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New grant to develop blockchain technology for learning

Student holding a diploma

The OU’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) is playing a lead role in a project which will use blockchain technology to allow learners to manage and verify their educational and employment qualifications.

Blockchain is a technology which has been prominent in the press for its role in underpinning crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. It is a growing list of records called blocks which are linked using cryptography.

The project team for QualiChain has just been awarded £450,000 from the European Commission to develop an open source platform to capture learners’ data and a decentralised approach to archiving, managing and verifying it.

Lead OU project lead academic, Professor John Domingue said:

“We are extremely pleased to be playing a leading role in QualiChain. Following the OU’s strong ethos of education for social justice this project will deliver mechanisms which allow learners to manage and control their qualification data themselves with improved verification for employers and other interested parties.

“Moreover, our blockchain based platform will enable educational ecosystems to evolve where value stays within the community of learners and educators for all to benefit also avoiding the data centralisation issues that have recently been highlighted in the media.”

Other partners on the project are: National University of Athens (Co-ordinator), Atos Spain SA, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V., Knowledgebiz Consulting-Sociedade De Consultoria Em Gestao LDA, Technische InformationsBibliothek, Instituto De Engenhariade Sistemas E Computadores Investigacao E Desenvolvimento Em Lisboa, Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection, Agencia Para A Modernizacao Administrativa IP, Direcção-Geral da Qualificação dos Trabalhadores em Funções Públicas.

Find out more about QualiChain

Read more about KMi’s research into blockchain technology

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