Learning Machine has announced that Southern New Hampshire University has issued degrees to Spring 2018 graduates as both paper diplomas and blockcerts, digital documents anchored in the blockchain that allow instant verification anywhere in the world. Whilst normally students would have to wait up to 10 business days for paper diplomas, Blockcerts can be issued immediately upon graduation, meaning students leave with a record of achievement they can use right away to apply for jobs, promotions, or grad school.
“In some ways, this is piloting what a modern transcript should be,” said Colin Van Ostern, the school’s Vice President of Workforce Initiatives, who has been spearheading the project. “It’s digital, portable, owned by the student, and can be verified using the encrypted assets. Employers don’t need to call up SNHU to verify details, it’s self-verified.”
It’s digital, portable, owned by the student, and can be verified using the encrypted assets
For their digital diplomas project, SNHU chose to partner with Learning Machine, a software company specializing in anchoring academic credentials to the blockchain. Learning Machine co-developed Blockcerts with the MIT Media Lab and open sourced the technology to provide the world with a free, open standard for digital document issuance and verification.
Heidi Wilkes, Associate Vice President of Learning Solutions, who led the pilot project, said: “This project was a great proving ground for how we can use technology to be flexible and agile in responding to the needs of our students, who are becoming lifelong learners with the expectation to control and manage their own digital learning records.”
This project was a great proving ground for how we can use technology to be flexible and agile in responding to the needs of our students
Blockcerts can anchor documents to any blockchain—public blockchains like Bitcoin or Ethereum or private blockchains—and every Blockcert is a standard data format that can be downloaded without proprietary software. This means SNHU graduates can take their diplomas anywhere in the world and have them instantly read and verified.
Notified College for America graduates simply download the open source Blockcerts app (available for iOS and Android) and then accept SNHU’s invitation to receive blockchain credentials. The app serves as a private portfolio of lifelong achievement, accepting credentials from any school, government, or company that chooses to issue them as Blockcerts. Students can immediately share a Blockcert with anyone they choose, including on social media platforms like LinkedIn, as an official record that can be instantly verified.
Benjamin Dexter, who leads implementation for the SNHU blockchain diplomas project, said, “It has been a pleasure working with our graduates as we help them navigate the technology and enable them to own, share and verify their blockchain digital credentials.”