Abstract: Blockchain Revolution & Higher Education

Blockchain Revolution & Higher Education” by Dan Tapscott and Alex Tapscott in Educause Review March/April 2017 


Educause Review (why IT matters to higher education): “What if there was an Internet of value — a global, distributed, highly secure platform, ledger, or database where we could store and exchange things of value and where we could trust each other without powerful intermediaries? That is the blockchain.”  “The blockchain can be programmed to record virtually everything of value and importance to humankind, starting with birth certificates and moving on to educational transcripts, social security cards, student loans, and anything else that can be expressed in code. “  A new pedagogy includes using blockchain to track student involvement in projects and experiential work rather than traditional lecture/testing class models. Students could show skills learned before getting their degree, employers could query the blockchain to find students with a particular learned skill set even before a degree is earned.  (Melanie Swan is looking to the blockchain to tackle student debt head-on. She is the founder of the Institute for Blockchain Studies. – someone/org we should look into??)  Using a blockchain to track a student’s progress in mastering the course material, would allow scholarships to provide smaller sums of money based directly on continued progress, and the blockchain provides a better way to prevent fraudulent use of that scholarship money.  “The blockchain provides a rich, secure, and transparent platform on which to create a global network for higher learning. We believe that higher education works best when it works for all types of teaching and learning, and we believe that this new platform is an engine of inclusion.”  Blockchain technology has the potential to create innovations in higher education in areas such as student records management, teaching, education funding and value and the sharing of information and educational materials on a global network. The argument is that these changes are in the best interests of students despite potential pushback from faculty and administration for uprooting the status quo.

Tags: blockchains, higher education, articles, intermediate level