Keeping up with the changing times, a team of Oxford researchers and academics are all set to launch the world’s first ‘blockchain university’, with teaching set to begin in early 2019. Woolf University will be the first-of-its-kind to implement the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin [BTC]. The academics claim that the system will make education cheaper for students in comparison to traditional universities, while simultaneously increasing the pay of teachers.
The university’s major selling point is the low cost of courses. This is because of the use of their own blockchain data ledger which eradicates the need for regulators and administrative teams. The feature can also help distributed governance structures and ensure data security.
According to Joshua Broggi, the founder of Woolf University, blockchain technology can also help solve various problems plaguing the education industry. A distributed ledger can help ensure that an individual does not get a degree from a university they did not graduate from, says Broggi. By reducing the number of middlemen and automating administrative processes, a distributed ledger can facilitate cost savings.
Furthermore, it also verifies whether a candidate earned a credential from an out-of-business institution or not. Another benefit of deploying the blockchain technology is the accumulation of credit from multiple providers. Broggi says:
“We use a blockchain to create efficiencies by managing custodianship of student tuition, enforcing regulatory compliance for accreditation, and automating a number of processes.”
The first college to use the platform will be Ambrose, which will provide a digital version of the Oxford tutorials at the cost of $400 per session. Broggi expects the system to gain groundbreaking popularity, with more players coming in at lower costs.
The university will also enable students from outside the European Union [EU] to get a complete EU degree. The attendance of students and teachers will be tracked using a smart “check-in”, says Broggi.
Though Woolf University is the first full-fledged educational institution to explore the technology, many others have also experimented with the technology. United State’s Arizona State University has deployed a blockchain research lab to analyze how the technology “positively impacts the world”.
The project has also attracted criticism, with some blockchain and education experts questioning the need for using the technology in the education sector. Michele Finck, author of ‘Blockchain Regulation and Governance in Europe’ opined that the project in itself was questioning the very premise of university education in Europe.
According to him, though the use of blockchain technology is a good educational addition, university education has more to do with “soft skills and being part of a real-world community that supports, stimulates and challenges you in your way into adulthood.”
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