RMIT University Students to Have Their Credentials Stored Digitally on a Blockchain

According to ZDNet, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has partnered with Credly, a digital credential platform, to give RMIT University students the option to have their information, data, and skills recorded digitally on the blockchain. The information can also be shared with others and professional social media websites like LinkedIn.

RMIT is proud to undergo the new initiative which is a great way to show “early and significant applications of blockchain technology.”

“RMIT is an innovator, and with this initiative, we’re exploring the latest application of this technology as part of our commitment to enhancing our students’ experience,” said professor Belinda Tynan, the deputy vice-chancellor and vice president. “It’s another way that we are working with industry to demonstrate we are providing real-world benefits and meaningful student outcomes.”

Jonathan Finkelstein, the founder, and CEO of Credly similarly agreed and noted that the collaboration with RMIT is also a great step forward for the blockchain industry. The partnership provides Credly the opportunity to test blockchain applications in the education sector.

Verified Credentials on the Blockchain

Chris Jagers, the CEO of Learning Machine, also mentioned on his Medium blog that storing information and credentials on the blockchain can transform the existing system used to share official records.

“The primary reason students aren’t trusted to handle their own official credentials is fear of fraud,” said Jagers. “However, we now have the technical infrastructure to ensure that official documents are tamper proof and therefore shareable.”

Jagers stated that when it comes to education, having verified credentials on the blockchain can also speed up and cheapen the process for all members involved. Students can easily access their official records and would no longer need to pay to have their records shared with others. Employers can easily see applicants educational records. Colleges and universities would also have a streamlined decentralized system that stores all of the academic records from all students.

University Organizations Eager to Test Blockchain Technology

RMIT however, isn’t the only college looking to upload student credentials to the blockchain. Jagers’ Learning Machine has also been working with the MIT Media Lab. In June 2016, they created the first open-sourced version of a project called Blockcerts, which is also aimed at storing certifications on the blockchain.

Edscoop also reported in April 2018, that Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is releasing a pilot program for 1,000 alumni to give them the opportunity to have their credentials recorded on the blockchain. Colin Van Ostern, the college’s Vice President of workforce initiatives mentioned that, while the credentials won’t replace the original transcripts offered by the University, they will act as another digitized version of the student’s academic record. Like RMIT’s blockchain records, these credentials can be shared on social media. SNHU has partnered with the edtech consortium IMS Global to create consistent standards for the emerging technology.  

“[The blockchain-enabled credentials] are portable, secure, user-owned credentials that contain a representation of the degree itself, as well as a list of the course equivalents that the student completed while enrolled, down to the more granular competencies,” said Van Ostern.

RMIT Recently Launched Australia’s First University Unit on Blockchain

According to Business Insider, RMIT has also developed Australia’s first university unit on blockchain technology. The course was developed by Accenture, Fintech hub Stone and Chalk, and RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub. As seen on RMIT’s blockchain course’s website, students will gain a strong conceptual understanding of blockchain technology, its use cases across different industries, and have a deeper technical understanding of blockchain and its future applications.

“With every major innovation in technology comes great opportunities and new risks,” said Helen Souness, the CEO of RMIT Online. “At RMIT Online, we believe individuals and businesses need to understand technology quickly, to adapt their strategy to meet these opportunities. This course aims to do that.”

The RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub was originally established in September 2017 and is recognized as the world’s first research center that looks at the social science aspects behind blockchain technology.

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