The First Block Chain Based Academical Platform is on the Way
An international research and development team, consisting of academics, entrepreneurs and block specialists from Bulgaria, is working on creating the world’s first platform based on block-based search, organization, and verification of learning content and professional skills. The platform will allow autonomous validation and transfer of information related to relevant knowledge and skills to learners, regardless of institutional and national boundaries.
The goal is to connect more than 20,000 higher education institutions with hundreds of thousands of companies and tens of millions of students around the world through a decentralized application based on a distributed database, thus creating new opportunities for all stakeholders involved in a system, announced the Investor.bg initiative.
The Open University project seeks to set a technology standard for a “Digital Education and Qualification Portfolio” that stores data on the progress of students and learners throughout their lives, regardless of the publisher of the appropriate university or corporate certificates, diplomas , digital badges and other forms of recognition of academic achievement and professional skills.
Among the key advisers to the global innovation project are Prof. Sergei Ignatov — Minister of Education and Science for the period 2009–2013 and Detelina Smilkova — President of the Bulgarian Association for Managing People and Vice President of the Higher School of Insurance and Finance.
The Global Project, launched in 2015 as a research initiative by experts from the Brain Workshop Institute, is not the first to look at the potential of implementing a block in the field of education, career development and reducing inequalities between knowledge and skills demand and supply, through the so-called “Smart contracts”. In 2016, the Media Lab Learning Initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented a digital eco-system for creating, sharing and verifying block-based educational certificates.
Earlier this year, Sony Global Education announced the development of its corporate registration and mutual recognition system. Open University (UK) has also experimented with methods for awarding and validating qualifications through a block.
“We step on the” shoulders of giants “- the educational opportunities that are generated and the accumulated experience in the field of distributed systems. What we are pioneering is the creation of a decoded block to mediate information and transactions between the education system, learners and businesses. Our decision will be beneficial to both those who have a choice and prefer mobility to the neighborhood, as well as to those who have no choice in the face of the labor market or because of the inability to afford education in a classical institutional environment. There are a lot of resources in the online area, but there is no tool for organizing, verifying and recognizing acquired knowledge and skills. In view of current levels of access to higher education, this problem affects more than 80% of the population of some of the largest economies, such as India and Brazil. And the rapid loss of relevance of the university diploma at a time of constant technological and economic transformation makes the issue of global importance, “said Christian Daskalov, author of Stakeholding Management in Education, Science and Innovation and Project Manager of Open Source University.
The team draws inspiration from the crypto world, both through the application of a block of study for academic purposes and the model of funding for its global academic and professional development project.
The Open University will launch in early November its ICO campaign, the primary offering of EDU Tokens, through which value transactions will be made between learners, education and training providers, and companies looking for employees or using the platform for the professional development of its staff. Because of the technological nature of the system, it is based on the popular Ethereal blockchain, consumers can pay for the relevant services, by digging them “Ethers” or other crypto-currencies as a battle course, exchanging them for the EDU tokens of leading crypto bodies.
Despite the commercial potential of the Cobden Partners-based investment and consulting services platform, the project team will continue to rely on the social-innovation start of the system and will launch with the integration of over 60 million students across the globe world recorded in over 7,000 free online online courses offered by over 700 leading universities through platforms such as Coursera and EdX.
The Open University plans for 2018 also include the creation of the first Bulgarian mass open online courses in partnership with the higher education institutions in our country and our academic diaspora in the world.