Blockchain represents the 2nd generation of the Internet and holds te potential to disrupt money, business, and government, and yes, higher education.
According to Coinbase research performed by Coinbase exchange in August 2018, 42% of the world´s top 50 universities offer at least one cryptocurrency and blockchain course. It also shows that scholars from a wide-ranging array of majors are interested in taking this sector.
In this guide, we will examine why educational institutions should include crypto and blockchain courses.
Why Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Courses Should Added in Higher Education
In an interview with Ripple, Professor Naoyuki Iwashita, a Japanese economist, and professor at Kyoto University. He describes that blockchain and digital assets must be integrated into the curriculum as a state-of-the-art interface between engineering, business, and law.
Ripple launched the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) in mid-2019. The initiative supports educational institutes globally with financial resources, data, and personnel to train their learners in blockchain tech.
As part of the partnership, the Japanese university is the first educational institution in the country to set up an XRP Validator Node to verify and process transactions in the ledger.
Moreover, the Joint Research Centre for the European commission earlier published a report that highlights how blockchain technology could improve the education sector, from ushering in paperless degrees and certificates to tracking citations and protecting intellectual property.
Through several case studies at universities based in Europe, the report revealed that the relationship between blockchain and education is in its early stages and provided suggestions on how the affiliation can be nurtured.
Smart classrooms aren’t too far off, and blockchain tech may well become a fundamental part of educational institutions worldwide in the near future. Furthermore, the general public needs to be equipped and to comprehend what to expect. University courses can teach people to operate and transact with diligence through the new blockchain ecosystem.
In what could bring crypto and blockchain to mainstream educational institutions, businesses and universities are increasingly teaming up to uncover more ways that blockchain technology can revolutionize higher education.
For instance, in July 2018, IBM and Columbia University launched a new partnership, dubbed the ‘Columbia–IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency’, which will handle research that explores more ways to use blockchain in universities and colleges.
Additionally, following MIT’s success of digital credentials, nine post-secondary institutions have united to develop a free service through which learners can store and share academic credentials from the various source – thereby forming a global infrastructure that will anchor academic achievements
The Potential of Blockchain on Higher Education
The digital experts at Salesforce have confidence that blockchain tech is set to change every industry, including education. So, how exactly will blockchains disrupt the education sector? Here are several examples:
Student records and credentialing
Some institutions see blockchain as a flawless tech to store, trace, and use students’ credentials. Blockchain certificates can allow students to get quick and convenient access to their academic records and share this info with potential employers.
As such, employers won’t have to contact universities and colleges to get information about students’ accomplishments.
Moreover, with fake certifications and degrees being peddled on the dark web, it would be wise for workforce managers and school personnel to employ blockchain tech for making credentials more credible.
Several use cases for storing and securing academic credentials are already underway. For instance, using IBM Blockchain via the IBM Cloud, Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education developed a platform that assembles and manages student records from educational institutions, which school administrators and employers can use to verify the trustworthiness of the credentials submitted to them.
Revamping the Knowledge Reward System
Startup Knowledge.io is looking to transform the way knowledge acquisition is rewarded via its blockchain-based Knowledge Score system. The score observers and measures a student’s proficiency in a range of academic topics and rewards them with ‘knowledge tokens’ for participating.
Unlike old-fashioned academic rewards given to high achievers, knowledge tokens can be used to procure products from the Knowledge.io marketplace for further learning.
According to the CEO of Knowledge.io’s Marcia Hales, books and video tutorials will be ingestible, and Q&A sets will be routinely created around them for use in education, training, assessment, and certification.
- Fighting Plagiarism
Blockchain technology in higher education could be deployed to ensure the secure storage of academic information.
In the academic world where it is especially important to detect instances of plagiarism, work could be independently verified and agreed as original via a blockchain and referenced only once.
Every usage of academic content could be recorded into the blockchain, and the owner could effectively control the access. The application of the content can then be tracked online, and ownership easily verified.
Documents or files that belong to students and teachers could also be kept safe and elude theft or forgery.
- Innovation Learning Platform
One of the most promising applications of blockchain in education is the development of intricate learning platforms. For example, the Education Ecosystem platform is one of the pioneering projects that utilize blockchain tech to connect academicians, scholars, developers, and content creators.
The universities can use the same standard to create internal networks and allow students to access learning materials and share their projects and concepts.
Top Universities Offering Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Courses
- New York University (NYU)
Though NYU doesn’t accept crypto as payment yet, it does offer cryptocurrency and blockchain technology courses.
Their initial crypto course was kick-started back in 2014, dubbed the “Law and Business of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies Series.”
- The University of Nicosia
Based out of the small middle-east country Cyprus, Nicosia University offers the world’s first Master’s degree in digital currencies.
The first leg of the program is a pre-requisite, free 12-session MOOC on digital currencies taught by leaders of the industry like Antonis Polemitis. This first program is then followed up by an MSc in Digital Currency degree program.
The target audience for the program is essentially entrepreneurs, bankers, accountants, auditors, development experts, regulatory policymakers, and computer scientists.
- Universidad Europea Madrid
This university offers a unique free course on BTC and blockchain, referred to as the Postgraduate Diploma in Bitcoin and Blockchain. It teaches interested learners on how to make Bitcoin-enabled apps.
Interestingly, the course requires no prior knowledge of BTC but does recommend a basic knowledge of Python and Unix computer languages.
Learners are taught the aspects of cryptos, smart contracts, blockchain distributed ledger technologies (DLT), as well as consensus systems.
To narrow down the vast subject of cryptos, they have only taken the case studies of BTC and ETH.
- Duke University
The university offers a course called “Blockchain and Innovation” for its undergraduate students, which is managed by a group of scholars and professors using a Duke Blockchain Lab founded by Duke University.
The class aims to inspire students to explore this new technology. It organizes events, talks, and seminars where students discuss blockchain tech, cryptography, cryptocurrencies, and non-financial blockchain use cases.
The Bottom Line
Blockchain and cryptocurrency education can improve the education system in many ways. The tech is flawless for secure information storage, distribution, and networking.
With the deployment of this innovative system, many academic processes can become quicker, easier, and more secure.
Because blockchain use in the education space is still new and relatively unexplored, there are a lot of unanswered questions. It is clear, however, that the possibilities are endless.
As school administrators look to the future, they would be well advised to think of how to harness and employ this powerful and remarkable tech.