The American Council on Education recently announced that a University of Arizona (UA) project, UnBlockEd, is among the first phase winners of its $900,000 Blockchain Innovation Challenge.

The project was developed to address the unnecessary challenges that college students face when trying to transfer their college credits. Once you put a transcript through the system, UnBlockEd can quickly tell you if your credits can be carried over or not. 

UA Vice Provost Greg Heileman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, explained that students go through so much trouble to get the credit transfer process right since they generally lose “a year’s worth of college credits every time they transfer.”

The UnBlockEd Solution

However, thanks to this project, students can look forward to a hassle-free credit transfer process. UnBlockEd utilizes blockchain technology, which has been used extensively by financial markets, to provide efficient service.

“You could take your transcript with all of your prior coursework, put it through the system and query it to say tell me the degree I am closest to learning at a given university, tell me the one that accepts the largest number of my credits,” Heileman said.

Plus, the system employs tamperproof technology which assures users that personal records will not be subjected to unauthorized access.

Liesl Folks, senior vice president and provost of the university, said that the project aims “to make it as easy as possible for people to finish that degree and get that credential so they can accelerate their careers. That will be a win for Arizona and of course for her people.”

The first phase winners of the challenge received $150,000 to further develop their individual projects in spring 2021 and the UA team has a scheduled demo presentation in April to hopefully secure funding for the second time around.