Blockchain technology came into the mainstream with the boom of cryptocurrency. It is a form of decentralized and secure electronic ledger that can be used to track transactions.
Blockchain provides a platform for secure transactions to occur and be recorded. Once it is in the chain, the history cannot be wiped out or altered by a single person or entity and is accessible to all those with the right credentials and access.
Blockchain Applications in Industries
Even though it started out as a supporting technology for Bitcoins, Blockchain has since found its way into many other sectors.
Today, in the age of information, the Cyberspace is a vast open trading ground for all those who wish to participate in it. It is accessible and also competitive. With all companies maintaining an online presence, the amount of transactions done online has grown tremendously in just the past few decades.
With this increase in the use of Cyberspace come several problems regarding finding digital counterparts for the physical tools used in the real world. One such device is a ledger or a record of all transactions, kept secure yet transparent. And Blockchain is perfect for this role in the Cyberspace.
Blockchain in EdTech
The Blockchain is a digital, decentralized, encrypted ledger which can be used to store classified data. This data can be transaction history, certificates, ID proof, or even secure credentials. This aspect of Blockchain proves to be useful in EdTech.
In the twenty-first century, Education is evolving and is gradually escaping the confines of traditional classrooms. The focus of today is on online education. There are many online learning platforms, some of which are sites or courseware maintained by reputed schools, colleges and universities.
Such a platform enables thousands to study from their homes, workplaces and even while on the move. There are also programs which allow people to earn degrees online.
However, all traditional schools maintain records of their students and faculty. These records include Academic History, Track Record, Certificates, and so on. These colleges tend to use physical registers, or sometimes offline digital storage to store files regarding every student and faculty in their institution.
These records are crucial to the proper running of an Educational Institution and the welfare of the students. Academic Record is used to validate and verify the legitimacy of the degree of a student.
This is where Blockchain comes in. The inherent nature of Blockchain makes it the perfect candidate for the job. It is a ledger that stores these pieces of information. It also allows the users to monitor these in real time.
Blockchain as the ultimate ledger
The Blockchain is a system where information is shared across all the terminals and access points that form the network. There is no master copy, which means that the data is decentralized and hence hard to corrupt.
The network also uses a system of credentials to control the access to the stored data. This prevents any misuse of this information and also makes tracking easier.
Certificate Generation and Storage
The main drawback of Online Universities was the lack of a trustworthy system to generate and share a valid certificate for an individual who has learned using their services. At times, this has proven to invalidate any claims of the individual and the agency regarding their educational qualifications.
Blockchain offers the ability to monitor, access, store, edit and erase the information stored in it, given that the credentials are valid and legitimate. This means that it is the perfect system to generate, save and share certificates.
By using Blockchain, concerned authorities can generate a certificate regarding an individual, which is fully secured and validated, and can then instantly share it to the relevant person or anyone else in need of that certificate.
Since it is Blockchain generated, the validity of the Certificate can also be reiterated through the network if need be. Not only that this reduces a lot of hassle on all ends regarding storage, transport and validating these certificates, it also helps to prevent acts of forging said certificates.
People sometimes use online Universities for faking their educational qualifications. This result in many people getting fake certificates by impersonation, or forging, or having someone else get it on their behalf.
If caught, not only they become frauds, but it also questions the integrity of their degree and the issuing authority.
Therefore, verifying the identity of an individual is essential for Online Education Hubs. This can be done with Blockchain as well.
In Blockchain, the identity of an individual can be linked to their profile and later their certificate, which can then only be validated by that individual. This minimizes cases of forgery or identity theft.
The fundamental benefit of this system is a foolproof online educational model. However, this also restores some legitimacy into online degrees, which can benefit millions of those who hold those certificates.
Online Universities and Blockchain: The Verdict
Blockchain does not directly involve itself with academics or the studying process but performs a rather crucial managerial task by being the record keeper. They are more secure and more convenient than the storage facilities of conventional systems, and they bring legitimacy to the Online Learning system. This can finally get both online and offline education centers on equal footing.
The illegitimacy of these online institutions and their vulnerability to scams is what makes people wary of them. Other than those aspects, this is a great way to bring education to those parts of the world which are restricted by time, distance, and other factors. Therefore, Blockchain proves to be an irreplaceable asset in the field of EdTech.