Addressing Student Credit Transfer Challenges with Smart Contract Solutions

Published : Apr 29, 2019

Smart Contract development

  • Student credit transfer is a critical factor that affects the movement of students between educational institutions. Different educational institutions follow different methods of student evaluation and grading that impede student transfers. Students have to spend a huge amount of money and time to make their academic credentials consistent with universities of their choice. Some institutes require students to attend courses they attended in their previous institutes with negligible deviation. These challenges affect universities too as they deter well-qualified students from applying for admissions.

    Educational organizations have been adopting several methods to address credit transfer challenges. For instance, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) provides common procedures to guarantee academic recognition in international universities. Several countries around the globe have adopted similar frameworks to facilitate a swift migration of students. However, the frameworks are facing criticism due to their limitations to provide efficient solutions to the challenges of credit mobility.


    Knowledge Currency for Efficient Credit Transfer

    A novel way to overcome the limitations of student mobility is by considering educational credits as currencies. The idea of Knowledge Currency was defined in Junor and Usher (2008) for seamless academic transfers across the globe. It creates trust among academic systems and institutions on the standards of grading. Institutes can either accept or reject the grading system based on the currency as per their own standards. Knowledge currency sets standards that can be accepted universally by institutions across the globe. Currencies can be awarded to students after completing their course as education credentials. Students can convert currencies to credentials while moving to different universities.

    In this monetary analogy to transfer credits, education councils function as financial institutions that can modify the rules of exchanging currencies as per requirements. The participating institutions must come under a common consensus to modify the rules of exchanging knowledge currencies. In this process, credit transfer is comparable to exchanging currencies.

    Knowledge currency enhances the efficiency of credit mobility by facilitating mechanisms similar to the foreign exchange market and the adoption of a common currency. Institutes need to agree on the consistency of credits attached to the topics under each subject to implement the system. It also makes the pedagogy more subjective and focussed towards each topic in a subject.

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    Developing Knowledge Currency with Blockchain and Smart Contract Developing Services

    According to Tikana 2005, there are three important elements that can implement a seamless mechanism of credit transfer.

    1. Articulation based transfer: Two institutions agree on how the curricula of one institute are transferred to the other
    2. Case by case transfer: Institutes analyze the transcripts of applying students to award credits on a case by case basis
    3. Transfer by program: The whole program is transferred from one institution to another instead of individual courses

    Blockchain and smart contract solutions can materialize the first two elements to create an efficient mechanism of credit transfer. Knowledge currency will unify the system to streamline credit transfer based on these elements.

    Crypto tokens can implement the idea of knowledge currency. Tokenization is about assigning credits to topics under each subject rather than the subject. The total credit of the subject is the combined credits of the topics under it. Crypto tokens can represent educational credentials that can be transferred and exchanged between institutions.

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    A smart contract can be programmed to verify the conditions between institutions based on the predefined agreements of credit transfer. It can transfer credits as crypto tokens as per the conditions in the agreement. Smart contract enables the distribution and synchronization of credits across institutions in the network. It can distribute credits according to the syllabus of the institute where the student is migrating to maintain consistency in the education of students.

    A blockchain-based credit transfer platform can replicate the mechanism of educational credits mobility. Blockchain and smart contract can develop efficient credit transfer mechanisms that fit into the operational requirements of credit mobility. The decentralized nature of blockchain facilitates the development of secure databases to provide accessibility of educational transcripts as per institutional requirements.


    Creating a Consortium Blockchain

    A consortium blockchain is the most preferred platform to implement academic credit transfer. We build consortium blockchain with Hyperledger, Quorum, and Corda. These blockchain platforms have the provision to create a semi-decentralized network of institutions. We program smart contracts to distribute student credits as tokens according to the syllabus of the participating institutes. Institutes must agree on pre-defined terms and conditions to create a network for transferring credits as crypto tokens. New universities can participate in the network after reaching a consensus on these conditions with the existent institutions.

    Education establishments are adopting blockchain technology for administrative efficiency to create student-centric learning methodologies. Tokenization of educational credits with blockchain and smart contract will enhance the process of credit transfer. It has the potential to eradicate the challenges arising from incompatible credit transfers. Consult us to create an efficient credit transfer mechanism with blockchain solutions and smart contracts.

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