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Southern New Hampshire U Issues Blockchain Credentials to College for America Grads

blockchain technology with abstract background

This spring, graduates of Southern New Hampshire University's College for America are receiving their bachelor's and associate degrees as both paper diplomas and Blockcerts, digital credentials based on blockchain technology.

SNHU partnered with Learning Machine for its digital diploma project; the software company co-developed Blockcerts with the MIT Media Lab in 2016. Because Blockcert credentials can be linked to any blockchain (such as Bitcoin or Ethereum), they can be read and verified anywhere in the world without the need to check with the original issuer.

"In some ways, this is piloting what a modern transcript would be: digital, portable, owned by the student, can be verified using the encrypted assets. Employers ... don't need to call up SNHU and verify that information, it's self-verified," explained Colin Van Ostern, the school's vice president of workforce initiatives, in a statement.

To access their digital diplomas, College for America graduates must download the open source Blockcerts app on an iOS or Android device. Students can then share their credentials with potential employers or via social media platforms like LinkedIn. The Blockcerts app "serves as a private portfolio of lifelong achievement, accepting credentials from any school, government or company," according to a news announcement.

Commented Heidi Wilkes, associate vice president of learning solutions at SNHU, "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."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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