Blockchain-powered Digital Credential (‘OPEN’ Digital Badges) Platform

Micro-credentials provide a way to acknowledge achievement and to recognize the acquisition of specific skills. Fresno State has established digital badges experiences in Library information literacy, trainings, and self-paced learning (MOOC) programs including integration with the campus Learning Management System (LMS). The new Digital Credential Platform supported by this grant embraced Blockchain technologies to improve data verifiability, availability, and reliability for the evidence of learning. Once the digital badges are recorded on blockchain, they can’t be altered. It prevents fraud and mutilation of records by the involved entities to mitigate deceptive certificates.

The Digital Credential Platform was designed to rely on open standards avoiding vendor lock-in and developed based on Blockcerts, an open standard for building apps that issue and verify blockchain-based official records, and embraces the ethos of Open Badges for the full potential of a badge-based ecosystem. In addition, the platform was implemented to integrate with learning management systems through Learning Tool Integration (LTI) to automate the digital badges issuing process after a learning module, course, or program is completed. With LTI, this solution is fully interoperable with various systems across CSU campuses.

This project also explored the implementation of “universal transcript” to better catalog a student’s learning – academic and non-academic – for the potential of earning college credits. This proposal was part of the Fresno State Innovation Hotspot effort of establishing a “student-centered” collaboration space and framework to breed future innovations toward High Impact Practices (Graduation Initiative 2025).

Principal Investigator

Max Tsai, Fresno State University

Grant Cycle

Spring 2018