InterviewsNewsIncorporating Blockchain Technology Into the Education System

Aisha Hillary-Morgan Aisha Hillary-MorganMarch 14, 2019
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As the mainstream integration of blockchain technology is inevitable, we wanted to see how blockchain technology is being assimilated into the education system. We spoke with Helen Souness, CEO at RMIT Online, a global university of technology, design and enterprise which offers now Blockchain related courses, and Peter Jackowski, graduate from Developing Blockchain Strategy at RMIT, on their thoughts on the technology and the future of the space.

Following are Helen’s thoughts on the future skills and relevant curriculums needed for Millennials to remain relevant.

Tell us a little about yourself?

There has been a lot reported on the future of work and the increasingly acute skills shortages across a variety of digital and technology fields.  The migration of the workforce to this new economy is a real challenge, and RMIT Online’s mission is to help build a community of lifelong learners equipped to successfully navigate the world of work.  I’m proud to be leading a team that is developing courses in everything from blockchain to AI and CRM technology – and making learning accessible to everyone, whether it be through snackable short courses or master level qualifications.

Will blockchain and crypto be the tech of future?

In the same way no one could predict how big the internet would become, we’re still learning the potential applications of blockchain technology for business. The World Economic Forum has predicted that by 2027, 10 percent of global GDP is likely to be stored on blockchain platforms. Cryptocurrencies are certainly one application of the technology, but it also extends to healthcare, voting, identity and even education – the potential impact on industry is incredibly exciting.

How are you integrating it into the curriculum?

We’ve partnered with industry leaders like Accenture, Stone & Chalk and Flex Dapps to build three 6-8 week online courses in blockchain.  This starts with Developing Blockchain Strategy, which looks at the fundamentals of the technology that all business leaders should know, before ultimately building a real-world business strategy. We also offer Designing Blockchain Solutions which strengthens your technical understanding of the various platforms, while Developing Blockchain Applications gets you learning the language and tools to build apps on the Ethereum platform. The Blockchain Strategy course is also one of several of our industry-focussed short courses that can stack into our new technology and design-focussed MBA.

What is students’ appetite to understand this space?

We’ve seen great interest in this space! Our first course was launched in March 2018 and sold out within 48 hours.  We’re now approaching our seventh intake of this first course, and have launched two further courses on the topic.

What are your thoughts on the importance of including these areas in the education system?

Our portfolio is built at the nexus of technology, business and design – so we think it’s very important. Our Future Skills short courses are addressing these groundbreaking future technologies, but students are also able to pick these subjects as electives in many of their postgraduate online qualifications. An example of this is our re-designed MBA which has been created to help leaders gain a foothold in the ever-evolving workplace. We continue to see disruption like never before, and the MBA develops capabilities in the latest technologies, coupled with the skills – including leadership and analytical skills – to design experiences and solve problems of a nature and scale that didn’t exist before digitisation.

What industries will be most disrupted?

The major industries that will be disrupted through this tech are likely to be finance, supply chain, education and healthcare.  One of our industry partners, Accenture, also recently teamed up with Microsoft to create a prototype ID system for a United Nations project aimed at providing legal identification to more than 1 billion people in the world. As CEO of RMIT Online, I would be remiss if I didn’t look at how this technology could benefit our own virtual classrooms, and we currently have a test running to store our blockchain student credentials on distributed ledger technology.

Where do you see blockchain technology in 1-2 years?

I am no futurist, but I am incredibly excited to see the potential of blockchain as it continues to develop. Over the next few years, I think we’ll start to see some use cases develop from POCs to production. It has the potential to impact everything from how you purchase your coffee in the morning, to how you vote. What we also know, is that Australia is facing a growing skills shortage in people trained in the technology. TechCrunch reported there are currently 14 open jobs for every blockchain developer.  There is tremendous opportunity for not only businesses but individuals to realise this potential.

 

Following is Peter Jackowski, graduate from Developing Blockchain Strategy at RMIT, thoughts on the industry and where understanding blockchain technology has taken him.

Why are you interested in blockchain?

I’m based in Melbourne, I’ve built a career helping S&P/ASX 200 listed companies and Government achieve tangible, lasting improvements in business performance. I have strong credentials in growth & entrepreneurship, featured for three consecutive years in Australian Financial Review’s Fast Starters Top 100.

I understood the disruptive potential of Blockchain and was seeking a deeper understanding of the underlying technology and its relationship to other emerging tech such as AI and IoT.

Where do you see blockchain technology in a few years?

I believe mass adoption, distributed ledger technology will drive significant change in the global economy and become an integral part of value chains across Government and corporations.

Do you think it is important for entrepreneurs to be educated in new technology? Any business you think is innovating in the space?

It is critical for entrepreneurs to invest in continuous learning to help navigate disruption and harness the power of emerging technology in a rapidly changing world.

RedGrid is one Australian business which is innovating – the company is embarking on building the internet of energy. Led by CEO Dr. Adam Bumpus, RedGrid is a Melbourne based start-up that is innovating with Blockchain and Holochain.

What are the next steps for your business?

RUBIX. continues to grow from strength to strength, our core focus is helping clients harness the power of Data, Analytics and Machine Learning to create and unlock business value.

 

Thank you Helen and Peter for your insights and taking the time to invest in innovating for the future.

 

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Aisha Hillary-Morgan

Aisha Hillary-Morgan

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