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Higher education is fraught with challenges and students often struggle when entering into tertiary education. Alongside these challenges are the administrative sectors in which educators are highly protective towards.
Education has not changed for more than a hundred years, while society continues to develop, shift, evolve, and transform. Education remains stoic in its delivery and any attempts to change it have been met with resistance.
However, due to the large influx of interest in the digital era, there are certain developments that go on behind the scenes that will result in huge changes over the coming years. Education is an age-old institution that has largely stood not just the test of time, but fortified itself against a changing culture and society. An immoving and inflexible institution of tradition. Today, it has shifted its focus online, with the help of a pandemic, and has also become much more accepting of technology that will help increase its reach and longevity.
Blockchain technology is seeping into every aspect of various industries all over the world and there are no plans to leave education untouched. Already, there are those who seek to utilize the potential of blockchain in order to enhance our current institutions of higher learning. In fact, as early as 2017, educators in Australia have begun issuing digital credentials to their graduates as verified copies of their results and certificates. These tamper-proof digital documents are one of the many reasons that blockchain has become increasingly prevalent across all industries.
New ways to apply blockchain technology are emerging rapidly and the effects of this is already opening the education sector to become more accepting of any emerging processes that are both sustainable and productive.
As seen in the adoption of blockchain technology by educators, the technology has proved itself to be a strong safeguard against any fraudulent certificates or results to be disseminated as official digital copies will need to be verified by a fair few different sources to determine its authenticity.
Following the changes to digital degrees, schools may also add a new rewards system to their education, offering motivation to students for accomplishing various tasks such as writing original papers in order to receive a certificate of recommendation, an appraisal of skills, or simply a certificate of participation. As these digital documents will follow a student’s history of education, it may help increase their determination to do better academically.
Although plagiarism checker software exists, blockchain will be able to curb the dispersal of copyrighted material across the Internet with the way information is disseminated. The secure and impossible to alter means of storing various bits of information across a global network will create a strong and detailed history ensuring that it cannot be changed and any access provided will be recorded onto the system.
According to a study published by ResearchGate on ensuring the security of scientific papers, blockchain will have a hand in preventing data leakage and any breaches. It is said to be so secure that even the original authors will not be able to make any changes to their publication without violation. While some problems may arise from such drastic and inflexible measures, it can ensure that all publications remain secure and plagiarism-proof.
Teachers that implement this system into their classrooms can prevent students from submitting similar work and dealing with any conflicts that arise out of similar papers because the question of who copied whose work may come into question. Without the ability to provide any proof, all students may receive considerably lower marks, including the one who put in the original work, which may be cause for concern as they may very well be innocent.
In 2019, a report released by Gartner showed that 2% of higher education respondents have deployed blockchain in their respective institutions. While this number might seem staggering low, it is a promising number as it shows that educators are becoming more responsive to change and the number will likely grow sooner rather than later, especially since 18% of respondents indicated that they want to implement blockchain into their systems in the following 6 months.
However, on the other hand, you have almost half of respondents (47%) citing that there is no immediate need to add blockchain to the education system, which is an increase of 10% when compared to a similar report published in 2018. As the technology is still being used in a rudimentary aspect, many are not confident in its capacity to deliver results and are employing a “wait-and-see” mentality. If a large amount of the education industry ends up using the blockchain technology, there’s no reason that they should stay stubbornly fixated on their ideals. Only time will tell how far blockchain will go in the education sector, but if other industries are any indication, it should be going rather far indeed.
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