How Blockchain Can Benefit the Registrar's Office
Blockchain is the trendy buzzword of the moment. Powered by Blockchain, the education sector is being revolutionized through Educhain, an app that enables secure issuance, sharing, and verification of blockchain-enabled records. One of the greatest Blockchain applications is in the education sector. Students and administrators both benefit from Educhain, the world’s leading verifiable digital record Blockchain app. It is incredibly beneficial in the registrar office and will transform the education sector.
First, you might ask “what is Blockchain?” You might have heard of it floating around, in relation to “get rich quick” schemes like Bitcoin and Ethereum or in connection to big tech millionaires like Elon Musk and Tesla. It may seem distant and far away, in the indecipherable world of tech but blockchain has its place beyond cryptocurrency, tech bros and NFTs. As a new form of information storage, it will be incredibly useful for any industry that requires a fraud proof verifiable authentication and storage system of digital records. Blockchains are incredibly useful and versatile, allowing multiple across platform uses for its technology.
The modern world is fully digitalized and our everyday ordinary life is negotiated and processed through our iPhones and apps. It has seeped into our daily interactions like paying for a coffee with Apple Pay. We now go online to watch lectures online, parents learn how to cook new things on Youtube, and selfies are now de rigeur and everywhere. We can buy designer clothes and artisanal candles on Postmark, Etsy and eBay. Technology has sped up communication, information exchange through chat apps like WhatsApp and WeChat. Everything is available in an instant, in real time, over the internet. The internet has made the world smaller and interconnected and offers worlds of convenience, streamlining complicated processes. While spaces like retail have been early adopters, other institutions like academia have been slow to catch up.
The educational system still mostly uses an archaic paper-based system for informational storage and transference of transcripts and other authenticated papers. To apply for higher levels of education, scholarships, internships and graduate school, or to even transfer between schools or move residences, require cumbersome copies of paper transcripts, validated and authenticated by an authoritative third party. It may take up to weeks for students to receive and transfer pertinent information. This is no longer a sustainable useful method. To compete, the conservative academic sector must progress and adapt to our technologically advanced world.
Blockchain is poised to disrupt different industries and transform the way higher education and academic institutions do things, especially in the organization and transference of academic records.
Educhain is a simple user-friendly process. It enables universities to upload digital documents such as transcripts and credentials onto a blockchain that a student could then access through their digital passport on an app. Students have the freedom and mobility to share their digital data with other graduate programs, scholarships, and prospective employers. It makes everything easier and faster for both the students and the administrators at the universities. It is cost efficient, time saving and replaces an old, slow frustrating and expensive paper-based fraud prone process.
Educhain is currently dominant in the Middle East, with 7 major Universities as their clientele. This is just a start, the Middle East plans to have at least 50% of government data on the Blockchain in the near future, leading as an early adopter technologically forward nation. By offering an on premise customized private Blockchain at universities, it not only respects privacy laws, but it is also the only one of its kind in the world. Educhain will expand on a global scale, taking educational information storage and transference to the next level.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology may seem intimidating and inaccessible at first, solely in the realm of hackers and digital technologists armed with an army of computers mining for “bitcoin.” Yet, Blockchain is the next step in the evolution of human technology as a Data Ledger Technology (DLT), a new twist on historical ways of informational storage. From an oral tradition to a written language, the printing press and the Internet, Blockchain is the next step in the evolution of information systems.
Blockchain is applicable and can be used in the everyday world and has the advantages of being versatile, transparent, immutable and fraud resistant. It offers a private, resilient way of storing and transferring information. Higher education must keep up and adapt to our ever-changing digitizing world and leave the slow mistake-prone paper world behind. Blockchain will revolutionize our everyday world, making it more efficient, safer and private.
Blockchains, as a distributed ledger technology (DLT), are essentially, a digital ledger of data. This is a basic building block that can be distributed and transferred between different online members of a community. It is accessed through the interface of a server and requires permission to be transferred. Each time a block is added to the chain, it has to be verified through incredibly complex mathematical equations; this protects the information being hacked, the amount of energy and effort used to hack would outweigh the benefits of any hypothetical information or currency stolen. Each chain is verified automatically and are decentralized, permanent and untamperable pieces of information.
Hypothetically, any data that can be digitally coded, whether that be a currency, contracts, or transaction, can be uploaded to the Blockchain. Imagine pieces of ironclad lego that could have anything uploaded or saved onto it, that cannot be broken, or changed, a truly fortress-like unbreakable safe structure.
Blockchain transactions “are represented as ‘blocks’. Since everyone who is part of the blockchain network can view the complete record of transactions in the database, the system is transparent. Any addition to the chain must be verified and approved by other members of the blockchain. Because nothing can be changed after being added- corrections are completely new pieces of data that must be added alongside the old incorrect data, Blockchain improves compliance, verifies compliance and preserves secure integrity and thus, eliminates fraud.
Hypothetically, Blockchain would have prevented the “ Operation Varsity Blues scandal. Wealthy parents would not be able use money bribes to gain admission for their children. Identity, high school transcripts, digital student credentials would have to be verified through the Blockchain and any red flags would have indicated false test scores, false athletic abilities because the transaction would have required the agreement or validation. The improved record keeping makes it an undeniable solution for solving IP or copyright problems. One could register copyright patents and assets.
How can Blockchain improve the office of the registrar experience?
It provides a more efficient, streamlined and safe transference and secure organization of student records and transcripts. Traditionally, paper stored systems are slow, inefficient and require a lot of man power to administer and process. A student would be required to order by mail or in person, a transcript to complete graduation. Through educhain, a student would request and access their transcripts digitally through the blockchain. It would eliminate third party authenticators that can be costly for universities. The information could easily be transferred and accessible in one digital passport and it would be verified on the spot, rather than go through the tedious process of in person verification and authentication. It would eliminate the need for a third-party intermediary to validate or authenticate. As a result, Blockchain reduces overhead and administration work and streamlines business processes.
One example is the certification of course contents. Let’s say a student takes “algebra” at one university and wants to transfer to another university that requires this algebra prerequisite. The two “algebra” courses must be compared to ensure they have the same content. At the University level, this tedious process would be exemplified since it may involve the comparison and verification of the contents of a huge course load. One medical student had a course content of 700 pages that had to be compared, signed and stamped by one person. This process would be streamlined on a blockchain where the contents would be verified online instantaneously through a few clicks as well as provide a complete record of content courses and academic excellence. It would reduce the cost of manpower and the savings could be passed on to students, lowering the cost of tuition or allocate funds to other sorely needed avenues at higher learning institutions.
Here are some records that Blockchain could store:
Below are some of the items admission departments work with:
- Transfer credit documents
- Personal Learning Experience assets
- Diplomas, certificate and licenses
- Grades and transcripts
- Financial aid
- Badges and microcredentials
- Writing samples
- Letters of recommendation
- Medical records/immunizations/IEPs
- Verification of Identity – Proof of Residency/Address
- Driver’s license
- Verifiable digital diplomas
- Test scores
- Prior Learning Experience evidence, and the assessment of those assets toward course credit
- Documents and licenses from vendors and consultants
Blockchain organizes, manages and utilizes online information and data for students and faculty and can also provide data analytics for alumni donors and prospective students, monitoring their usage and data trail . It provides easier access and empowerment of students and a sense of resilience and security for online untamperable data.
Easier processing of open-source courses or short term courses
As we have seen during covid and the pandemic, education teaching and lectures have moved online. There are a fair bit of open source, online based lecture courses from coursera and even traditional institutions like MIT now offer short intensive diploma certificates. Higher level education is no longer barred and relegated to one location. Students from all over the world attend courses remotely, view online lectures and could in the future, receive a digital badge for courses completed. Employers now stress the technical proficiency of a student. As the world accelerates, students want a way to demonstrate their hireability immediately to future employers. Collecting paper transcripts from each program and comprehensive short course may be daunting and could take weeks. Edu Chain eliminates the wait. Digital badges could be uploaded immediately and verified. A student’s academic lifetime would be accessible in a one place passport. Moving between states, countries or universities would be simplified, making it more efficient and easier for all parties involved. Academia could become stateless and decentralized, allowing for global freedom and mobility.
Students are able to request a credential and receive it instantaneously with complete freedom over who to share it with. Employers are able to receive credentials digitally and verify them instantly.
Through Educhain, there is improved security, visibility, efficiency and greater access to credentials, records, and campus workflows prove that this technology is set to dismantle a traditionally paper-based, slow-to-innovate industry like higher education.
In light of the pandemic, online courses have flourished and the education process has mostly moved online. People are looking for more intensive, skills based, short courses to upgrade their skills. Studies have shown that older adults (medium age 50) are turning more and more to the internet to upgrade their skill set to stay competitive in the cutthroat job market. Using a blockchain allows students to collect the proof of completion and store it in one place. Eventually, digital badges may completely replace student transcripts.
One place passport
It also creates a one place academic passport where all academic experience is recorded, from varied things such as independent courses, transferred accounts, lone credits, internship experience, academic references; all of which can all be accessed in one place. That way students aren’t chasing down disparate and lone pieces of transcripts and other such academic records, creating a tenuous, frustrating and delayed expensive experience. Educhain eliminates such need and places the power back in your hands. This blockchain can contain information as varied as student attendance, grades, coursework and diploma as part of their blockchain records.
Saves money and time!
Institutions no longer have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to third-party digital credential-issuing services.
This blockchain information is un-tamperable and immutable— a new record must be created if you were to correct it, both previous incorrect and correct versions.
Reduce overhead and admin work. Moving between states and countries becomes a less complex, simple process, making it more efficient and easier for all parties involved. Blockchain can help to automate administrative processes.
Self actualization and the improved student experience
Perhaps, one of the biggest changes is the concept of self-actualization through the concept of Blockchain. Since the passport is literally in the student’s hands, it turns the onus away from a centralized institutional proffering of credentials, where the student must request paper transcripts, references and other pertinent information. It becomes easily accessible in their hands. It improves the student experience by empowering them to take charge of their own academic career. It is all in one place, and they can individually access the info and give permission to transfer or to show their records to prospective schools, graduate programs and employers. By returning the focus on the student, rather than positioning the academic institution in a paternal stance, it might provide a gamification of self-achievement and “self-sovereignty.”
They no longer need to ask permission for something that is rightfully theirs; there is an ownership of online identities and the freedom to control one’s own data and presentation of it. It may prove to be rewarding and enriching experience for students and create a more independent empowered mindset and approach towards one’s academic path.
Save storage space and resources
Blockchain would create a vast amount of storage space for universities. Hard drives are susceptible to damage and hacking and other human error. Cloud IT services can be too expensive for most post-secondary institutions. Blockchain is an inexpensive way to store data and files. In fact, approximately 1000 documents or diplomas can be uploaded to the blockchain for the affordable price of 10$. All it would take is the creation of an IT team and an infrastructure that supports blockchain.
Alternative forms of payment: Cryptocurrency
In the future, students can use cryptocurrency to pay for tuition and save on credit card fees. Currently, King’s College in New York City is the first university to accept cryptocurrency for tuition fees. It opens up another avenue for payment that is independent of the banking system and saves both parties hidden fees. It provides a transparent, safe way to transfer funds.
Other applications in Academia
Lastly, blockchain could provide a new model for exam taking and smart contracts for teachers and students. A teacher could upload test questions up to the blockchain and the student could access test questions through tablets and computers and the questions and answers would be verified in a safe fraud free manner. Having exams and testing on the blockchain would free up resources, allowing teachers and students to focus on what they do best: teaching and learning.
A student may have a specific skill like expert musical skills or athletic ability that could be verified by a teacher and a digital badge could be uploaded to the cloud.
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