How Is Higher Education Keeping up with Blockchain?
It is no longer a question of if blockchain will impact the way institutions function, but rather how and to what degree. Blockchain technology is being explored in far more than just the cryptocurrency world, with governments, healthcare, charitable organizations, fashion, agriculture, and more poking around to see how blockchain might be able to solve existing challenges.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that blockchain has made its way into the higher education system. Blockchain technology is already in use at some institutions in the form of digital credentials, and that’s just the beginning.
The demand for talent in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors is pushing many universities to develop related curriculum. Students are well aware of the market and have been a large part of that push. According to CNBC, a student at Stanford convinced 12 other students to petition for crypto courses in 2018. The curriculum created in response filled up and had a waiting list of “more than 50 people.”
Blockchain-based credentials, though still not a mainstream concept, are somewhat old news. Back in February, BTCManager reported on Credly, a leader in digital credentials. Even before that report, several institutions had tested the concept. Central New Mexico Community College delivered blockchain-based diplomas in December 2017. MIT also issued blockchain-based diplomas in 2017 following a test program in 2015.
The University College London and the University of Nicosia have also achieved the feat. Just this month, the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) announced they had successfully delivered their first blockchain-based diplomas, which are accessible to graduates for sharing with any third party they choose via an app. The degrees are verifiable via SmartDegrees, a startup based in Spain. It only seems logical that more universities will follow suit.
Regarding blockchain and higher education, BTCManager detailed several ways blockchain could improve the higher education system, particularly regarding finance.
At this point, it seems quite likely that many of those solutions, as well as solutions for a wide range of industries looking to blockchain for answers, could come from higher education institutions. Research labs are becoming established parts of many learning centers, many of which are networking with industry leaders, developing prototypes, and collaborating across disciplines.