Friday, April 6, 2018

Higher Education Using Blockchain

Two recent proposals for using block-chain in education are Switzerland based public limited company ODEM SA, "Unlocking Higher Education" and Gibraltar based Woolf Development Ltd, with their "Blockchain University". Over the next year I expect we will see many similar proposals, applying a gig-economy business model to education. These will seek to replace conventional educational institutions with an on-line marketplace, where students are matched with teachers.

The credentials of the teachers and their students results will be verified via a blockchain. The organization providing the blockchain will take a percentage of each transaction to cover their costs (and in most cases to also make a profit for the private investors). As with other gig-economy companies, they will also try to limit their liability, claiming not to be an educational institution and avoiding to be accredited through regulatory systems. This will be similar to the way companies offering taxi-like services claim not to be taxi companies and not to be employing the drivers. The blockversities will claim not to be employing any tutors and not enrolling any students.

It will be interesting to see if established institutions, and consortia of institutions, launch their own blockchain offerings. Open and distance institutions, and consortia of institutions providing so called MOOCs, would seem in the best position.

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