If you’ve followed the news over the past few months, you’ve probably heard about blockchain. For a lot of people, it’s a difficult concept to grasp—an abstract technological concept that’s relevance is in its applications. In this new event, library technology expert Jason Griffey provides you with a thorough and clear explanation of what blockchain is, how it works, and why it’s important for libraries. In half an hour, Griffey explains what you need to know—quick, easy, and right to the point. If you don’t understand blockchain now, join us for this microlearning event, and in just 30 minutes, you will better grasp blockchain and why it’s relevant to libraries.
Microcredentials, or short-form online learning programs, is the latest buzzword that higher education providers are latching onto. They come with diminutive names such as Micromasters (by several universities working with edX) and nanodegrees (by Udacity). But they have the potential to shake up graduate education, potentially reducing demand for longer, more-traditional professional programs. At the core of the trend is the idea that professionals will go “back to school” repeatedly over their lifetimes, rather than carving out years at a time for an MBA or technical degree.
Credential Engine, a nonprofit funded by the Lumina Foundation, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, today launched its Credential Registry, a digital platform where institutions can upload degrees and credentials so prospective students can search for and compare credentials side-by-side.
Udacity won a trademark for Nanodegree last year. And in April, the nonprofit edX, founded by MIT and Harvard University to deliver online courses by a consortium of colleges, applied for a trademark on the word MicroMasters. And MicroDegree? Yep, that’s trademarked too, by yet another company.
colleges and universities that seek to meet corporate needs must move beyond monolithic programs and think in terms of competencies, unbundling curriculum, modularizing and “microlearning.” Many institutions are already pioneering efforts in this direction, from the certificate- and badge-oriented University of Learning Store (led by the Universities of Wisconsin, California, Washington and others) to Harvard Business School’s HBX, and the new “iCert” that we developed at Northeastern University. These types of shorter-form, competency-oriented programs can better fit corporate demands for targeted and applied learning.
PROGRAM FEES $2,300 STARTS ON November 28, 20182 months, online
6-8 hours per week
A Digital Revolution Is Underway.
In a rapidly expanding digital marketplace, legacy companies without a clear digital transformation strategy are being left behind. How can we stay on top of rapid—and sometimes radical—change? How can we position our organizations to take advantage of new technologies? How can we track and combat the security threats facing all of us as we are swept forward into the future?
Who is this Program for?
Professionals in traditional companies poised to implement strategic change, as well as entrepreneurs seeking to harness the opportunities afforded by new technologies, will learn the fundamentals of digital transformation and secure the necessary tools to navigate their enterprise to a digital platform.
Participants come from a wide range of industries and include C-suite executives, business consultants, corporate attorneys, risk officers, marketing, R&D, and innovation enablers.
<h3 “>Your Learning Journey
This online program takes you through the fundamentals of digital technologies transforming our world today. Led by MIT faculty at the forefront of data science, participants will learn the history and application of transformative technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, IoT, and cybersecurity as well as the implications of employing—or ignoring—digitalization.
Blockchain: Recommendations for the Information Profession
Monday, September 24, 2018 12:00 pm
Central Daylight Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)
Blockchain technology is being discussed widely, but without clear directions for library applications. The Blockchain National Forum, funded by IMLS and held at San Jose State University’s iSchool in Summer 2018, brought together notable experts in the information professions, business, government, and urban planning to discuss the issues and develop recommendations on the future uses of blockchain technology within the information professions. In this free webinar, Drs. Sandy Hirsh and Sue Alman, co-PIs of the project, will present the recommendations made throughout the year in the Blockchain blog, Library 2.0 Conference,Blockchain Applied: Impact on the Information Profession, and the National Forum.
Q/S TO ASK: WHAT KINDS OF DATA AND RECORDS MUST BE STORED AND PRESERVES exactly the way they were created (provenance records, transcripts). what kinds of info are at risk to be altered and compromised by changing circumstances (personally identifiable data)
515 rule: BC can be hacked if attacked by a group of miners controlling more than 50% of the network
Standards Issues: BC systems- open ledger technology for managing metadata. baseline standards will impact future options. can BC make management of metadata worth. Is it worth, or more cautious.
Potential Use cases: archives and special collections where provenance and authenticity are essential for authoritative tracking. digital preservation to track distributed digital assets. BC-based currencies for international financial transactions (to avoid exchange rates ILL and publishing) . potential to improve ownership and first sale record management. credentialing: personal & academic documents (MIT already has transcripts and diplomas of students in BC – personal data management and credentialing electronically).
public libraries: house docs of temporarily displaced or immigrants. but power usage and storage usage became problems.
Blockchain will have the biggest value in higher education in areas where trust is essential to the value chain in institutional operations, such as evaluation of student transcripts, processing of applications and maintenance of articulation agreements, said Oral Roberts University CIO Michael Mathews, at The Blockchain in Education Conference hosted by the institution in May, reports Campus Technology.
From an infrastructure standpoint, Mathews said institutions have to establish a secure digital identity by investing in software that allows the credential recipient and granter to have a seamless and trusted connection, allowing for students to have a diploma that is stored safely within their digital wallet. This could mean working with a third-party application developer or developing the capability in-house.
But before fully investing in blockchain, higher education leaders must take these steps, said Mathews:
Spend a significant amount of time researching how the technology is impacting the industry and educate staff about it;
test the technology to see if it follows validation and security procedures; and
collaborate with other institutions to share best tips and practices.
1. Using a blockchain for automatic recognition and transfer of credits
The decline in first-time, first-year student enrollments is having a real financial impact on a number of institutions across the United States and focusing on transfer students (a pool of prospects twice as large) has become an important strategy for many. But credit articulation presents a real challenge for institutions bringing in students from community colleges. While setting standardized articulation requirements across the nation presents a high hurdle, blockchain-supported initiatives may hold great promise for university and city education systems looking to streamline educational mobility in their communities.
2. Blockchains for tracking intellectual property and rewarding use and re-use of that property
If researchers were able to publish openly and accurately assess the use of their resources, the access-prohibitive costs of academic book and journal publications could be circumvented, whether for research- or teaching-oriented outputs. Accurately tracking the sharing of knowledge without restrictions has transformative potential for open-education models.
3. Using verified sovereign identities for student identification within educational organizations
The data footprint of higher education institutions is enormous. With FERPA regulations as well as local and international requirements for the storage and distribution of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), maintaining this data in various institutional silos magnifies the risk associated with a data breach. Using sovereign identities to limit the proliferation of personal data promotes better data hygiene and data lifecycle management and could realize significant efficiency gains at the institutional level.
4. Using a blockchain as a lifelong learning passport
Educational institutions and private businesses partner with online course delivery giants to extend the reach of their educational services and priorities. Traditional educational routes are increasingly less normal and in this expanding world of providers, the need for verifiable credentials from a number of sources is growing. Producing a form of digitally “verifiable CVs” would limit credential fraud, and significantly reduce organizational workload in credential verification.
5. Using blockchains to permanently secure certificates
The open source solution Blockcerts already enables signed certificates to be posted to a blockchain and supports the verification of those certificates by third parties.
When an institution issues official transcripts, obtaining copies can be expensive and burdensome for graduates. But student-owned digital transcripts put the power of secure verification in the hands of learners, eliminating the need for lengthy and costly transcripts to further their professional or educational pursuits. An early mover, Central New Mexico Community College, debuted digital diplomas on the blockchain in December of 2017.
6. Using blockchains to verify multi-step accreditation
As different accreditors recognize different forms of credentials and a growing diversity of educational providers issue credentials, checking the ‘pedigree’ of a qualification can be laborious. Turning a certification verification process from a multi-stage research effort into a single-click process will automate many thousands of labor hours for organizations and institutions
Blockchains, which use advanced cryptography to store information across networks of computers, could eliminate the need for trusted third parties, like banks, in transactions, legal agreements, and other contracts. The most ardent blockchain-heads believe it has the power to reshape the global financial system, and possibly even the internet as we know it.
Now, as the technology expands from a fringe hacker toy to legitimate business applications, opportunists have flooded the field. Some of the seekers are mercenaries pitching shady or fraudulent tokens, others are businesses looking to cash in on a hot trend, and still others are true believers in the revolutionary and disruptive powers of distributed networks.
Mentions of blockchains and digital currencies on corporate earnings calls doubled in 2017 over the year prior, according to Fortune. Last week at Consensus, the country’s largest blockchain conference, 100 sponsors, including top corporate consulting firms and law firms, hawked their wares.
Here is a noncomprehensive list of the ways blockchain promoters say they will change the world. They run the spectrum from industry-specific (a blockchain project designed to increase blockchain adoption) to global ambitions (fixing the global supply chain’s apparent $9 trillion cash flow issue).
Things Blockchain Technology Will Fix
Bots with nefarious intent
People not taking their medicine
Device storage that could be used for bitcoin mining
EdSurge’s CEO, Betsy Corcoran, argued that 2017 was a year when educators and schools were trying to take control of their technology choices “We have said from the time we started writing the newsletters that not every piece of technology will work for every student, or for every school or every classroom,” she said. “It’s all about asking the right questions to figure out if there is a piece of technology that will support learning goals. What we’re starting to really see across schools, districts and teachers, people really owning those questions. They’re saying, ‘What do I want to do with my classroom? With my kids? And what are the technologies that will support me?’”
Another discussion participant asked whether colleges and universities are starting to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, or experimenting with the blockchain technology that drives those systems. Johnson said most of the hype around unversities’ blockchain experiments has centered on storing and managing credentials.
Guardtime – This company is creating “keyless” signature systems using blockchain which is currently used to secure the health records of one million Estonian citizens.
REMME is a decentralized authentication system which aims to replace logins and passwords with SSL certificates stored on a blockchain.
Gem – This startup is working with the Centre for Disease Control to put disease outbreak data onto a blockchain which it says will increase the effectiveness of disaster relief and response.
SimplyVital Health – Has two health-related blockchain products in development, ConnectingCare which tracks the progress of patients after they leave the hospital, and Health Nexus, which aims to provide decentralized blockchain patient records.
MedRec – An MIT project involving blockchain electronic medical records designed to manage authentication, confidentiality and data sharing.
ABRA – A cryptocurrency wallet which uses the Bitcoin blockchain to hold and track balances stored in different currencies.
Bank Hapoalim – A collaboration between the Israeli bank and Microsoft to create a blockchain system for managing bank guarantees.
Barclays – Barclays has launched a number of blockchain initiatives involving tracking financial transactions, compliance and combating fraud. It states that “Our belief …is that blockchain is a fundamental part of the new operating system for the planet.”
Maersk – The shipping and transport consortium has unveiled plans for a blockchain solution for streamlining marine insurance.
Aeternity – Allows the creation of smart contracts which become active when network consensus agrees that conditions have been met – allowing for automated payments to be made when parties agree that conditions have been met, for example.
Augur – Allows the creation of blockchain-based predictions markets for the trading of derivatives and other financial instruments in a decentralized ecosystem.
Manufacturing and industrial
Provenance – This project aims to provide a blockchain-based provenance record of transparency within supply chains.
Jiocoin – India’s biggest conglomerate, Reliance Industries, has said that it is developing a blockchain-based supply chain logistics platform along with its own cryptocurrency, Jiocoin.
Hijro – Previously known as Fluent, aims to create a blockchain framework for collaborating on prototyping and proof-of-concept.
SKUChain – Another blockchain system for allowing tracking and tracing of goods as they pass through a supply chain.
Blockverify – A blockchain platform which focuses on anti-counterfeit measures, with initial use cases in the diamond, pharmaceuticals and luxury goods markets.
Transactivgrid – A business-led community project based in Brooklyn allowing members to locally produce and cell energy, with the goal of reducing costs involved in energy distribution.
STORJ.io – Distributed and encrypted cloud storage, which allows users to share unused hard drive space.
Dubai – Dubai has set sights on becoming the world’s first blockchain-powered state. In 2016 representatives of 30 government departments formed a committee dedicated to investigating opportunities across health records, shipping, business registration and preventing the spread of conflict diamonds.
Estonia – The Estonian government has partnered with Ericsson on an initiative involving creating a new data center to move public records onto the blockchain. 20
South Korea – Samsung is creating blockchain solutions for the South Korean government which will be put to use in public safety and transport applications.
Govcoin – The UK Department of Work and Pensions is investigating using blockchain technology to record and administer benefit payments.
Democracy.earth – This is an open-source project aiming to enable the creation of democratically structured organizations, and potentially even states or nations, using blockchain tools.
Followmyvote.com – Allows the creation of secure, transparent voting systems, reducing opportunities for voter fraud and increasing turnout through improved accessibility to democracy.
Bitgive – This service aims to provide greater transparency to charity donations and clearer links between giving and project outcomes. It is working with established charities including Save The Children, The Water Project and Medic Mobile.
OpenBazaar – OpenBazaar is an attempt to build a decentralized market where goods and services can be traded with no middle-man.
Loyyal – This is a blockchain-based universal loyalty framework, which aims to allow consumers to combine and trade loyalty rewards in new ways, and retailers to offer more sophisticated loyalty packages.
Blockpoint.io – Allows retailers to build payment systems around blockchain currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as blockchain derived gift cards and loyalty schemes.
Ubiquity – This startup is creating a blockchain-driven system for tracking the complicated legal process which creates friction and expense in real estate transfer.
Transport and Tourism
IBM Blockchain Solutions – IBM has said it will go public with a number of non-finance related blockchain initiatives with global partners in 2018. This video envisages how efficiencies could be driven in the vehicle leasing industry.
Arcade City – An application which aims to beat Uber at their own game by moving ride sharing and car hiring onto the blockchain.
La’Zooz – A community-owned platform for synchronizing empty seats with passengers in need of a lift in real-time.
Webjet – The online travel portal is developing a blockchain solution to allow stock of empty hotel rooms to be efficiently tracked and traded, with payment fairly routed to the network of middle-men sites involved in filling last-minute vacancies.
Kodak – Kodak recently sent its stock soaring after announcing that it is developing a blockchain system for tracking intellectual property rights and payments to photographers.
Ujomusic – Founded by singer-songwriter Imogen Heap to record and track royalties for musicians, as well as allowing them to create a record of ownership of their work.
It is exciting to see all these developments. I am sure not all of these will make it into successful long-term ventures but if they indicate one thing, then it is the vast potential the blockchain technology is offering.