Education and Blockchain: How Universities Utilize Immutability to Enhance Data Integrity
Blockchains have showcased they have that capability to transform entire industries by minimizing the requirement for human trust and instead rely on immutable data. Education is an underpenetrated sector with regards to distributed ledgers, but this is quickly changing as more universities understand the potential this technology offers, as reported by Education Dive, October 17, 2019.
Anyone who has gone to university knows the struggle of obtaining a transcript – or ones academic record – owing to the incredibly inefficient back end paperwork.
At an education convention this week, Arizona State University and California State University detailed their newest foray that relies on a blockchain to seamlessly issue student transcripts. This database stands to benefit university staff (professors and administrators) while giving students the ability to provide additional information.
The blockchain is currently in its minimum viable product (MVP) phase and is being maintained by Salesforce’s open-source team.
According to sources, the core premise is to properly establish the various credentials offered by the universities, but participants understand this design is incredibly useful for students as they fuse into the workforce.
Finance and payments, supply chain and logistics, as well as other industries with multiple counterparties and vendors are sectors that have already been identified as disruptable by blockchain.
Education is a completely new frontier, but there are plenty of initiatives working behind the scenes to bring the technology to a timelessly valuable institution.
Problems Thus Far
To be honest, education was initially touted as an easy-to-disrupt industry that blockchain could significantly advance. But over the years, this narrative has failed to meaningfully materialize.
Gartner reports that this is due to mass fragmentation on an industry level. A recent report suggested that 9 out of 10 blockchain implementations will have to be replaced or remodeled. This boils down to the nascent properties of blockchain and the lack of solid expertise as to how these networks function.
Harvard, MIT, and a group of other universities are in the process of uncovering how digital records on an immutable database can be made secure without deteriorating user-experience (UX).
To implement a blockchain, one must know about blockchains. So in terms of education, this a paradox where educational institutions (and other businesses) cannot implement properly distributed networks until they themselves research and learn about it.