Blockchain technology: latest technology in higher ed or overhyped?

Blockchain technology has garnered much attention in recent years, but technology leaders seem split over its future–some say the hype will be short-lived, but blockchain start-ups are growing and hiring.

What does that mean for blockchain technology’s uses in higher education?

According to Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution, blockchain “is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Information on a blockchain isn’t stored in a single location, and this means its records are public and easy to verify.…Read More

Can blockchain transform credentialing?

At Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), empowering students is an important goal, says Tobe Phelps, senior director of online college. Giving students a permanent, secure digital record of their accomplishments that they can take with them when they graduate aligns perfectly with this objective.

“When we issue a diploma to a student, that diploma still belongs to the college, and the student must get a certified copy from us,” Phelps says. “If they try to get a job or move on to another college, all of those (entities) have to come back to us for validation of the student’s credentials.”

By using a technology called blockchain, “we’re able to take that certification and give it to the student as an official record they own themselves,” he says. “We can be completely out of the circle.”…Read More

8 key considerations for competency-based education

How ready is your institution for competency-based education? Here are 8 questions to help get started

competency-based-educationWith the recent signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the popularity of jobs training programs across the country, and the recent surge in the offerings of digital badges, competency-based education (CBE) is becoming a must for any higher education institution looking to serve a broader pool of 21st-century students.

But competency-based education is about more than just offering digital badges for one-off skills–any institution looking to implement CBE knows that strategic planning for programs and credentials is critical…but where do interested colleges, universities, and institutions start?

According to Helix Education, a data and technology solutions provider for student life cycles, there is a list of key questions for institutions to ask themselves when getting started with CBE (created by the company).…Read More

How competency is changing mainstream education

New infographic represents the significant changes education is experiencing due to competency-based learning

badgeresizedI tend to see competency-based courses/alternative credentialing like solar energy: They both sprang from urgent need; they are practical, yet challenge the status quo; and both were technically around long before now.

Believe it or not, solar energy was actually discovered in the late 1800s and had a practical application as a power station that pumped water into the Egyptian desert for crops. It worked, and was hailed as a miracle that could essentially change the entire landscape of arid regions…that is, until WWI broke out and oil was cheap and readily available, nixing solar energy until its revamp in the 1970s when it became more apparent fossil fuels weren’t going to last forever and pollution was becoming a problem.

Like solar energy that was developed earlier than you might have thought, competency-based learning was essentially the apprenticeship of the late middle ages. In apprenticeship, a new generation of practitioners are trained in competencies through a set of skills towards a career. Sound familiar?…Read More