Based mostly on influence surveys performed with 319 establishments within the US and Canada final yr, AACRAO discovered that concentrate on digitisation of credentials centred round objectives to extend effectivity, enhance inbound and outbound processes and scale back fraud. Greater than half of these surveyed considered credential fraud as a priority.
The report highlighted 4 fundamental strategies of digital credentialing:
- Digitally Signed PDF: a scanned or generated doc that has been digitally signed (together with transcripts)
- Micro Credential/Digital Badge: a digital certification for particular expertise and competencies, usually a picture file pointing to hosted information
- Digital Knowledge Change (EDX): a digital credential (primarily transcripts) shared primarily between establishments utilizing a number of of the varied codecs together with EDI and XML
- Blockchain Verifiable Credential: a natively digital doc, digitally signed, that additionally leverages the blockchain as a safe anchor of belief for impartial verification (together with transcripts)
“The financial and cultural upheavals led to by the Covid-19 disaster have accelerated the necessity for an expanded, safe, interoperable, and broadly moveable method to the popularity of educational and co-curricular accomplishments,” the report famous.
“Whereas some instructional establishments have shifted to issuing EDX, digitally signed PDFs or blockchain verifiable credentials, reliance on paper-based credentials remains to be widespread. Whereas each paper and even digitally signed PDF credentialing options have labored properly sufficient, there are nonetheless unaddressed challenges dealing with college students, employers, and different instructional stakeholders in a world studying and employment market.
“Reliance on paper-based credentials remains to be widespread”
“Present processes that generate further friction—akin to the shortcoming to reuse the identical credential for verification functions, cumbersome processes for accessing information, and lack of electronically readable paperwork—create inefficiencies and will create unintended limitations for learners to pursue further schooling or employment alternatives.”
Whereas blockchain has been promoted as a doable future methodology for verifying credentials, when requested about familiarity with the way it may very well be utilized in HE to “immediately validate the authenticity of any doc with the potential for eliminating third occasion intermediaries”, half of respondents mentioned they had been “by no means conversant in the expertise”. 1 / 4 had been “barely acquainted” and simply 9% mentioned they had been very of extraordinarily acquainted.
Simply over a 3rd of those that thought the usage of blockchain-verifiable credentials in larger schooling could be impactful thought there may very well be an elevated belief in credentials.
“Whereas EDX- and PDF-related options have been round for many years, blockchain digital credentials are the brand new child on the block, and that’s evident within the utilization information. Few had been assured of their understanding of blockchain expertise,” the report famous.
“Investments must be made in educating the upper schooling neighborhood across the benefits and challenges of the varied digital credentialing choices, to make clear technical necessities, clarify the relative safety threats, and element the necessities for implementation and operationalisation.”
“Investments must be made in educating the upper schooling neighborhood”
This echoes a earlier survey achieved by analysis firm Gartner in 2019 that discovered 47% of upper schooling respondents had been “not ” in utilising blockchain expertise inside an academic framework, together with for funds, educating and file upkeep.
They additional recognized digital credentials applied sciences as one of many key strategic technologies impacting larger schooling.
“In some ways, credentials issued by an schooling establishment are the one tangible proof of upper schooling. They need to be thought of the forex of the schooling ecosystem,” mentioned the corporate’s senior analysis director Glenda Morgan.
“These applied sciences actually allow universities to leverage expertise to enhance the scholar expertise by giving them extra management over their info. The one hurdle is a basic lack of awareness of digital credentialing applied sciences and risk-averseness within the high-stakes nature of the upper schooling market.”