In a new pilot program, SAIT will become the first Canadian post-secondary institution to issue academic credentials incorporating blockchain, the cryptographic record system used in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Twenty-five future graduates of the Pre-Employment Automotive Service Technician program will receive a blockchain key. Each key provides access to the credentials of each corresponding student, which are stored in a decentralized repository across a peer-to-peer network, according to a press release from SAIT.
The new digital credentials are just one exciting application of blockchain technology, said Dr. David Ross, SAIT’s president and CEO, in a press release.
“This is only the beginning as we continue to put the potential of blockchain technology into practice,” he said.
“At SAIT, we are thought leaders and this is a strong example of how we’re increasing our value proposition.”
How will it work?
The credentials contain a unique tamper-proof digital signature which indicates any modification to the file, and provides the signature of the issuing academic institution. The result is a system whereby students can easily access their academic records, and provide proof to employers that their records are valid.
What makes this so new and different?
The move was partly driven by widespread academic record fraud. Post-secondary admissions departments have increasingly received credentials from “degree factories” that provide degrees with minimal or no work required, or even shadier online outfits that outright falsify academic documents.
SAIT is working in partnership with ODEM, a company which provides a “On-Demand Education Marketplace” based on Ethereum, an open-source, blockchain-based distributed computing platform (meaning its components are located across multiple networked computers).
“I’m very excited for SAIT, its students, faculty, and staff whose passion is to shape a new world as entrepreneurs and leaders,” said Richard Maaghul, ODEM’s CEO, in a press release.
“What a great way to fulfill their mission by becoming the first Canadian school to securely store and share its students’ accomplishments with the world.”