How can Blockchain transform the Education Sector??

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What began as a chance meeting in a New York City? hotel bar in 2012, is blossoming into a cross-border phenomenon that promises to change the education industry. ODEM, or the On-Demand Education Marketplace, is deploying blockchain technology to make international education more accessible, affordable, transferrable and verifiable. Based in Switzerland, ODEM is poised to launch the ODEM Platform, a global education portal that connects students and professors to collaborate and deliver innovative educational programs.

On top of that, the Platform is critical to ODEM’s partnerships with General Electric Co. and leading centers of learning in Europe and North America to issue blockchain-based certificates of professional and educational achievement. Blockchain technology is the software that underlays the creation of digital currencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum. A key feature of the encryption technology is that it enables transactions to securely occur without the involvement of intermediaries. Back in 2012, Blockchain was barely in its pre-infancy when Bill Bayrd, a former Marine Corps bomb disposal expert, and Richard Maaghul, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur, met for the first time over a drink in Manhattan. That conversation led to the eventual creation of an international training company and exposed the pair Richard Maaghul, ODEM to the complexities of putting together courses for foreign students and executives on the campuses of elite U.S. universities.

Arranging classrooms, facilities, language translation, catering, and traveland– accommodation were time consuming and expensive. Not long afterward, Bayrd and Maaghul became aware of blockchain technology and began to consider how to unleash its power to creatively shake up the education industry and improve learning outcomes. “Bitcoin opened my eyes to how blockchain technology could be used to make education more affordable and responsive to students’ needs,” said Bayrd. “The technology was made for collaboration.”

The result is that Bayrd and Maaghul and them international team have created a global education marketplace that eases the organization of in-person learning and gives students more power to interact directly with professors at top universities. The ODEM Platform enables students to actively manage the cost of education by focusing on affordable, short-term, in-person classes finely tuned to their learning needs at a specific time in their career. It could herald the end of costly four-year degrees. ODEM uses artificial intelligence to seamlessly manage complex requests to organize educational programs around the world. Once programs are entered into by students and educators, ODEM smart contracts manage payments from beginning to the end of short-term and long-term engagements.

The beauty of the ODEM platform and its use of blockchain and artificial intelligence is that the more educators generate popular academic courses, the more students will be attracted. And the more students that use the platform, the more our network efficiency will drive costs down for participants. For educators, the Platform increases their visibility among all education buyers, generates real-time feedback on their programs, and pays incentives for development of relevant educational content. The platform reduces costs and improves access to premium education by directly connecting educators with students and eliminating inefficient and costly intermediaries.

As the ODEM Platform moves toward launch in the first quarter of 2019, momentum is increasing, especially in the realm of the issuance of blockchain-based certificates. This was a major milestone that came to fruition in September 2018. ODEM was successful in the activation of smart contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain in support of the ODEM Platform. Dr. Adel Emissary, ODEM’s Chief Technology Mentor, completed the deployment of the contracts at a live event at the #SWITCH! Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania As an audience of mostly students looked on, Antanas Guoga, the Lithuanian representative to the European Parliament, received the first blockchainbased educational certificate to be generated by the ODEM Platform. “Today’s activation is a powerful endorsement of our project’s technical viability,” said Dr. Emissary. “I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve achieved toward making the ODEM Platform a reality.”

In December 2018 ODEM partnered with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to issue blockchain based academic certificates to a select group of SAIT students. They became the first graduating class at a Canadian postsecondary institution to be granted digital credentials using blockchain technology. Blockchain certificates enable students to directly share their academic achievements with recruiters and potential employers around the world without requesting their paper or electronic records from SAIT.

Blockchain technology creates a decentralized digital ledger to cryptographically assure the validity of recipient-controlled credentials. ODEM also it will provide GE GeniusLinkTM, a unit of General Electric. With blockchain-based tools and technology to support GeniusLink management of experts and on-demand consultants. GeniusLink will verify the professional qualifications of its highkchain certificates to ensure that shortterm talent successfully fulfills client expectations. ODEM will provide training allowing GeniusLink to augment and validate the qualifications of its on-demand talent for clients. Onboarding educators has also been a priority.

In December 2018 ODEM welcomed Dr. Michel Girardin, a consultant and respected lecturer in Macro Economics and Finance at the University of Geneva. He is joining ODEM, as an of blended- learning academic programs, educator relations, and marketing strategies. Dr. Girardin’s Investment Management course has been among the highest-rated business offerings on Coursera, according to a report prepared for the University of Geneva. “In 2017, this specialization ranked in the top 10 of all specializations at Coursera aimed at boosting educator and strategic advisor. Dr. Girardin managed an Investment Management course for Coursera that has one’s professional career and was further classified in the top three courses to build skills in today’s hottest fields, that of becoming a financial advisor,” the report states.

“Earlier this year, the program was second in popularity among 980 business offerings on Coursera’s platform.” Dr. Girardin has more than two decades of experience in the Swiss private banking industry as a Chief Economist been followed by more than 450,000 students since 2018. He will advise ODEM on the development and Chief Investment Officer. He was attracted to ODEM by the opportunity to explore the use of blockchain technology to address the problem of student dishonesty in online education.

The ODEM platform with its innovation, values, and achievements has already won the respect of the tech industry and is looking forward to unlocking human potential, globally.

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