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RMIT to provide blockchain credentials

Students at Melbourne’s RMIT will begin to receive blockchain-enabled credentials after the university announced a partnership with digital provider Credly, in a move that sees academic achievements brought into the world of currency.

Students will receive blockchain-enabled credentials for some RMIT courses. Photo: Mike AlonzoStudents will receive blockchain-enabled credentials for some RMIT courses. Photo: Mike Alonzo

The credentials provide data, including how a skill was assessed, and whether it expires

The arrangement will see students who complete RMIT’s Developing Blockchain Strategy course as well as parts of the RMIT Creds initiative receive digital badges evidencing their skills and abilities.

“Most transcripts at best have a course title on them; even the person who completed that course is sometimes hard pressed to remember”

“We’re exploring the latest application of this technology as part of our commitment to enhancing our students’ experience”, said Belinda Tynan, RMIT deputy vice-chancellor education.

Typically known for its use in non-traditional currency transactions, blockchain is increasingly being used as a secure and verifiable way to send information. Credly’s co-founder and CEO Jonathan Finkelstein said by doing so the company recognised that “currency in the modern labour market is your skills and your abilities”.

“What creates efficiencies in the labour market is when the skills and abilities, like any currency, is backed by the full faith and credit of the institution that issues that currency,” he told The PIE News.

According to Finkelstein, blockchain-enabled credentials provide a better solution for both graduates and employers, noting that the most common means of proving skills is through an academic transcript which may contain information graduates don’t want employers to see.

“The other shortcoming… is most transcripts, at best, have a course title on them, and those course titles are traditionally abbreviated and they’re also fixed in time,” he said.

“They’re not very rich in terms of data; even the person who completed that course is sometimes hard pressed to remember.”

For employers, the credentials also provide significantly more data, he added, including the ability to understand how a skill was assessed, how many other people possess that skill, and whether it expires.

Blockchain was a major talking point at the 2018 Groningen Declaration Network conference, with delegates noting its capacity to provide portability of academic credentials across countries. Earlier this year, WES announced its own set of digital credential badges.

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