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What role should EASIG play? #blockchain #education #architect #VC #verifiable credentials #blockchain #education #architect #vc #verifiable


Hou, Feng
 

Dear EASIG Leaders,

In my recent email exchange with both Phil Long and David Boswell, I was reminded by Phil of our original goals for EASIG as listed below:
  • Create open-source, shareable assets to reduce barriers to entry and adoption for education stakeholders
  • Explore and showcase key educational use cases of blockchain 
  • Foster collaborations between academic institutions, policymakers, vendors, and other education stakeholders
  • Develop and promote the alignment of important interoperability standards in open APIs and protocols for education use cases, including from open standards bodies such as: IMS Global Learning Consortium, IEEE, W3C, PESC, etc.
  • Curate or develop professional development or technical assistance resources to support educational practitioners on approaches to applying blockchain technology across various educational use cases
I was also reminded by David of an email message that Sharon had sent last November right after our kick-off meeting:

"We missed this opportunity to discuss this as a larger community during the kick off meeting for various reasons, but in retrospect, this might give us all a bit of time to reflect on the goals we initially drafted and discuss whether those are this group could uniquely accomplish."

I agree and would also like to echo what Taylor has said in his recent message that "these are extraordinary times that require patience and empathy. That said, my view is that this work is even more important now than it was pre-pandemic. New infrastructure (for better or worse) is being developed NOW and imho this group I'd like to see involved in shaping it."

In some ways, this group is involved in shaping it since we have many members in this group who are leading the charges in many education blockchain initiatives: Sharon's leadership in ACE's Education Blockchain Initiative (EBI), Alex's successful creatiion of the blockchain/Hyperledger consortium among IBM, National Student Clearinghouse, CNM and other partners, Taylor's leadership in the C-Lab in Colorado and many other initiatives, as well as ASU's Trusted Learner Network initiative that Phil is leading. I am sure that there are many others but I am just listing a few to make a point that there are a lot of exciting things happening in education blockchain; there are also plenty of opportunities for this group to take on.

The question is, however, what role EASIG can play and how we can get engaged in shaping the future for education blockchain? 

Thanks!

Feng


 

 

 



Phillip Long
 

I'm sure the emergence of Covid-19 deeply distracted most us, diverting our attention and time away from the ideals and hopes that attracted most of us to EASIG. Feng asked us to consider the role EASIG can play to make credentialing in its broadest sense useful to learners and workers.  This has led me to reflect on the future for EASIG as it was initially conceived.
 
There are many groups sponsoring talks, webinars, and tutorials on the possible uses of blockchains associated with identity. Use cases proposed include covid-19 immunity passports, Trust Over IP governance, and the role of verifiable credentials using SSI to assist in the (re)employment of and up-skilling of current workers. But these aren’t mainstream ‘educational’ uses of blockchain in simply representing achievements acquired through the course of traditional educational programs.
 
The W3C Credential Verification specification uses blockchain for SSI, but beyond that it’s not required. It can be used, and it can provide an immutable log file of publicly viewable credential assertion transactions, but if privacy advocates and legislation like GDPR and COPPA limit what can go on-chain to publicly sharable data to avoid discovery of identity through correlated data, then the value for it in the educational context may be diminished. 
 
My hope had been that the security of private permissioned blockchains could be shown to have the same level, indeed from my perspective given the decentralized design, even greater level of privacy than traditional databases. This seemed to offer a platform for curating an individual’s  lifelong records of achievements, skllls and competencies. Further, 1-way hashing of records or variables on-chain coupled with destroying the associated key would render such data effectively undiscoverable and if found unreasonably costly to try and decrypt (given you're contending with both the hash and the underlying encryption), thus rendering them equivalent to deletion. Some legal scholars have made this assertion. But the uncertainty that has emerged from the silence of the EU on this has led to nearly every corporate player avoiding the risk and treating even private permissioned chains as unsuitable for PII. 
 
Shouldn't we have a clear eyed debate/discussion about this? Does the value proposition of blockchain-based records rest squarely in the domain of publicly accessible records? There surely is value in that. But is there more to be gained? Is feasible, while still protecting identity and privacy to widen space for blockchains to operate in the context of life long education? I’d welcome a robust exploration on how/whether blockchains deliver something useful for the lifelong learner where other alternatives can’t.
 
Feng reminded us of the EASIG Charter which listed the following goals for the EASIG: 
  • Create open-source, shareable assets to reduce barriers to entry and adoption for education stakeholders
  • Explore and showcase key educational use cases of blockchain 
  • Foster collaborations between academic institutions, policymakers, vendors, and other education stakeholders
  • Develop and promote the alignment of important interoperability standards in open APIs and protocols for education use cases, including from open standards bodies such as: IMS Global Learning Consortium, IEEE, W3C, PESC, etc.
  • Curate or develop professional development or technical assistance resources to support educational practitioners on approaches to applying blockchain technology across various educational use cases
Rethinking these goals, as Sharon Leu suggested,  I think would be a timely place to reboot the EASIG. 
 
We didn’t consider cross-chain data sharing, for example, without which people are forced to consider whether their data and its utility will depend on the viability of the particular implementation. Nor have we considered the "human bridge" that might in the interim represent a pathway for cross-chain data sharing. One might consider the learner digital credential wallet hosting standards-based assertions as at least an interim way to move credentials from one blockchain network to another. These are several still emerging areas of development that are potentially of enormous value. 
 
We haven't carefully considered or surfaced the dependency of blockchain implementations on contemporary database systems. Nearly every blockchain implementation that I’ve seen going forward outside of strictly finance and token-based projects have heavily relied on supporting non-blockchain databases (RDMBS, Document or NoSQL DBs, for example). Because blockchain search is so slow many (most?) have relied on RDBMS cache indexes to speed up query and retrieval - potentially diminishing the value of decentralization in favor of practical efficiency. Is that an inevitable price to pay for a responsive, scaled blockchain implementation or are there other ways?
 
Finally, the rapid emergence of DAGs, ironically a technology that’s been around since the mid 60’s, raises questions about whether they offer the value proposition initially thought unique to blockchains, but without many of the impediments, e.g., much faster transaction rates, more flexible support for large objects, the complexity and scaling concerns presented by the need for pruning false blockchain branches. Should the blockchain group expand its scope in light of these rapidly developing technologies? 
 
Many of us, myself included were/are convinced that the value proposition for blockchains should place our focus on delivering implementations of blockchains for ‘obvious' use cases. However, because we can doesn’t mean we should. Rather it means we should be focusing on the trade-offs involved, the whether the benefits of blockchain are truly unique and worth the effort, and all in light of alternatives. 

Why don't we start with the a reappraisal of the EASIG Goals based on where we sit now? 
 
Your comments and ideas are important. Please weigh in!

Cheers
Phil - EASIG V.C.


Lluís Ariño
 

Good morning Phillip (and all),

 

Interesting reflections. I agree, maybe we need to invest time to fix our goals.

 

My two cents about EU:

                Legal (cross-border trust&value) ó https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection/ssi-eidas-bridge

                Blockchain (multiple DLTs) & SSI & VCs & Education (Diplomas Use Case) ó https://ec.europa.eu/cefdigital/wiki/display/CEFDIGITAL/EBSI

                Educational data model - Europass EDCI Data Model: https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/solution/europass-learning-model/release/050

                Diplomas UC: Not just for HE, not just for Educational Institutions, but for any kind of education (formal, non-formal & informal education)

 

First operational version of EBSI is now available for testing by member state (the EBSIv1 code, under open source license, will be published in early June)

I will be delighted to share the things we are doing at EBSI.  

 

Convenor Diplomas Use Case

European Blockchain Partnership (EBP)

https://ec.europa.eu/cefdigital/wiki/display/CEFDIGITAL/EBSI

 

 

De: <education-architecture-sig@...> en nombre de "Phillip Long via lists.hyperledger.org" <pdlong2=asu.edu@...>
Responder a: "education-architecture-sig@..." <education-architecture-sig@...>
Fecha: martes, 19 de mayo de 2020, 2:39
Para: "education-architecture-sig@..." <education-architecture-sig@...>
Asunto: Re: [education-architecture-sig] What role should EASIG play? #blockchain #education #architect #VC #verifiable credentials

 

I'm sure the emergence of Covid-19 deeply distracted most us, diverting our attention and time away from the ideals and hopes that attracted most of us to EASIG. Feng asked us to consider the role EASIG can play to make credentialing in its broadest sense useful to learners and workers.  This has led me to reflect on the future for EASIG as it was initially conceived.

 

There are many groups sponsoring talks, webinars, and tutorials on the possible uses of blockchains associated with identity. Use cases proposed include covid-19 immunity passports, Trust Over IP governance, and the role of verifiable credentials using SSI to assist in the (re)employment of and up-skilling of current workers. But these aren’t mainstream ‘educational’ uses of blockchain in simply representing achievements acquired through the course of traditional educational programs.

 

The W3C Credential Verification specification uses blockchain for SSI, but beyond that it’s not required. It can be used, and it can provide an immutable log file of publicly viewable credential assertion transactions, but if privacy advocates and legislation like GDPR and COPPA limit what can go on-chain to publicly sharable data to avoid discovery of identity through correlated data, then the value for it in the educational context may be diminished. 

 

My hope had been that the security of private permissioned blockchains could be shown to have the same level, indeed from my perspective given the decentralized design, even greater level of privacy than traditional databases. This seemed to offer a platform for curating an individual’s  lifelong records of achievements, skllls and competencies. Further, 1-way hashing of records or variables on-chain coupled with destroying the associated key would render such data effectively undiscoverable and if found unreasonably costly to try and decrypt (given you're contending with both the hash and the underlying encryption), thus rendering them equivalent to deletion. Some legal scholars have made this assertion. But the uncertainty that has emerged from the silence of the EU on this has led to nearly every corporate player avoiding the risk and treating even private permissioned chains as unsuitable for PII. 

 

Shouldn't we have a clear eyed debate/discussion about this? Does the value proposition of blockchain-based records rest squarely in the domain of publicly accessible records? There surely is value in that. But is there more to be gained? Is feasible, while still protecting identity and privacy to widen space for blockchains to operate in the context of life long education? I’d welcome a robust exploration on how/whether blockchains deliver something useful for the lifelong learner where other alternatives can’t.

 

Feng reminded us of the EASIG Charter which listed the following goals for the EASIG: 

  • Create open-source, shareable assets to reduce barriers to entry and adoption for education stakeholders
  • Explore and showcase key educational use cases of blockchain 
  • Foster collaborations between academic institutions, policymakers, vendors, and other education stakeholders
  • Develop and promote the alignment of important interoperability standards in open APIs and protocols for education use cases, including from open standards bodies such as: IMS Global Learning Consortium, IEEE, W3C, PESC, etc.
  • Curate or develop professional development or technical assistance resources to support educational practitioners on approaches to applying blockchain technology across various educational use cases

Rethinking these goals, as Sharon Leu suggested,  I think would be a timely place to reboot the EASIG. 

 

We didn’t consider cross-chain data sharing, for example, without which people are forced to consider whether their data and its utility will depend on the viability of the particular implementation. Nor have we considered the "human bridge" that might in the interim represent a pathway for cross-chain data sharing. One might consider the learner digital credential wallet hosting standards-based assertions as at least an interim way to move credentials from one blockchain network to another. These are several still emerging areas of development that are potentially of enormous value. 

 

We haven't carefully considered or surfaced the dependency of blockchain implementations on contemporary database systems. Nearly every blockchain implementation that I’ve seen going forward outside of strictly finance and token-based projects have heavily relied on supporting non-blockchain databases (RDMBS, Document or NoSQL DBs, for example). Because blockchain search is so slow many (most?) have relied on RDBMS cache indexes to speed up query and retrieval - potentially diminishing the value of decentralization in favor of practical efficiency. Is that an inevitable price to pay for a responsive, scaled blockchain implementation or are there other ways?

 

Finally, the rapid emergence of DAGs, ironically a technology that’s been around since the mid 60’s, raises questions about whether they offer the value proposition initially thought unique to blockchains, but without many of the impediments, e.g., much faster transaction rates, more flexible support for large objects, the complexity and scaling concerns presented by the need for pruning false blockchain branches. Should the blockchain group expand its scope in light of these rapidly developing technologies? 

 

Many of us, myself included were/are convinced that the value proposition for blockchains should place our focus on delivering implementations of blockchains for ‘obvious' use cases. However, because we can doesn’t mean we should. Rather it means we should be focusing on the trade-offs involved, the whether the benefits of blockchain are truly unique and worth the effort, and all in light of alternatives. 

Why don't we start with the a reappraisal of the EASIG Goals based on where we sit now? 

 

Your comments and ideas are important. Please weigh in!


Cheers

Phil - EASIG V.C.


Kamlesh Nagware
 

Hi EASIG Leaders,

When will be the next meeting. I would like to present blockchain credential platform to the community.


Thanks
Kamlesh Nagware
VP Blockchain Technologies, Snapper FutureTech
Kamlesh.nagware@...


Hou, Feng
 

Hi Kamlesh,

 

We have recently decided to change the meeting schedule to quarterly. I’ll let you know as soon as possible when our next EASIG meeting is scheduled.

 

Thanks!

 

Feng

 

 

 

From: education-architecture-sig@... [mailto:education-architecture-sig@...] On Behalf Of Kamlesh Nagware
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:02 AM
To: education-architecture-sig@...
Subject: Re: [education-architecture-sig] What role should EASIG play? #blockchain #education #architect #VC #verifiable credentials

 

CAUTION:This email originated outside of Maryville University. Review links and attachments carefully before opening.

 

Hi EASIG Leaders,

When will be the next meeting. I would like to present blockchain credential platform to the community.


Thanks
Kamlesh Nagware
VP Blockchain Technologies, Snapper FutureTech
Kamlesh.nagware@...


Kamlesh Nagware
 

Hi Feng,

Thanks for the update. Is there any reason to make it quarterly because all other SIG meeting happening bi-weekly and we are changing monthly to quarterly.

Thanks
Kamlesh