Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blockchain Makes Keeping Records Easier

Technology developed alongside the digital cryptocurrency bitcoin may provide colleges and universities with an inexpensive and secure way to handle student records. Blockchain makes it possible to deposit information to a global network that is both publicly available and secure.

“Because of the design of the blockchain-distributed database, it cannot go down and cannot be altered, making the data always available and secure … the blockchain does this free of charge,” Sylvain Kalache, co-founder at Holberton School in San Francisco, said in a report for CNBC. The software engineering institution was established as a project-based alternative to college and plans to share academic certificates on blockchain starting next year.

Universities can use blockchain to provide microcourse and microcredential verification, as well as to track and record student coursework. The technology also makes it possible to easily control who views student transcripts and to securely transmit the data.

“The technology has the potential to realize an entirely new infrastructure for sharing records securely over the network in any number of ways, opening new doors of possibility for academic records and how they are assessed,” Sony Global Education said in a press release last February announcing plans for its own blockchain service.

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