Apple to launch student ID cards for iPhone

Written by Lindsay McKenzie Published  June 6, 2018  on Inside Higher Ed

On many campuses, students must carry ID cards to access their residence halls, take out library books, go to the gym and pay for lunch in the dining hall. But this practice could soon be a thing of the past, with the launch of digital student ID cards on Apple Watches and iPhones.

Using Near-Field Communications technology, students will be able to access a multitude of services on campus just by waving their phone or watch near compatible readers.

Six universities have been working with Apple and Blackboard on the initiative, including Duke, Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara and Temple Universities and the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma.

Rather than an app, the digital student ID cards will be part of Apple Wallet and linked toapplewatch Apple Pay. The service is expected to go live at the six collaborating universities this fall. Contacted by Inside Higher Ed, none of the universities expanded on details such as what model of iPhone or Apple Watch students would need to have to use the technology, nor whether they are planning an Android equivalent of the system. Presumably, the technology will supplement (rather than replace) existing student ID card systems, as not all students own Apple technology.

Joshua Kim, director of digital learning initiatives at Dartmouth College’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (who also blogs for Inside Higher Ed), said he is interested to see whether this initiative could be the “gateway drug” for other mobile educational experiences from Apple — particularly on the Apple Watch.

“Student IDs are an interesting start, but what is more fun is to think about other ways that Apple Watch could address some higher ed challenge,” said Kim. The fact that the announcement was made by Apple’s vice president of technology, Kevin Lynch, is a promising sign, said Kim.

Speaking at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, Lynch described the digital Student ID feature as an “exciting” development that will “expand to more campuses over time.”

At the end of 2017, Apple began a partnership with Ohio State University, which involves the joint development of apps for use on campus — a development that some observers said indicated a renewed focus from Apple on higher education.

Eric Stoller, a higher education thought leader and Inside Higher Ed blogger, said the Student ID announcement is a “big deal” that will provide Apple with “another useful entry point into higher education,” as well as good PR for Blackboard and the universities involved in testing the technology.

A spokesperson for Blackboard confirmed that the company was working with Apple to develop the student IDs, adding that Blackboard would be providing the compatible reader devices. The spokesperson said that the digital student IDs would offer students “heightened security and extraordinary convenience” on campus. Though not mentioned in the Apple announcement, CR80News reported that each of the institutions involved in the initiative is a Blackboard Transact client. Blackboard Transact is a subsidiary of Blackboard that manages campus ID systems.

A spokesperson for Santa Clara University said the university was “looking forward” to bringing its campus ACCESS Card to the Apple Wallet, adding that the technology would be available to students, faculty and staff to use on and around campus by the end of this calendar year. The University of Oklahoma echoed this statement, saying that its Sooner Card would also be available to students, faculty and staff.

In a tweet, Tracy Futhey, chief information officer at Duke University, said that the initiative would enable students to access buildings and make payments across campus in an “even easier way.” She added her institution is “continually looking for technologies that can improve student experience,” adding that working with Apple was a “natural fit.”

5 Ways Blockchain Is Revolutionizing Higher Education

By KEVIN ROEBUCK Published May 17th, 2018 in the Wall Street Journal

What is blockchain and how will it transform education and research? Let’s ask that question a different way: What is education and how will it change as a result of blockchain and other technologies?

Education is the collective pursuit of truth and the transfer of knowledge across generations. It’s based on trust in the authority of our institutions, in the veracity of the teachings and research they represent. And it’s a global community characterized by consensus, transparency and permanence.

Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology, represents most of those things. It promotes consensus because it’s a record-keeping platform. It’s transparent because participants in the chain can download and validate individual ledgers. And it’s permanent because those ledgers can’t be altered. Like education, blockchain is intended to transfer not just content, but also the value inherent in that content.

It’s no surprise, then, that blockchain is the next technological chapter in a long trend of decentralization in the higher education sector.

It’s been only eight years since the emergence of the white paper that defined blockchain’s trusted, peer-to-peer, distributed-ledger network model, initially incarnated in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It’s still early days for blockchain’s use in education and research, but there’s a lot of promising experimentation and innovation going on.

1. Student records and credentialing. Education is changing to a personalized model. What is each individual’s talents, competencies and credentials? The reality is that a lot of learning takes place outside of the classroom as well as inside. People learn from many different sources throughout their lifetimes. Your academic record doesn’t nearly encapsulate that lifelong learning process—and it’s not owned by you.

Blockchain offers a model for the secure collection and sharing of all of your competency indicators, including academic records but also badges, certificates, citations, letters of recommendation and the like. Think of it as an immutable, updatable and verifiable e-portfolio of your learning-oriented life experiences. For similar reasons, blockchain will be instrumental in avoiding fraud, providing a trusted means to establish that you are who you claim to be.

MIT is a leader in blockchain-based credentialing, having developed an open standard for verifiable digital records with a company called Learning Machine. Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque last year began issuing “student-owned digital credentials” on a blockchain platform that the college plans to make available to other educational institutions in the state.

2. Partnership platform. The City College of New York is one of a handful of universities assessing Bitcoin as a method of payment. But blockchain’s potential impact on academia’s financial side goes far beyond cryptocurrency.

As mentioned above, higher education has been evolving into a distributed model for some time now—consider California’s three-tiered college system or the SUNY system in New York. Recently, colleges and universities have been creating consortiums to collectively aggregate their resources. One such effort, the Internet 2 Net+ Initiative, provides a range of application, computer and other cloud-based services that participating universities can access.

Blockchain’s peer-to-peer transaction-based model fits perfectly into such consortium efforts. Blockchain-based “smart contracts”—distributed, encrypted digital transactions among more than two parties—might be employed to ensure the speed and transparency.

3. Copyright and digital rights protection. Blockchain’s ability to manage, share and protect digital content makes it ideal for helping researchers, faculty members and other higher-ed principals create intellectual property, share it and still control the way it’s used. Professors, for instance, could be rewarded based on the actual use, and reuse, of their teaching materials, similar to how they’re rewarded based on citations in research papers and journals.

Blockchain will also be critical in the evolution of “community content repositories”—what we now call libraries. San Jose State University is a leader in the Library 2.0 movement. Blockchain could be used in curating digital content and protecting digital rights, among other areas.

4. Course curricula. Add blockchain to the list of emerging technology skills that employers will covet over the coming years.

Classes that teach the requisite blockchain programming skills will no doubt be important, but the technology presents a unique educational challenge because it sits at the intersection of so many areas of business and technology, including policy, law, commerce, transactions, intellectual property rights, cryptography and artificial intelligence. Thus, blockchain education requires an interdisciplinary approach, such as the program developed by the Berkeley Center for Law and Business that combines business, law, economics, computer science and engineering.

5. Innovation learning platform. Entrepreneurship is the lens through which many students view their educational opportunities. And many students see blockchain learning as preparation for the next generation of startups.

Carolina FinTech Hub, a community group representing businesses in North and South Carolina, recently wrapped up its Blockchain Generation Challenge (sponsored by Oracle). The group, which solicited student teams from local colleges to submit proposals for blockchain-based applications, received 31 proposals from 29 teams representing 68 participants. Judges from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, EY, Ally and Oracle, among other companies, picked 10 finalist teams, which developed applications aimed at the energy, finance, education and healthcare sectors. Don’t be surprised to see one or two of those blockchain applications implemented by Carolina businesses in the near future.

Students are also taking blockchain education into their own hands. Blockchain at Berkeley is a student-led 501C3 non-profit organization that offers blockchain-related education, consulting and research to local businesses. Elsewhere, the mission statement of Cornell Blockchain is to “develop, consult and support growing projects in blockchain and create a community of innovators.”

I’ve been in educational technology for 30 years. My father worked at Apple and brought home an Apple II computer early on. I met Steve Jobs and heard him talk about how the Apple II would transform education. Now other technologies and tech-based movements—blockchain prominent among them—promise to overhaul the educational experience. The Learn to Earn initiative at the Institute for the Future, for instance, describes a radical vision for a national learning economy.

Enter cloud computing. When blockchain becomes a cloud service, made easily accessible to educational institutions and their wide constituent groups, it will demonstrate results at a scale that will drive revolutionary change.

Kevin Roebuck is director of digital experience for education and research within Oracle’s Industry Solutions Group.

Can blockchain reinvent the college enterprise?


Illustration by Tom Vander Ark

Dive Brief:

  • The emergence of blockchain digital record keeping is becoming a component of the higher education enterprise, from student training to record keeping, credentialing and finance, the Wall Street Journal reports. Blockchain is a continuously growing digital list of records that are linked and secured using cryptography, the process of converting plain text into unintelligible text and vice versa. Cryptography protects data from theft or alteration, and can be used for user authentication.
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s leaders in developing blockchain solutions for higher education, having piloted a digital records system using the platform, while the City College of New York is assessing how Bitcoin may be used as a form of tuition payment.
  • Blockchain is also being used for copyright protection of faculty member publishing and research, with San Jose State University serving as a leader in the Library 2.0 movement within higher education. It also is becoming a fast growing element of curriculum design and degree offerings, with students at the University of California, Berkeley having established a non-profit organization to position students as consultants and entrepreneurial creators in the new industrial space.

Dive Insight:

Seemingly, blockchain stands to serve as a central element of overhauling higher education from the tech perspective, as its uses and design provide pathways for corporate partnership, professional development and innovation. And with varying institution types piloting ways for blockchain to be used within the campus enterprise, it offers a view of how institutions can harness the technology to boost credentialing and professional training add-ons.

Blockchain offers one way of verifying credentials, as well as allowing students to “own” their proof of learning, according Phil Komarny, vice of innovation at Salesforce, speaking at a meetup held by Edsurge. Records would be in the hands of students and graduates, not the college registar.

But not all universities are eager to implement blockchain because of concerns about potential fraud and because not all students and graduates want their information in the system.


Published by Education Dive   May 31, 2018   Authored by 

Social and Economic Mobility for California’s Stranded Workers

Governor Brown’s 2018 budget includes a proposal to create a new community college—distinct from California’s existing 114 community colleges by being fully online—aimed at improving the economic outlooks of our state’s “stranded workers.” This population is generally considered to be adults aged 25-34 who have graduated from high school but have not completed a postsecondary degree.

Increasing education is a winning strategy for expanding skill sets and bolstering students’ economic outlooks. Online coursework may offer flexibility to navigate some of the obstacles faced by stranded workers if the right supports are in place. This brief takes a closer look at California’s stranded workers, highlighting ways a fully online community college could increase their economic and social mobility.

To learn more about California’s 2.5 million stranded workers, we examined population characteristics statewide and regionally, looking into their employment status, occupations, family structures, and the kinds of economic hardships they face.

  • Key findings include:
  • 54% of stranded workers are employed full-time
  • Half of women who are stranded workers have dependent children
  • 25% of stranded workers don’t have health insurance
  • More than half (58%) earn less than $25,000 annually.

Download the brief.


The Multi-Billion Dollar Industry That Makes Its Living From Your Data

In the ocean ecosystem, plankton is the raw material that fuels an entire food chain. These tiny organisms on their own aren’t that remarkable, but en masse, they have a huge impact on the world.

Here on dry land, the massive volume of content and meta data we produce fuels a marketing research industry that is worth nearly $50 billion. Every instant message, page click, and step you take now produces a data point that can be used to build a detailed profile of who you are.


The coarse-grained demographics and contact information of yesteryear seems quaint compared to today’s sophisticated data collection battleground. In the past, marketers would make judgement calls on your likely income and family structure based on where you lived, and you’d receive “targeted” mail and calls from telemarketers. Loyalty programs and the emergence of web analytics pushed things a little further.

Today, the steady march of technological advancement has created a vast data collection empire that measures every aspect of your digital life and, increasingly, your offline life as well. Facebook alone uses nearly one hundred data points to target ads to you – everything from your marital status to whether you’ve been on vacation lately or not. Telecoms have access to extremely detailed information on your location. Apple has biometric data.

Also watching your every move are web trackers. “Cookie-syncing” is one of the sneaky ways advertisers can follow you around the internet. Basically, cookie-syncing allows third parties to share browsing information at such a large scale that even the NSA “piggybacks” off them for surveillance purposes.

The recent sales growth of smart speakers will only increase the breadth of data companies collect and analyze. Amazon and Google have both filed patents for technology that would essentially allow them to mine audio recordings for keywords. Advertisers could potentially target you with diapers before your family and friends even know you’re expecting a baby.


While web trackers and companies like Apple and Google are collecting a lot of personal and behavioral data, it’s the whales of the data ecosystem – data brokers – who are creating increasingly detailed profiles on almost everyone.

Data brokers trade on the privacy of consumers and operate in the shadows.

– Senator Al Franken (D-Minn)

The goal of data brokers, such as Experian or Acxiom, is to siphon up as much personal data as possible and apply it to profiles. This data comes from a wide variety of sources. Your purchases, financial history, internet activity, and even psychographic attributes are mixed with information from public records to create a robust dossier. Digital profiles are then sorted into one of thousands of categories to help optimize advertising efforts.


According to Pew Research, 91% of Americans “agree” or “strongly agree” that people have lost control over how personal information is collected and used.

Though optimizing clickthroughs is a big business, companies are increasingly moving beyond advertising to extract value from their growing data pipeline. Amalgamated data is increasingly being viewed as a clever way to assess risk in the decision-making process (e.g. hiring, insurance, loan or housing applications), and the stakes for consumers are going up in the process.

For example, a man may feel comfortable sharing their HIV status on Grindr (for practical reasons), but may not want that information going to a third party. (Unfortunately, that really happened.)

In 2015, Facebook filed a patent for a service that would help insurance companies vet people based on the credit ratings of their social network.


Below the surface of our screens, our digital profiles continue to take shape.

Measures like adjusting website privacy controls and clearing cookies are a good start, but that’s only a fraction of the data companies are collecting. Not only do data brokers make it hard to officially opt out, their partnerships with corporations and advanced data collection methods cast such a wide net, that it’s almost impossible to exclude individual people.

Data brokers have operated with very little scrutiny or oversight, but that may be changing. Under intense public and governmental pressure, Facebook recently cut ties with data brokers. For a company that has bullishly pursued monetization of user data at every turn, the move is a sign that the public sentiment is changing.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

How’s YOUR Data?

Below’s infographic shows how YOUR data is collected and used.  Shouldn’t you OWN YOUR DATA? 


Pearson/UPCEA: What #HigherEd Needs to Know About the State of Alternative Credentials

As the workplace evolves, job candidates are eager to demonstrate what they know – and what they can do– to prospective employers.

That’s why workers are increasingly turning to alternative credentials like digital badges, certificates and microcredentials to highlight their professional value.

Here are six things higher education needs to know about the state of these popular new educational offerings from a new report from Pearson and UPCEA.


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