The word “blockchain” is ubiquitous in the tech industry, but its potential uses in Canadian post-secondaries are only beginning to be explored — with SAIT at the helm.
We are the first Canadian institution to use the technology to deliver secure credentials.
Twenty-five graduates from the Pre-Employment Automotive Service Technician program received a digital credential through blockchain on Monday, Dec. 17 as part of a pilot project. This is in addition to the traditional paper credential they will receive at convocation in June 2019. The group is the first graduating class from a Canadian post-secondary institution to benefit from this innovative technology.
“At SAIT we are thought leaders and this is a strong example of how we’re increasing our value proposition for graduates and employers,” says Dr. David Ross, President and CEO. “This is only the beginning as we continue to put the potential of blockchain technology into practice.”
A partnership with ODEM, an international On-Demand Education Marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain, helped power this breakthrough in digital deliverables.
“I’m very excited for SAIT, its students, faculty and staff whose passion it is to shape a new world as entrepreneurs and leaders,” says Richard Maaghul, ODEM’s CEO. “What a great way to fulfill their mission by becoming the first Canadian school to securely store and share its students’ accomplishments with the world.”
The idea for digitizing credentials at SAIT originated with a student capstone project.
“Last year we had some particularly keen and strong students on our team and they wanted to do something cool,” says George Chase, an instructor in the School of Information and Communications Technologies. “I introduced them to the idea of blockchain and they decided to create a system where the Office of the Registrar could issue a digital diploma.”
The students were given the opportunity to present their project to SAIT leadership and the idea was expanded to create a full-scale solution. The result is a system allowing graduates to own their information. Once a graduate accesses their secure certificate through blockchain, they retain ownership and can easily forward it to employers or other institutions without additional fees or the hassle of physical mail.
But the benefits to a blockchain-secured credential extend beyond convenience for graduates — employers can easily verify the credibility of a potential employee’s certificate and hire with confidence.
“I think what it will do is add even more value to getting a SAIT credential,” says Chase. “It highlight’s SAIT as a progressive institution — on the cutting edge of not only teaching the technology, but actually using the technology.”
Blockchain can be described as a decentralized ledger where data is recorded and reconciled in real time. Each piece of data, in this case the credential, is given a digital fingerprint. Because of that digital fingerprint, it is impossible to corrupt the data — or alter the credential.
Blockchain is the next wave in digital disruption and SAIT has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve.
Together with IBM, SAIT’s launched the IBM Skills Academy — a professional technical certification program offering training in the latest emerging technologies. We’re a national blockchain hub and are currently the only Canadian institution to deliver the IBM Skills Academy Blockchain Fundamentals course. Find out more and register today.