Seeking a shared global standard for digital credentials

By Lindsay McKenzie

For hundreds of years, universities and colleges have issued academic credentials on paper. But what would these credentials look like if they were designed today?

This is the question a group of nine universities is looking to answer as part of an ambitious digital credential initiative that aims to create a worldwide standard for issuing, storing, displaying and verifying students’ learning achievements.

Many universities have experimented with digital degrees, badges and certificates. But without a shared infrastructure, the usefulness of these efforts is limited. This partnership, known as the Digital Credentials collaboration, aims to change that.

“If you think about the way that universities manage credentials, it really hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years,” said Philipp Schmidt, director of learning innovation at the MIT Media Lab. The current system is cumbersome, inefficient and prone to fraud, he said.

Related Content