Oxford professors plan first blockchain-based university

Oxford professors plan first blockchain-based university
Photo Credit: Pixabay
15 Jun, 2018

You might pay for a new car, house and even order a hot cup of cappuccino using a bitcoin. But, how about paying for your education in cryptocurrency?

If a group of Oxford professors have their way, you may soon be able to join the world's first blockchain-based decentralised university. 

According to a CoinTelegraph report, a team of professors led by philosophy professor Joshua Broggi is working on a project that puts blockchain and smart contracts at the core to restructure higher education. The project is named Woolf Development.

The report said the new blockchain-based university will have courses similar to Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) and have a collegiate structure by focusing on individual study modules that can be acessed online or offline. It added that the project design was to make the university geography agnostic and borderless.

According to the report, the professors say the decentralised structure can help resolve several issues in traditional universities, such as high tuition fees for students, cumbersome bureaucracy and underpaid teaching posts.

The professors have sought degree-granting powers from the European Union and have submitted a detailed note on their roadmap. 

Broggi said in the report that they are using blockchain to enforce regulatory compliance and provide high degrees of data security, so that regulators have the confidence to provide global teaching activities with accreditation in Europe. “So a Woolf student in Madras with a Woolf teacher in New York will earn an EU Woolf degree,” he was quoted as saying.

The project's first college, called Ambrose, is likely to go live this year. The proposed fees are set at $400 per tutorial, or $19,200 per year “before scholarships”.     

In India, the government is also looking at introducing blockchain as a subject in the school curriculum so that students can learn about the new technology and fill the talent void. Under the Atal Innovation plan, the government is setting up labs in schools to help students learn about emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing and blockchain.

Companies such as IBM, SAP and Microsoft are helping with the implementation of the project by training teachers, offering volunteered classes by engineers and by providing necessary equipment.

The Andhra Pradesh government is also working on a blockchain project that is looking to decentralise the educational qualification aspect in schools and colleges in the state.