Blockchain for Education Records : An interpretive research on university students’ perceptions

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för informatik (IK); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för informatik (IK)

Abstract: This research aims to explore students’ perceptions and their desired features on the use of blockchain technology for the management of education records. A literature review formed the basis of the theoretical background of this work by allowing to explore how education records are managed nowadays and the potential for the use of blockchain technology in this area, as well as the importance of user-centred design in order to achieve a higher user-acceptance. A qualitative research study encompassing a focus group interview with Linnaeus University students was conducted to answer the research questions. Computer assisted thematic data analysis yielded five key themes: current usage of university education records, understanding how blockchain works, sustainability of blockchain, security of blockchain and implementation of blockchain for education records. The discussion relates the empirical findings to the theoretical background of the research. Participants were generally positive towards the use of blockchain for the management of education records and saw it as one of the potential future solutions. Nevertheless, they voiced some reservations regarding the high energy consumption, costs and security towards a possible use of the blockchain technology. Therefore, careful implementation would be needed, with increased focus on usability, solving some security and sustainability issues and ensuring a fair and transparent access model. This master thesis contributes to the current body of knowledge within informatics by empowering students to share their point of view with regards to possible development of IT solutions based on blockchain technology. As found through this master thesis research, systems for the management of educational records have an impact on person’s life long past finishing a course or a degree, affecting people’s everyday experience in many areas of life and students would like to be included in any future development discussions. Therefore, the research study provides insights which could be used in the future in two ways: firstly, to achieve a more user-centred design of education records management systems and secondly, on the students’ perception of the use of blockchain technology in this area of life.

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