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EdTech Platform Tackles Fake Credentials

Geoff WhitingScience Tech2018 08 29
EdTech Platform Tackles Fake Credentials
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The right degree can open the doors to a lucrative, exciting career that rewards your hard work, so it won’t come as a surprise that some people look for a shortcut with fake credentials.

Unfortunately, this kind of fraud doesn’t just lead to unqualified high school principals resigning after intrepid student journalism. It also leads to fake doctors providing the wrong medicine and uncredentialed employees causing major accidents that harm or kill hundreds of people.

The dangers around false credentials are growing. From 2012 to 2018, the number of companies that said they had found a lie or misrepresentation of credentials on a resume rose from 66 percent to 84 percent of respondents in benchmark reports from HireRight. Nearly half of these organizations will not rescreen workers after they’re hired, which could cause issues related to criminal activity or a worker losing a required professional license but not informing HR.

We recently spoke to Dobromir Kovachev at Open Source University, which has a new technology it hopes will make that vetting and verification fast, simple and effective.

Blockchain’s Role in Verification

Open Source University is an education and career development blockchain ledger designed to simplify the process of updating and authenticating the credentials of individuals. The aim, Kovachev says, is to reduce the time it takes to find the best candidate while also improving the effectiveness of hiring decisions.

Verifying credentials is a tedious, time-consuming process for HR. When scaling for growth or managing turnover, HR professionals often juggle multiple functions and can be stretched very thin. Checking education or skills can slip through the cracks.

An automated process could prevent such mistakes, while blockchain could help ensure its accuracy.

Blockchain provides this support through the immutable ledger it creates, where no items can be removed or edited, but updates can be added. This record allows a job seeker to upload a resume to the OS.University system, where the platform identifies degrees and certificates. If the school or credentials issuer is on the platform, OS.University’s algorithms can then verify these claims against its database and make a note about the veracity of the claim, Kovachev says. The heavy lifting of calling schools or searching databases is done automatically.

Multiple Layers of Support

For HR teams, OS.University offers tools that can suggest the right candidates based on open positions, education and other company preferences. The system validates the educational certificates of its applicant pool ahead of time, aiming to reduce HR’s burden related to authentication. Alongside its hiring support, OS.University will provide analytics tools to help companies find new educational services for their staff and monitor the progress of employee certification processes.

The system also benefits applicants, Kovachev says. OS.University’s existing algorithms can identify the right courses or degrees to help advance careers based on what employers are seeking.

This same support can extend to educational institutions that often struggle to accurately measure demand for specific skills or degrees. The OS.University platform identifies what is desired by reviewing the job requirements companies list and the skills or credentials they review. Kovachev says data mining tools can create a snapshot of industry demand for its partners.

The Future at OS.University

OS.University’s next steps include expanding its reach and support for individuals, schools and businesses. The company says it has integrated with about 700 universities and has access to 60 million people who have used massive open online courses.

The service, currently part of University College London’s EdTech incubator, has wrapped a successful initial coin offering and is working to expand its partners and educate the broader community about the role that blockchain and cryptocurrencies can have in the educational space.

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