Is blockchain the future of storing, transferring student records?
- Blockchain, a "decentralized ledger" technology developed alongside bitcoin, is being eyed in higher ed as a means of cheaply recording and vetting student credentials for employers.
- The approach would save money for institutions, as they would no longer need to operate their own databases since the information would move to a reportedly secure global public network.
- Sony Global Education is among vendors that have announced blockchain services, stating the technology could comprise an entirely new infrastructure system for assessing academic records over a secure network.
The cost savings of the blockchain aren't just on the institutional side — potential employers would benefit, too. According to CNBC, they'd save time spent calling the institution or money spent on a third party to vet candidates. It's an important consideration with partnerships between higher ed and corporations on the rise.
By design, the blockchain database reportedly can't go down or be maliciously altered, which should grant confidence that the records being accessed by employers or students are legitimate. That said, some skepticism is sure to remain, as some administrators may see it as only a matter of time before someone finds a way to exploit the technology. Still, though none are named specifically, Collaborative Consulting digital consultancy director Ed Featherston tells CNBC he's working with several institutions considering adoption — and alternative credentialing providers like San Francisco's Holberton School of software engineering are already getting a head start.
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