Blockchain in HE: Records Management (2)

Russel (2017) reported that in summer 2015, Sony Global Education began developing a blockchain-based digital platform for the storage and management of educational records. Sony stated the project was undertaken to combat fraud and allow third party access to job applicants’ educational history. Via the Sony platform, records can be shared as e-mail or hardcopy. Importantly, data from multiple institutions can be aggregated and secured as a unified record, with particulars retained. Records follow their learner-owner, showing auto-populated, up-to-date “live” information to any permission-granted third party. For all parties, information validity is assured. Sony’s design operates on two existing technological backbones: the IBM Cloud and the Linux Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

Turkanović et al (2018) propose “EduCTX”, a globally trusted, decentralized HE credit and grade record based on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). The design’s interoperability architecture would enable HE credit and grade sharing. The design simplifies CV preparation and admissions processes. Paperless retention of important documents is possible. For HE institutions, data is accessible and need only be input once. All participating institutions use a common interface, so no specialist IT skills have to be paid for. HE institutions could verify (by manual or automated means) a student’s qualifications and learning history at a finer level than is possible through certificate and transcript sifting.

HE institutions traditionally record student learning data in proprietary formats, hence interoperability is zero. Language, conventions, scripts, and administrative barriers incur cost. The blockchain basis of EduCTX makes storage and access independent of any intermediating entity. Such systems exist already in healthcare and electoral applications.