Australian University to Issue Recipient-Owned Blockchain Records

Blockchain, Education | October 11, 2017 By:

The University of Melbourne is trialing a blockchain-based record-keeping program for issuing recipient-owned credentials.

The university issued its Melbourne Teaching Certificate using the Learning Machine’s Blockcerts open source code. Blockcerts, developed by Learning Machine Technologies and the MIT Media Lab in 2016, is an enterprise platform that simplifies anchoring official records to the blockchain.

Learning Machine blockchain credentials use the Blockcerts open standard, which means that they are learner owned, portable, independently verifiable, and interoperable with any system that supports Blockcerts or Open Badges 2.0. One of the key benefits of Blockcerts is that a recipient owns their credentials and that they will be available to be verified by third parties even if an issuing institution or vendor ceases to operate.

University of Melbourne Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Gregor Kennedy said the university is very excited that its exploration of a new way of providing students with credentials was successful.

“While we are entirely committed to the existing degrees and awards that the University offers, we are also interested in exploring how we can build a more diverse credentialing ecosystem,” Kennedy said. “Issuing credentials on the blockchain is a key component of this investigation.”

The Blockcerts code is freely available to the public under the MIT open source license. Students can access and share their credentials via an open source mobile phone wallet app, enabling them to easily show potential employers that they have the qualifications that they say they have. The benefits of verifying information in this manner include cost savings for the issuing university, security and the prevention of potential fraudulent misrepresentation when it comes to declaring actual qualifications.

“The blockchain is an innovation that gives institutions brand protection while also giving individuals the benefit of owning their official records and taking them anywhere,” said Learning Machines CEO Chris Jagers. “Both issuers and recipients immediately gain a level of independence and security that wasn’t possible before.”