It wasn’t very long ago that the word “blockchain” didn’t mean much to anyone outside a small circle of tech enthusiasts. Today, nearly everyone has heard the word “blockchain,” even if most people aren’t exactly sure what it is or how it works. Most people are aware that blockchains are connected with cryptocurrency, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. As secure, decentralized ledgers, blockchains have a natural connection to other fields, especially education and healthcare. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways that blockchain can be used in education and the benefits it can bring to the classroom.
How Blockchains Work
Blockchains are distributed verified ledgers that are used to record information. Back in the days of paper ledgers, if one were to be damaged or destroyed, vital records disappeared with it. Therefore, having duplicate copies to prevent information loss was a good idea. Blockchain takes his idea one step further. Its nodes store copies of digital ledgers and continuously check them against other copies across the blockchain to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information. That way, if any node should be damaged or destroyed, the information in the ledger remains secure.
Educators are slowly coming to see the value of working with blockchains.
In today’s academic environment, students are disconnected from their coursework. Indeed, many students turn to professional essay writers from an online academic writing service like SmartWritingService.com to produce their writing for them. Online paper writing services can help do their writing faster, but they can also leave students wondering whether the credentials they earn actually represent a quality education vs. a transactional trade of essays for grades. Blockchain can help in turning college experiences into verifiable credentials.
Blockchains in Education and Its Benefits
There are many ways that the field of education can benefit from using blockchain. Let’s take a look at a few:
Student records can easily find a home in the blockchain. Processing, sending, and verifying student transcripts is a massively time-consuming task. Schools issuing transcripts must often manually verify student grades before sending out copies of the transcripts. Similarly, it is extremely difficult to verify the content of courses to avoid having a student take redundant or duplicate studies. For example, learning whether a course called “Historical Practices” covered historiography or the way people behaved in the past is hard. Learning whether two courses called “Calculus 2” covered the same concepts can be impossible. However, if course contents and transcript information were stored in the blockchain, everyone would be able to process records more quickly and get back to the business of learning faster.
Diplomas and certificates
Similarly, student diplomas and credentials also need to be verified when students move on to a new academic program or enter the workforce. If these records were stored in the blockchain, individuals would not need to have their credentials verified on paper by the issuing university but could simply provide a link to a digital diploma. MIT has been issuing this kind of digital diploma since 2017 in an effort to cut down on people who forge degrees or claim false credentials on their resumes.
Your education provides you with a number of skills that are important in the workplace, whether this is speaking a second language, technical writing skills, knowledge of types of computer programming, or anything else. The blockchain can help you to prove your skills by providing a way for expert third parties to certify the skills in a way that employers can check up on and use to confirm that you possess relevant job skills that may not be easy to demonstrate otherwise.
Digital learning is a growing field, and with more people are taking courses online. However, online learning management systems are often clunky and difficult to use. Blockchain can help with some of the problems students face in digital courses by creating ways for instructors to set up lessons to release as students complete tasks, and for schools to tie coursework completion to instructor pay, perhaps by releasing crypto coins to the instructor when students finish tasks.
Academic research is essential to make the education industry function, but getting published is a difficult process that is prey to predatory publishers who take advantage of authors, particularly new ones. Blockchain offers an interesting alternative that would allow academic writers to publish independently or which could empower quality journals to more effectively manage payment and rights without the need for the major database companies to take a cut of the profits.
Many of the record-keeping and record-verifying activities described in this article are not just time-consuming but also expensive. By moving many of these activities out of offices and onto the blockchain, schools can save money. They will need less storage space, less office space, and fewer workers to run records and archives. When schools automate these processes, they might be able to pass on the lower costs to students, either in terms of lower fees for records services or possibly in terms of lower tuition if courses can be automated and professors are able to handle more students with fewer resources.
Blockchain is already having an impact on education, but with a little creativity, it could transform the education sector in ways we can only begin to imagine.