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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Campus Blockchain Initiative Underway

Blockchain technology, developed as a digital ledger to record transactions using the digital currency bitcoin, is finding its way onto campus. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and educational software provider Learning Machine recently launched an open-source initiative that allows institutions to create, share, and verify blockchain-based educational credentials.

The potential uses of blockchain technology on campus include providing credential verification and tracking students’ progress through their coursework. Through the platform, credentials collected by students can be securely shared with anyone, such as an employer, who requires official documents.

The platform ensures the documentation sent is authentic and valid, according to a release on Blockchain News.

“The goal of our collaboration with the MIT Media Lab is to empower individuals with shareable credentials that can be used peer-to-peer and verified as authentic,” said Chris Jagers, co-founder and CEO of Learning Machine. “The current system for sharing official records is slow, complicated, expensive, and broken for everyone in a myriad of ways. The first generation of students to grow up entirely during the Internet age have started applying for college, and many admissions officers can share stories about applicants trying to text photos of their academic records. The expectations, while seemingly humorous, convey an honest impression about the way things should work. It should be that easy for people to share certified records directly with others and have them trusted as authentic.”

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