Blockchain is mostly known as a disruption in the financial world. For example, Ethereum has been driving decentralized finance (DeFi) into widespread adoption. Similarly,
Bitcoin is helping to democratize finance, according to cryptocurrency enthusiasts. But what about non-financial applications?
Today we’re exploring the influence of blockchain on the educational sector. As you’ll soon see, there is definitely unfulfilled potential that can make a big difference.
Current Examples of Blockchain in Education
The University of Nicosia is the global leader in blockchain education. Their first accredited Master’s degree blockchain program is taught by world-leading experts and attended by over 65,000 students.
After finishing this free online course, graduates will have an authentic, tamper-proof digital document stored on the blockchain.
Another notable example is MIT. In 2018, the MIT Media Lab created Blockcerts – an open-standard platform for storing academic credentials and professional certifications. Now, hundreds of graduates can show present immutable insight into past academic history to future employers.
The Open University teamed up with APPII, technology, and verification software to create a student management platform. This new development combines blockchain, smart contracts, and machine learning into one tool.
These are just a few examples, but they should be enough to understand how blockchain connects educators, students, and professionals. These are just cases for the last few years – just imagine the scope of future possibilities.
What Could Blockchains Do for Education?
The scope of blockchain-based applications is incredibly wide. But for the sake of being brief, we pinpointed five directions.
Blockchain can make transcript processing less time-consuming and less labor-intensive. Most academic institutions operate on manual entry, verification, and sometimes even access.
Traditional student record workflows can be turned into a unified system. In contrast to hyper-fractured paper-based and proprietary systems, a shared environment makes editing and retrieving records a breeze.
It will also encourage collaborative effort across departments, which are currently struggling with communication gaps.
Diplomas and Certificates
To bypass the need to issue and verify paper copies, students’ diplomas and credentials can be stored on the blockchain. And if needed for employers, graduates can simply send them a link to a blockchain-stored digital diploma.
Not only will it be convenient for applicants, but blockchain technology also benefits companies. Fake degrees are now a billion-dollar industry and cause real problems to employers and recruiters. Immutable records, on the other hand, are free from that risk.
Publishing on a blockchain could benefit new writers, researchers, and many others:
- Digital security of published work
- Copyright options to avoid literary theft
- Digital property management for earning royalties
- Borderless payment system for publishers and authors
- Resale of digital products with a transparent chain of transactions
File and Document Storage
Digital curricula, records, degrees, and other information takes up a lot of storage space. And when essential data is stored locally, it’s far too easy to lose the data. If hard drives and computers get damaged or compromised in any way, it can jeopardize many people’s future.
Cloud storage is one way to solve it. But it’s not immune from cyber threats, and the safety of data will rely solely on the hosting providers responsible for the storage. So, developers came up with an elevated solution – blockchain-based cloud storage.
Programs and Courses
Many blockchains support smart contracts, and here is why it’s great for education. Smart contracts automatically execute an agreement when certain conditions are met. Let’s say a professor sets up tasks for students through smart contracts.
The completion of each task could be automatically verified by blockchain, and the student will receive blockchain-backed credits.
Integration Issues Yet to Be Addressed
Here are the bottlenecks for blockchain technology:
- Legacy systems – Organizations aren’t ready to completely restructure their previous system or even embrace less invasive ways to integrate technologies.
- Scalability – Bitcoin can process 4.6 transactions per second, Ethereum – 15-45, whereas Visa can handle over 2,000 TPS.
- Environmental cost – Blockchain consumes huge amounts of energy, which many institutions don’t want to be associated with.
- Lack of technical knowledge – The blockchain landscape has a significant shortage of adequately trained and skilled specialists.
Though we said that these challenges haвn’t been addressed, we should mention that many people are trying and paying attention. Teams are developing solutions to connect legacy systems to a blockchain backend.
Bitcoin’s Lightning Network and Ethereum’s sharding are groundbreaking ways for scaling transactions. And lastly, with more educational institutions providing blockchain-related courses, the public will be fully ready for the transformation.
So, the future of blockchain-enabled education seems promising.
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