Blockchain: The perfect tool for registrars

January 7, 2019
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two hands made out of light that have chains instead of forearms shake eachother

Blockchain is like a car engine. Like a cell phone. Like knitting and like apples. This technology -- the decentralized distributed ledger that drives Bitcoin and more -- is even a little bit like an office gossip.

There are dozens of similes that can helpfully describe various aspects of blockchain, and in her webinar “Blockchain Detangled 2.0: Making a Case for Registrar Adoption,” Helen Garrett, University Registrar and Chief Officer of Enrollment Information Services at the University of Washington, employs a number of them.Without going too deeply into the figurative language, let’s break down the word itself:

The block is a record file that describes groups of transactions, validated by multiple partners. The chain connects the blocks to previous blocks via transaction order (date/time). Once validated by date and time, it is almost impossible to change a block.

Because blockchain is validated using digital signatures, safeguarded using intricate math, and preserved by everyone on the blockchain so there is no single point of failure, the technology offers a breakthrough way to validate diplomas, as well as exciting possibilities for storing and validating the student record.

Making a case for registrar adoption
Like other large public institutions, Garrett’s office sees a handful of fake diplomas every week -- a fact that may shock university administrators.

“Blockchain is the perfect tool for registrars, and we can help guide this conversation when it comes to our campuses,” Garrett said. “We don’t need to understand everything about how it works, but we need to be aware of the technology and ready to join the conversation when it happens.”

Garrett will bring an arsenal of metaphors -- and a persuasive argument about why blockchain is important for higher education professionals to understand and discuss -- to a live, free AACRAO webinar this Thursday, January 10, 2-3 PM ET. Learn more and register now for Blockchain Detangled 2.0.


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