboration with the blockchain firm called Learning Machine. With this service, schools can create and store all official documents.
Blockchain’s transparency also means that apart from organizations and the school authority, even the students will be able to access their documents, but won’t be able to alter it in any form. This process makes the process of certificate query and verification seamless, stress free and quick.
Records and Data are More Secure
Here’s the truth: files stored on university servers, intranets and usenets are often insecure. As a result, they are susceptible to hack attacks, which in turn, opens them up to hackers looking to steal private information from databases or even corrupt them.
Blockchain’s technology makes it very hard for hackers to do this. At its very core, blockchain is incredibly secure. This is largely because of its decentralized and cryptographic features. So, all files stored on the platform are not only encrypted, they aren’t stored on a centralized server.
Therefore, in the rare event of a hacking incident –which almost never happens by the way- data copies can be compared to detect any anomalies. This is why educational institutions are actively moving to store files on the blockchain.
Offers Copyright Protection
Intellectual property theft is responsible for billions of dollars in capital losses across the world. This is why many smart academics are storing their research data on the platform. Not only does it keep the documents intact and secure, owners can also track document usage and path.
This way, you’ll know exactly who accessed your data, when and how many times. In fact, you can also prevent copying or download. And if you do allow those features, smart contracts can be set up to notify you about any of those activities. If you want to prevent intellectual property theft, storing your data on the blockchain is a great way to start.
New Course Curriculum
Because blockchain is increasingly becoming popular, forward thinking schools are beginning to incorporate the subject matter into their course content. Some universities currently have blockchain as a full time four year course with a degree, while others just offer it as part of their curriculum.
This is not surprising seeing as the demand for blockchain expertise has shot through the roof, with some sources claiming that there’s been a 4000 percent increase in the demand for blockchain related skillset since 2017.
Educational institutions like the University of Edinburgh are partnering with private organizations like IOHK to launch programs targeted at solving everyday problems using blockchain technology.
Potential to Boost Employability
Blockchain’s use cases span across almost every industry. From supply chain and logistics to medicine and law, the technology seems all encompassing.
The huge demand for the technology and its application in so many industries means that graduates who have the necessary qualifications, may find themselves having an edge when they apply for jobs or intend to switch careers.
Based on recent findings and projections, blockchain tech expertise is on the rise, with employers in all sectors seeking highly skilled talents who are familiar with the technology.
While blockchain is still largely in its infancy, it has tremendous potential and might completely influence the educational landscape over the next one to two decades.
Forward thinking educational institutions are already adopting the tech, and using it. With increased global adoption, we’re sure the technology will soon become as popular as software sector, and will create an entirely new, thriving industry in the process.