Tag: universities (page 1 of 3)

Digital wallets for verifiable credentials

Purdue University had something like this almost a decade ago, but there’s even more call for this kind of thing now, post-pandemic and in a Verifiable Credentials landscape.

Everyone’s addicted to marrying ‘skills’ with ‘jobs’ but I think there’s definitely an Open Recognition aspect to all of this.

ASU Pocket captures students’ traditional and non-traditional educational credentials, which are now, with the emergence of verifiable credentials, more portable than ever before. This gives students the autonomy to securely own, control and share their holistic evidence of learning with employers.

A digital wallet, like ASU Pocket, holds verifiable credentials – which are digital representations of real-world credentials like government-issued IDs, passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, educational degrees, professional certifications, awards, and so on. In the past, these credentials have been stored in physical form, making them susceptible to fraud and loss. However, with advances in technology, these credentials can be stored electronically, using cryptographic techniques to ensure their authenticity. This makes it possible to verify the credential without revealing sensitive information, such as a social security number.


At ASU Pocket, we also view verifiable credentials as an important tool for social impact. They provide a way for people to document their skills and accomplishments, which can be used to gain new opportunities. For example, someone with a verifiable skill credential for customer service might be able to use it to get a job in a call center. Likewise, someone with a verifiable credential for computer programming might be able to use it to get a job as a software developer.

In both cases, the verifiable credential provides a way for the individual to demonstrate their skills and qualifications gained through or outside of traditional learning pathways. This is especially impactful for marginalized groups who may have difficulty obtaining traditional credentials, such as degrees or certifications.

Source: ASU Pocket: A digital wallet to capture learners’ real-time achievements

Skills-based hiring vs universities

This is Stephen Downes’ commentary on an article by Tom Vander Ark. I think crunch time is coming for universities, especially when you think about how people are increasingly applying for jobs with portfolios, microcredentials, and proof of experience, rather than simply a CV with a degree on it.

Educators need to be aware that the marketing campaign against their unique value proposition is well underway. “Companies are missing out on skilled, diverse talent when they arbitrarily ‘require’ a four-year degree. It’s bad for workers and it’s bad for business. It doesn’t have to be this way,” says former McKinsey partner Byron Auguste, who founded Opportunity@Work. “Instead of ‘screening out’ by pedigree, smart employers are increasing ‘screening in talent for performance and potential.” The question for colleges and universities is this: if people no longer value your degrees and certificates, what will you be selling them when you charge them tuition fees?

Source: The Rise of Skills-Based Hiring And What it Means for Education | Stephen Downes

Peer review sucks

I don’t have much experience of peer review (I’ve only ever submitted one article and peer reviewed two) but it felt a bit archaic at the time. From what I hear from others, they feel the same.

The interesting thing from my perspective is that the whole edifice of the university system is slowly crumbling. Academics know that the system is ridiculous.

This then is why I was so bothered about how Covid-19 research is reported: peer review is no guard, is no gold standard, has little role beyond gate-keeping. It is noisy, biased, fickle. So pointing out that some piece of research has not been peer reviewed is meaningless: peer review has played no role in deciding what research was meaningful in the deep history of science; and played little role in deciding what research was meaningful in the ongoing story of Covid-19. The mere fact that news stories were written about the research decided it was meaningful: because it needed to be done. Viral genomes needed sequencing; vaccines needed developing; epidemiological models needed simulating. The reporting of Covid-19 research has shown us just how badly peer review needs peer reviewing. But, hey, you’ll have to take my word for it because, sorry, this essay is (not yet peer reviewed).

Source: The Absurdity of Peer Review | Elemental