If we happened to be in Berkeley CA today, we might be able to attend an Ed Surge sponsored “Meetup” to discuss “Blockchain, Bitcoing, and Digital Credentials in Higher Ed.” If not, it’s live-streaming at 8pm MST here. Bitcoin is about half of the valuation, as of 2/7/18, but it changes every day; using it for tuition isn’t really groundbreaking for learning. Hopefully, the part PSA is most interested in, using Blockchain as a way to legitimize digital credentials, is less volatile.
That’s the “singularity moment” for online learning…when credentials for individuals finally escape being captive to large institutional gatekeepers of “graduation and degrees”, and similar official recognition of learning achievements. Rather, learning achievement would include all learning activities however eclectic and disperse in origin, such as online makes possible, and would be valid for employment.
IOW, we are in the transition period from credentials based on a physical institution with standardized course lengths and formats, to a virtual location, where learning can be aggregated together independently of where it occurred. Say goodbye to transfer of credit hassles…but more to the point, take advantage of all the online learning can enable, which is, in many important ways, a thorough rethinking of what learning is, and how we do it.
In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments. But much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 in December and catapulted cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.
A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out ways to harness blockchain technology to verify learning as well as issue degrees and credentials.
In this meetup, EdSurge HigherEd will talk with experts (see below) about how blockchain technology is being explored and experimented with in higher education, in particular around credentialing. Join us for a panel discussion, networking and light refreshments as we discuss the risks, the hype, and what else you need to know about blockchain in higher education.
- Phil Komarny, VP of innovation at Salesforce (formerly Chief Digital Officer at UT System)
- Aparna Krishnan, UC Berkeley student and leader of Blockchain at Berkeley student group
- Roberto Santana, Advisor to product and strategy at BitDegree (formerly Coursera)