Georgia Tech has joined MIT and 10 other international universities as founding members of the Digital Credentials Consortium, a collaborative, intercollegiate research and design group focused on the creation of verifiable infrastructure for digital credentials of academic achievement. The group has released a co-authored report that charts a viable path to developing such infrastructure.
With contributors from 12 universities across the globe, the Digital Credentials Consortium’s new white paper, Building the digital credential infrastructure for the future, outlines a trusted, distributed, and shared infrastructure that provides viable standards for issuing, storing, displaying, and verifying digital academic credentials. While the Consortium’s research focuses on verified digital academic credentials in higher education, the group also turns a critical lens to interoperability standards for post-secondary, lifelong learning, and non-formal education providers, which extends to credentials for the workplace.
Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) serves as the Institute’s Digital Credentials Consortium liaison and key collaborating unit. The new report features C21U’s Matt Lisle, director of digital learning technologies, and Stuart Freeman, applications developer, as key contributing authors.
“C21U and the Commission on Creating the Next in Education have experimented with blockchain-based credentials for the past year and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to collaborate with world-class researchers and technologists to build something that is interoperable across institutional boundaries,” said Freeman. “Georgia Tech is excited to be part of the Digital Credentials Consortium and to contribute to a report that seeks to define crucial standards for the future of digital credentials.”
In Building the digital credential infrastructure for the future, the authors reiterate the group’s commitment to open source and open standards. The report outlines additional credential standards that the Consortium sees as critical to the development of verifiable digital credentials, including:
- Flexible ways to express the identities of issuers and learners that tie into existing university services
- Stronger privacy-by-design and privacy-by-default with attention to regional legal frameworks
- More reliable revocation mechanisms and credential lifecycle management
- Direct learner agency over one's lifelong learning record
- Higher level of consistency between the machine-readable data of the credential, the human-readable visual representation, and the necessary output formats—paper or digital
“We’ve set our sights on the design and governance of a technology infrastructure for academic credentials – transforming credentials into tokens of social and human capital that can create new opportunities for participation in education and industry,” said Philipp Schmidt, advisor to the Vice President of Open Learning at MIT. “Our report marks the first step in the process.”
Founding Members, Digital Credentials Consortium
- Delft University of Technology
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Harvard University
- Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- McMaster University
- Tecnológico De Monterrey
- Technical University of Munich
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Irvine
- University of Milano-Bicocca
- University of Toronto
About the Digital Credentials Consortium
The Digital Credentials Consortium (DCC) was founded in 2018 by leading universities with expertise in the design of verifiable digital academic credentials. Driven by a mission to create a trusted, distributed, and shared infrastructure that becomes the standard for issuing, storing, displaying, and verifying digital academic credentials, the DCC’s goal is to contribute to an education landscape that increases learner agency and promotes more equitable learning and career pathways. While the Consortium is primarily concerned with use-cases in higher education, their work is also part of a broader effort to bridge post-secondary and lifelong learning, connecting traditional institutions of higher education, non-formal education providers, as well as the workplace, through interoperable standards. Learn more at digitalcredentials.mit.edu.
About the Center for 21st Century Universities
The Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) is Georgia Tech's living laboratory for fundamental change in education. As learners of all ages encounter rapidly changing workforce demands and seek to learn in new ways, Georgia Tech is committed to leading the initiatives that will define the next generation of educational practices and technologies.
C21U functions as a research arm of the Office of the Provost and works in tandem with campus administrators and faculty to identify, develop, and test new educational platforms and methodologies. Now home to the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE) Program Office, C21U fosters projects that will redefine the entire pipeline of learning. This effort requires close collaboration with and integration of K-12 education as a key part of our commitment to lifetime education. Innovation in this area is led by the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).
Learn more at c21u.gatech.edu or connect with us on Twitter @c21u. If you would like to find out more about the Commission on Creating the Next in Education (CNE) or become involved in the Commission’s work, please email email@example.com.