Melbourne University to pilot blockchain based micro-credentialing system — from econotimes.com

Excerpt:

The University of Melbourne is all set to become the first Australian institution to trial blockchain technology.

Last week, the university announced that it is teaming up with Learning Machine, a US-based company associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, to pilot a blockchain based micro-credentialing system, which will enable employers to verify those credentials quickly.

Speaking at the annual meeting of a data portability consortium in Melbourne last week, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Professor Gregor Kennedy said the decision to pilot Learning Machine’s blockchain platform for micro-credentialing is based on supporting new types of learning recognition that are increasingly being demanded by students and employers in a globalised, digital world.

 

From DSC:
The recent pieces below made me once again reflect on the massive changes that are quickly approaching — and in some cases are already here — for a variety of nations throughout the world.

They caused me to reflect on:

  • What the potential ramifications for higher education might be regarding these changes that are just starting to take place in the workplace due to artificial intelligence (i.e., the increasing use of algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning, etc.), automation, & robotics?
  • The need for people to reinvent themselves quickly throughout their careers (if we can still call them careers)
  • How should we, as a nation, prepare for these massive changes so that there isn’t civil unrest due to soaring inequality and unemployment?

As found in the April 9th, 2017 edition of our local newspaper here:

When even our local newspaper is picking up on this trend, you know it is real and has some significance to it.

 

Then, as I was listening to the radio a day or two after seeing the above article, I heard of another related piece on NPR.  NPR is having a journalist travel across the country, trying to identify “robot-safe” jobs.  Here’s the feature on this from MarketPlace.org

 

 

What changes do institutions of traditional higher education
immediately need to begin planning for? Initiating?

What changes should be planned for and begin to be initiated
in the way(s) that we accredit new programs?

 

 

Keywords/ideas that come to my mind:

  • Change — to society, to people, to higher ed, to the workplace
  • Pace of technological change — no longer linear, but exponential
  • Career development
  • Staying relevant — as institutions, as individuals in the workplace
  • Reinventing ourselves over time — and having to do so quickly
  • Adapting, being nimble, willing to innovate — as institutions, as individuals
  • Game-changing environment
  • Lifelong learning — higher ed needs to put more emphasis on microlearning, heutagogy, and delivering constant/up-to-date streams of content and learning experiences. This could happen via the addition/use of smaller learning hubs, some even makeshift learning hubs that are taking place at locations that these institutions don’t even own…like your local Starbucks.
  • If we don’t get this right, there could be major civil unrest as inequality and unemployment soar
  • Traditional institutions of higher education have not been nearly as responsive to change as they have needed to be; this opens the door to alternatives. There’s a limited (and closing) window of time left to become more nimble and responsive before these alternatives majorly disrupt the current world of higher education.

 

 

 



Addendum from the corporate world (emphasis DSC):



 

From The Impact 2017 Conference:

The Role of HR in the Future of Work – A Town Hall

  • Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Nicola Vogel, Global Senior HR Director, Danfoss
  • Frank Møllerop, Chief Executive Officer, Questback
  • David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Massive changes spurred by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile platforms, sensors and social collaboration have revolutionized the way we live, work and communicate – and the pace is only accelerating. Robots and cognitive technologies are making steady advances, particularly in jobs and tasks that follow set, standardized rules and logic. This reinforces a critical challenge for business and HR leaders—namely, the need to design, source, and manage the future of work.

In this Town Hall, we will discuss the role HR can play in leading the digital transformation that is shaping the future of work in organizations worldwide. We will explore the changes we see taking place in three areas:

  • Digital workforce: How can organizations drive new management practices, a culture of innovation and sharing, and a set of talent practices that facilitate a new network-based organization?
  • Digital workplace: How can organizations design a working environment that enables productivity; uses modern communication tools (such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and many others); and promotes engagement, wellness, and a sense of purpose?
  • Digital HR: How can organizations change the HR function itself to operate in a digital way, use digital tools and apps to deliver solutions, and continuously experiment and innovate?
 

From DSC:
It seems to me that we are right on the precipice of major changes — throughout the globe — that are being introduced by the growing use and presence of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning, as well as other emerging technologies. But it’s not just the existence of these technologies, but it’s also that the pace of adoption of these technologies continues to increase.

These things made me wonder….what are the ramifications of the graphs below — and this new trajectory/pace of change that we’re on — for how we accredit new programs within higher education?

For me, it speaks to the need for those of us who are working within higher education to be more responsive, and we need to increase our efforts to provide more lifelong learning opportunities. People are going to need to reinvent themselves over and over again. In order for higher education to be of the utmost service to people, the time that it takes to accredit a program must be greatly reduced in cost and in time.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Somewhat relevant addendums:


 

A quote from “Response: What Teaching in the Year 2047 Might Look Like

To end the metaphor, what I am simply trying to say is that schools cannot afford to evolve at ¼ of the pace the world is around it and not face the possibility of becoming dangerously irrelevant. So, to answer the question – do I think the classrooms of 2040 look like the classrooms of today? Yes, I think they look more like them than they do not. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that is not the way to best serve our kids in our ever-changing world. Let me be clear, great teaching and instruction has not fundamentally changed in the past 2000 years and will not in the next 30. The context of learning and doing our best to meet the needs of the society we are preparing kids for is how and why schools must be revolutionized, not simply evolve at their own pace.

 


An excerpt from “
The global forces inspiring a new narrative of progress” (from mckinsey.com by Ezra Greenberg, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit; emphasis DSC):

The next three tensions highlight accelerating industry disruption. Digitization, machine learning, and the life sciences are advancing and combining with one another to redefine what companies do and where industry boundaries lie. We’re not just being invaded by a few technologies, in other words, but rather are experiencing a combinatorial technology explosion. Customers are reaping some of the rewards, and our notions of value delivery are changing. In the words of Alibaba’s Jack Ma, B2C is becoming “C2B,” as customers enjoy “free” goods and services, personalization, and variety. And the terms of competition are changing: as interconnected networks of partners, platforms, customers, and suppliers become more important, we are experiencing a business ecosystem revolution.

 

38% of American Jobs Could be Replaced by Robots, According to PwC Report — from bigthink.com by David Ryan Polgar

Excerpt:

Nearly 4 out of 10 American jobs may be replaced through automation by the early 2030s, according to a new report by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC). In the report, the United States was viewed as the country most likely to lost jobs through automation–ahead of the UK, Germany, and Japan. This is probably not what the current administration had in mind with an “America First” policy.

 

 

 

 
 

Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change — from economist.com by
It is easy to say that people need to keep learning throughout their careers. The practicalities are daunting.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

Unfortunately, as our special report in this issue sets out, the lifelong learning that exists today mainly benefits high achievers—and is therefore more likely to exacerbate inequality than diminish it. If 21st-century economies are not to create a massive underclass, policymakers urgently need to work out how to help all their citizens learn while they earn. So far, their ambition has fallen pitifully short.

At the same time on-the-job training is shrinking. In America and Britain it has fallen by roughly half in the past two decades. Self-employment is spreading, leaving more people to take responsibility for their own skills. Taking time out later in life to pursue a formal qualification is an option, but it costs money and most colleges are geared towards youngsters.

 

The classic model of education—a burst at the start and top-ups through company training—is breaking down. One reason is the need for new, and constantly updated, skills.

 

 

 

Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative — from economist.com
Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment, says Andrew Palmer. The faint outlines of such a system are now emerging

Excerpt:

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades. “Germany is often lauded for its apprenticeships, but the economy has failed to adapt to the knowledge economy,” says Andreas Schleicher, head of the education directorate of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. “Vocational training has a role, but training someone early to do one thing all their lives is not the answer to lifelong learning.”

To remain competitive, and to give low- and high-skilled workers alike the best chance of success, economies need to offer training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives. This special report will chart some of the efforts being made to connect education and employment in new ways, both by smoothing entry into the labour force and by enabling people to learn new skills throughout their careers. Many of these initiatives are still embryonic, but they offer a glimpse into the future and a guide to the problems raised by lifelong reskilling.

 

 

Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting.

 

 

 

Blockchain-based credentials may catapult credentialing movement — from ecampusnews.com by Meris Stansbury
Carnegie Mellon, MIT Media Lab, and Learning Machine host groundbreaking conversation about open standards for blockchain credentialing in higher education and beyond.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Leaders from Learning Machine, MIT Media Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University engaged in a groundbreaking conversation with a packed house of EdTech vendors and education leaders at the annual EDUCAUSE conference. Together, they introduced Blockcerts, the open standard for issuing secure, verifiable digital credentials.

Hosted by Learning Machine CEO, Chris Jagers, the panel brought together research from the MIT Media Lab (Principal Engineer Kim Duffy), real-world perspective from the Registrar of Carnegie Mellon University (John Papinchak), implementation details from Learning Machine leadership (COO Dan Hughes), and the societal implications of distributed technologies (Learning Machine Anthropologist Natalie Smolenski). The panelists described a future in which learners are able to act as their own lifelong registrars with blockchain credentialing.

 

 

Why the Blockchain will Revolutionize Academic Credentialing — from medium.com by
This is a transcript of the presentation given during Educause at the Anaheim Convention Center on October 28, 2016.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Before we dive into details that technology, let’s cover some background. Even though schools moved from sheepskin to digital records a while ago, schools are still acting as the sole record keepers for student information. If a student wants to access or share their official records, they have to engage in a slow, complicated, and often expensive process. And so, for the most part, those records aren’t used much after graduation, nor built upon.

Additionally, education is changing. Online learning and competency-based programs are rising in popularity. And this is magnified by a rapidly growing number of accredited education providers that expand far beyond traditional schools. This is causing a proliferation of educational claims that are hard to manage and it raises many new questions, both in terms of policy and technology. And what I hope to explain today is how a new technical infrastructure has emerged that enables students to be part of the solution by acting as their own lifelong registrar.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
The other day I had posted some ideas in regards to how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality are coming together to offer some wonderful new possibilities for learning (see: “From DSC: Amazing possibilities coming together w/ augmented reality used in conjunction w/ machine learning! For example, consider these ideas.”) Here is one of the graphics from that posting:

 

horticulturalapp-danielchristian

These affordances are just now starting to be uncovered as machines are increasingly able to ascertain patterns, things, objects…even people (which calls for a separate posting at some point).

But mainly, for today, I wanted to highlight an excellent comment/reply from Nikos Andriotis @ Talent LMS who gave me permission to highlight his solid reflections and ideas:

 

nikosandriotisidea-oct2016

 

 

From DSC:
Excellent reflection/idea Nikos — that would represent some serious personalized, customized learning!

Nikos’ innovative reflections also made me think about his ideas in light of their interaction or impact with web-based learner profiles, credentialing, badging, and lifelong learning.  What’s especially noteworthy here is that the innovations (that impact learning) continue to occur mainly in the online and blended learning spaces.

How might the ramifications of these innovations impact institutions who are pretty much doing face-to-face only (in terms of their course delivery mechanisms and pedagogies)?

Given:

  • That Microsoft purchased LinkedIn and can amass a database of skills and open jobs (playing a cloud-based matchmaker)
  • Everyday microlearning is key to staying relevant (RSS feeds and tapping into “streams of content” are important here, and so is the use of Twitter)
  • 65% of today’s students will be doing jobs that don’t even exist yet (per Microsoft & The Future Laboratory in 2016)

 

futureproofyourself-msfuturelab-2016

  • The exponential pace of technological change
  • The increasing level of experimentation with blockchain (credentialing)
  • …and more

…what do the futures look like for those colleges and universities that operate only in the face-to-face space and who are not innovating enough?

 

 

 

Education Department Strips Authority of Largest For-Profit Accreditor — from usnews.com by Lauren Camera
The potential death blow follows intense federal scrutiny of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Excerpt:

The Department of Education officially stripped the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools – the largest accrediting agency of for-profit colleges and universities – of its authority Thursday, handing down the final blow in a long controversy over the council’s ability to be an effective watchdog for students and billions of taxpayer dollars.

“I am terminating the department’s recognition of ACICS as a national recognized accrediting agency,” Emma Vadehra, chief of staff to the education secretary, wrote in a letter to the organization. “ACICS’s track record does not inspire confidence that it can address all of the problems effectively.”

The decision comes after a federal panel voted to shut ACICS down in June amid intense criticism of the council for its loose oversight of educational institutions. ACICS was the accrediting agency for now-shuttered Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute campuses.

 

WEF-August2016-Blockchain

 

The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services — from weforum.org

Key findings include:

  • Distributed ledger technology (blockchain) has the potential to drive simplicity and efficiency by establishing new financial services infrastructure and processes
  • Distributed ledger technology will form the foundation of next generation financial services infrastructure in conjunction with other existing and emerging technologies
  • Similar to technological advances in the past, new financial services infrastructure will transform and question traditional orthodoxies in today’s business models
  • The most impactful distributed ledger technology applications will require deep collaboration between incumbents, innovators, and regulators, adding complexity and delaying implementation

The report is centered on use cases, considering how distributed ledger technology could benefit each scenario. How will blockchain transform the future of financial services?

 

 

 

Ernst & Young’s report anticipates blockchain to reach critical mass in 3-5 years — from coinspeaker.com by Tatsiana Yablonskaya
Ernst and Young explains that financial industry is far from being the only one that can benefit from the blockchain technology.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Ernst & Young, leading consulting firm, one of the “Big Four” audit firms and the third largest professional services firm in the world, has made some predictions about the future of the blockchain technology and its significance in various industry sectors in the recent report.

The attention of multiple financial companies has been focused on the blockchain lately. This unique technology is well adaptable to the increasing requirements of secure bookkeeping and automation in various industries.

The EY report predicts that blockchain will reach critical mass in financial services in 3-5 years, with other industries following quickly. “One reason the blockchain reaction is racing toward critical mass faster than previous disruptive technologies is that it is arriving in the midst of the digital transformation already sweeping through most sectors of the global economy. Consequently, despite the obstacles still to be overcome, businesspeople and governments are preconditioned to recognize blockchain’s potential. Tech companies have already established much of the digital infrastructure required to realize blockchain business visions.”

 

 


From DSC:
Applying this technology towards the world of learning…

I wonder how blockchain might impact credentialing for lifelong learning, and will it be integrated into services available via tvOS-based applications?  This type of cloud-based offering/service could likely be a piece of our future learning ecosystems. Innovative, forward-thinking institutions should put this on their radar now, and start working on such efforts.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV


 

 

Feds propose decertifying accreditor of for-profit colleges — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin

Excerpt:

The Education Department on Wednesday recommended that the organization that accredits many of the nation’s for-profit colleges and vocational schools shouldn’t be recognized, a step that could threaten access to nearly $5 billion in federal financial aid for more than 800,000 students.

The decision also has the potential to hasten the consolidation of the for-profit college sector as it could drive out of business many schools that lose access to student loans as well as students leery of attending schools under the regulatory microscope.

The move could mean the sector, already in decline amid tightening federal regulation, “will implode even faster,” said Trace Urdan, managing director at Credit Suisse and a longtime analyst of the for-profit college industry. “There will be significant consolidation ahead, a lot of people will lose their jobs, there will be fewer choices in the market but the schools that do survive will have a sort of double bonus, a clean bill of health and less competition.”

 

From Microsoft and LinkedIn:

Microsoft and LinkedIn: Together changing the way the world works — from blog.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Today [6/13/16] we are excited to share that LinkedIn has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. We are joining forces with Microsoft to realize a common mission to empower people and organizations. LinkedIn’s vision – to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce – is not changing and our members still come first.

Our companies are the world’s leading professional cloud and network. This deal will allow us to keep growing, investing in and innovating on LinkedIn to drive value for our members and our customers. Our members will continue to develop their skills, find a job and be great at that job, using our platform. We will continue to help our customers hire top talent, market their brand, and sell to their customers.

 

 

 

From DSC:
It’s interesting to reflect upon what this acquisition could mean and what it could bring to the workplace/career development table.

LinkedIn.com purchased/acquired Lynda.com (announced in April 2015), a growing/thriving (online-based learning) training and development company who can deliver lifelong learning and credentials to people…which continues to help people reinvent themselves.

LinkedIn.com is working on an economic graph, a digital mapping of the global economy…building a database/marketplace of job openings and people who can fill those jobs.

What is the Economic Graph?
The Economic Graph is, in short, a digital mapping of the global economy. It will include a profile for every one of the 3 billion members of the global workforce, enabling them to represent their professional identity and subsequently find and realize their most valuable opportunities. It will include a profile for every company in the world, who you know at those companies up to three degrees to help you get your foot in the door, and the product and services those companies offer to enable you to be more productive and successful. It will digitally represent every economic opportunity offered by those companies, full-time, temporary and volunteer, and every skill required to obtain those opportunities. It will include a digital presence for every higher education organization in the world that can help members obtain those skills. And it will overlay the professionally relevant knowledge of every one of those individuals, companies, and universities to the extent that they want to publicly share it. Learn more about the Economic Graph and join the discussion.

Now Microsoft is purchasing/acquiring LinkedIn.com and the data/endeavors/technologies/platforms LinkedIn.com has been working on.

(Add to that the fact that Microsoft has been working on artificial intelligence (AI), personal assistants (i.e., Cortana).  It has been working on other forms of HCI as well, such as HoloLens.)

Therefore, some questions come to my mind:

  • Will the purchase of LinkedIn.com now add a potentially huge new reason to choose their platform/ecosystem as well?  In fact, Microsoft could be expanding their platform/ecosystem — or creating a new platform — to take advantage of using AI, personal assistants, and big data to play the ultimate match maker in the workplace.
  • Will freelancers utilize their services to find work? (The use of freelancing continues to grow; already in the mid-30 percents of the American workforce now.)
  • Will Microsoft be a source of cloud-based learner profiles?
  • Will Microsoft now get into the credentialing business?  Will Microsoft employ blockchain-based technologies? (Higher ed, take note if so.)
  • How will badges/badging play into this platform?
  • Will Microsoft work with companies to offer assessments into whether person A can be successful in position B?
  • What will this mean for lifelong learning?

Hmmmm….time will tell.

 


 

Addendums later on 6/13/16

Excerpt from this article:

Nadella explained it in a sentence to Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff Monday morning.

He said that buy buying LinkedIn’s professional network:

“It helps us differentiate our CRM product with social selling. It helps us take Dynamics into new spaces like human capital management with recruiting, and learning, and talent management.”

He later told analysts that connecting LinkedIn data with Dynamics [Microsoft’s suite of business management software] is “where the magic starts to happen.”

 

 

MicrosoftPurchasesLinkedIn-June2016

MicrosoftPurchasesLinkedIn-2-June2016

 

MicrosoftPurchasesLinkedIn-3-June2016

 

 

Excerpt from this article:

Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics. This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete. As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.

 


 

 

CIO Explainer: What is blockchain? — from blogs.wsj.com by Steve Norton

Excerpt:

Known by many as the technology underpinning the bitcoin digital currency, blockchain has acquired a new identity in the enterprise. At a time when companies face new challenges in data management and security, it’s emerging as a way to let companies make and verify transactions on a network instantaneously without a central authority. Today, more than 40 top financial institutions and a growing number of firms across industries are experimenting with distributed ledger technology as a secure and transparent way to digitally track the ownership of assets, a move that could speed up transactions and cut costs while lowering the risk of fraud. Some companies see an opportunity to use blockchain to track the movement of assets throughout their supply chains or electronically initiate and enforce contracts.

Blockchain remains in the experimental phase inside many large firms and there are few tested use cases, experts and analysts caution. Here’s a look at how this emerging technology works:

 

 

Why is the financial industry so interested in Blockchain? — from dcebrief.com

Executive Brief:
With huge money and effort being put into blockchain research by almost the entire financial industry, many have wondered what the reasoning behind it is. To investigate this, Goldman Sachs, the global banking business, has used its research division to put together a report on the effects of blockchain implementation will have on the industry itself. Showing massive cost savings, improved security and a wide range of suitability for other market sectors, the report identifies the many benefits of blockchain technology and emphasizes the robust nature of the foundation of digital currency itself.

 

 

Opinion: What Blockchain means for higher education — from edsurge.com by Kerri Lemoie

Excerpt:

Originally created as the underlying database for bitcoin (the peer-to-peer digital asset and payment system), blockchain’s technology is now being seen as valuable and purposeful beyond the financial sector. The advantages blockchain provides to store information on a secure, permanent, historical ledger that can be both public and private will change how edtech applications approach student data.

In higher ed this means that student data could be shared across many institutions—rather than a single one—and also include data from online learning tools, co-curricular activities, employment history and other learning experiences. This would allow the data to be exchanged, understood and validated amongst many parties. Imagine the pictures of students’ learning experiences that this could provide and how these pictures could help develop and improve upon course design, facilitate transferring credits, or prove qualifications for a job to a potential employer.

 

 

“The learner could have a record of their learning from MOOCs, professional development activities and universities.”

 

 

 

How blockchain will disrupt the higher education transcript — from campustechnology.com by David Raths
Blockchain technology could offer a more learner-centered alternative to traditional credentialing.

Excerpt:

Last year, the MIT Media Lab began issuing digital certificates to the participants in its Director’s Fellows program. The authentication behind the certificates relies on blockchain technology, best known for its connection to the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

In a blog post, Philipp Schmidt, director of learning innovation at the Media Lab, described how blockchain works: “In essence, it is a just a distributed ledger to record transactions. What makes it special is that it is durable, time-stamped, transparent and decentralized. Those characteristics are equally useful for managing financial transactions as for a system of reputation. In fact, you can think of reputation as a type of currency for social capital, rather than financial capital.”

The technology has tremendous potential for higher education, according to Phil Long, chief innovation officer and associate vice provost for learning sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. In a May 12 Future Trends Forum video chat hosted by consultant and futurist Bryan Alexander, Long pointed to credentialing as an obvious first place to apply blockchain in higher ed.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Could blockchain be the tech to create cloud-based learner profiles?

 

 


Addendum on 6/7/16:

  • Blockchain Revolution| Is the future of business a company without workers, managers, or a CEO? — from qz.com
    Excerpt:
    These days, it’s hardly surprising to hear that a hot new startup has received gobs of money from eager investors. But a new company called the DAO (short for “decentralized autonomous organization”) is not your average startup. The DAO, designed to serve as a kind of venture capital fund for the cryptocurrency community, is the first of a new breed of business. It has no CEO and no staff; indeed, it has no human management at all. The company itself is simply software that runs on a blockchain, the technology that powers digital currencies like bitcoin. Through its first three weeks, the DAO raised over $130 million from tens of thousands of global investors, and it’s not done yet. But regardless of how the company fares, its mere existence portends profound changes for business, government, and the roles that people play in our economy. Analysts have questioned whether the DAO is legal or viable. Like any startup, it may fail. It may have attracted investors who don’t understand the risks. Some investors may be speculators in it for a quick buck, in turn, reducing the size of the fund. It may be attracting criminals or terrorists masquerading as entrepreneurs. To be sure, these are important concerns. But the DAO’s debut is a watershed moment in the history of financial services. It demonstrates that autonomous entities can raise huge sums of money without traditional intermediaries. How will venture capitalists and investment banks respond to these blockchain IPOs that crowd-source hundreds of millions of dollars from a global investor base?

 


 

Addendums on 6/8/16:

  • Blockchain’s hype exceeds its grasp – for now — from cio.com by Clint Boulton
    Broad adoption of blockchain technology is likely years away as companies struggle to understand how to apply the digital ledger technology to practical scenarios amid regulatory, governance and standards obstacles.

Excerpt:
Blockchain has been touted by venture capitalists, technophiles and pundits as the Next Big Thing in computer science. The reality, however, is that the digital ledger software at the heart of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has a long way to go before it gains mainstream adoption.

That was a key takeaway from a blockchain panel at last month’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. Noting that blockchain enables parties to ferry financial transactions, contracts and other digital records over the Internet, MIT professor Christian Catalini asked the panel about potential enterprise applications for the technology.

 

  • Credentials | MIT Media Lab, Learning Machine Partner on Blockchain-Based Credentials — from campustechnology.com by Joshua BolkanExcerpt:
    The MIT Media Lab’s Learning Initiative has partnered with Learning Machine to release the initial version of an open-source project designed to build an ecosystem for creating, sharing and verifying education credentials based on blockchain technology.Using the Bitcoin blockchain, the certificates can be shared with anyone who requires documentation as simply as sending a link and future versions will add features to improve real-world usability, such as versioning, revocation, cohort issuance, document encryption and cost reducation. “The goal of our collaboration with the MIT Media Lab is to empower individuals with shareable credentials that can be used peer-to-peer and verified as authentic,” said Chris Jagers, co-founder and CEO of Learning Machine, in a prepared statement.

 

 

 

Equipped for EQUIP? Here’s a primer — from edsurge.com by Bart Epstein and Ben Wallerstein (on 11/9/15)

Excerpt:

On October 15th, the Department of Education launched a new Experimental Site called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), which creates a pathway to federal aid for unaccredited education providers–including the fast-growing bootcamp sector. Here’s what you need to know.

The US Department of Education’s Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) is a policymaker’s dream. The authority granted though the ESI allows the Secretary of Education to waive certain rules governing federal financial aid to experiment with new models and test their impact. The goal: improve access for low-income students, and increase the return on our $130 billion annual investment in student aid.

As a policy “lab,” Experimental Sites have allowed the Department of Education to provide Title IV access for self-paced and competency-based programs, decouple aid from the credit hour, and fund students who demonstrate prior learning through assessments.

 

From DSC:
As higher ed (as an industry) doesn’t seem to be able to decrease the costs of obtaining a degree, alternatives continue to crop up.

If…

  • The prices don’t start coming down from institutions of traditional higher education
  • Alternatives continue to crop up and gather steam
  • The U.S. Federal Government gets behind such alternatives

…then higher ed (again, as an industry) can only blame itself for not responding more significantly than we did.

We need to respond. We need to address this growing wave of unrest regarding higher ed. We need more innovation. We need lower prices. Towards that end, that’s why I’ve been saying that we need more TrimTab Groups to find ways to maintain quality, but reduce the price.

 

TheTrimtabInHigherEducation-DanielChristian

 

 

Ed Dept pilot opens aid to alternative credentialing — from educationdive.com

Excerpt:

  • The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday [10/14/15] unveiled the Educational Quality Through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) program, an experimental pathway to Title IV funding for partnerships between higher ed institutions and nontraditional programs.
  • The program has been brewing for some time under the experimental sites initiative, though it will remain limited to about 10 applications from applicable partnerships.
  • Likely candidates for participation in the pilot include coding bootcamps, MOOC providers, and various short-term certificate and corporate training programs, and according to Inside Higher Ed, inclusion will also give institutions freedom from a federal aid ban on colleges that outsource over half of their content or instruction to an unaccredited third party.

 

Also see:

Alternatives-Funding-Gov-10-14-15

Excerpt:

Background: The landscape for learning in postsecondary education is undergoing tremendous development. Innovations in technology, pedagogy, and business models are driving rapid change. While much of this development has been led by traditional postsecondary institutions, there are also significant educational changes occurring outside of the traditional educational sector. Non-traditional providers have begun to offer educational opportunities to students in new ways, such as through intensive short-term programs, online or blended approaches, or personalized/adaptive learning. These opportunities have the potential to advance goals such as increased equity and access, more flexible and personalized learning, high-quality student outcomes, and reduced costs.

Although some of these educational opportunities show promise in advancing these priorities, they remain out of reach for many students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, in part because they generally do not provide students with access to title IV aid. The unavailability of title IV aid could increase the potential for educational inequity, because only those students with significant financial resources are able to enroll in these innovative programs, and it may constrain the growth of promising new approaches to learning.

 

Higher Education 2.0 and the Next Few Hundred Years; or, How to Create a New Higher Education Ecosystem — from educause.edu by Paul J. LeBlanc

Excerpt:

Three important developments stand to dramatically change the way we think about degree programs and pathways:

  1. The rapid adoption of competency-based education (CBE) programs, often using industry and employer authority for guiding the creation of the competencies and thus programs
  2. An eventual move to suborganizational accreditation, with Title IV funds available for credits, courses, and microcredentials offered by new providers in new delivery models, part of the accelerating trend toward “unbundling” higher education
  3. Increasing recognition that postsecondary education will no longer be contained to the existing and traditional degree levels but will instead be consumed at various levels of granularity—less than full degree programs and continuing throughout lives and careers

If these game changers come to fruition (and they are already taking shape today), we will see an exciting new ecosystem take hold in higher education. Together, these developments are poised to end the monopoly that traditional higher education holds on postsecondary education and to erode the sole authority it has over what counts for quality and relevancy. Smart and agile institutions will respond and even thrive in this changing environment. They will do so alongside new competitors as more providers emerge to compete for students, making the higher education marketplace diverse and robust.

Also, industry is not sitting idly by the phone waiting for higher education to call. General Assembly, a leader among the new sector of programming schools (aka coding boot camps), has launched its own credentialing system…

 

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