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Office of the Registrar at Lehman College

Lehman College Blockchain Credential Pilot - For 2019 Graduates

Frequently Asked Questions - 10/17/19

Congratulations on your graduation from Lehman College! We are proud of your achievements.  We are also pleased to launch a pilot program to allow you to manage your Lehman degree as a secure, verifiable digital credential through blockchain. There is no charge to students for this new service.

What is blockchain and why is it important?

The college is issuing digital credentials to provide our graduates with a portable, virtual lifetime record.

of their Lehman accomplishments. Blockchain is an emerging technology that allows for digital information, or transactions, to be stored in a distributed fashion without relying on one central authority. For example, the information regarding your Lehman degree, when stored in blockchain, is a unique, time-stamped, and secure record that is digitally signed. This approach provides greater choice in the ways students can present their achievements, and it reinforces that students “own” their credential. Over time, we believe blockchain will become a key method for educational institutions, employers, and others to validate your achievements.

Why is Lehman College providing 2019 degree credentials to students in the form of badges and blockchain?

Electronic or digital diplomas are not new - many institutions offer them in a variety of flavors. Along with a growing number of academic institutions, Lehman College is exploring the use of blockchain, a technology that is projected to experience significant growth over the next several years. The online tool to verify your digital credential was originally developed at MIT, and was designed for academic credentials, professional certifications, and other records.

Lehman’s blockchain pilot builds on the college’s micro-credentials/badges platform to provide a secure digital record of your 2019 undergraduate or graduate degree. This pilot will not replace the paper diploma, nor does it replace the approval processes to ensure that graduating students have satisfied all degree requirements.

How are Credly and Lehman collaborating on blockchain for issuing degrees and high-quality certificates?

Credly is the technology provider that Lehman College uses to issue digital credentials. Over the last 18 months, Lehman has issued 16 badges or micro-credentials to more than 10,000 students in a variety of areas. Credly has developed a new capability to issue and verify credentials using blockchain, and Lehman will pilot this for undergraduate and graduate diplomas issued starting in May 2019.

Will I still receive my paper diploma?

Yes! The process for issuing traditional diplomas is unchanged. Following the issuance of paper diplomas by the Office of the Registrar in the August 2019 timeframe, information about your digital credential will be sent to your Lehman email address. The email will include information about how to claim your credential.

Is there an extra charge to receive or use digital credentials through blockchain?

No. There is no charge to students for this service.

How will I access and use my badge and blockchain? 

You will receive an email regarding your digital credential in the Fall 2019 timeframe. You then have the option to accept it by creating an account.  You may choose to publish your credential to the blockchain so it can be verified. In addition, you can also download your Blockcert certificate (JSON file) and keep it as a verifiable record of your achievement (see question below about blockchain verification). Here is a short video to learn more.

Is my blockchain information private?

There is no personally identifiable information associated with your Lehman credential stored on the blockchain. You have the option to claim your account and make the information available.  When you claim your account, the transaction points back to your credential page - this is the page that displays your name, the date you earned the credential, and the criteria for earning. Kindly note that your credential is secure and tamper-resistant.

Can other colleges and employers use blockchain to verify my Lehman diploma?

Indeed, they can! When another institution or employer views your credential page, they will see a “Verify” button to accomplish that task. To see what a blockchain verification looks like, please click on the “Verify” button in the upper right corner of this sample badge.

Will other colleges be able to add diplomas and certificates to my blockchain in the future?

Other colleges may participate in Credly’s blockchain or related initiatives to include additional verified achievements.

What kind of blockchain are you using?  Is it based on open standards?

Your verified achievements are placed onto the Bitcoin blockchain based on the Blockcerts specification. This specification leverages the Open Badges standard. “Open standards” refers to a collaborative technology development process that supports information exchange. Blockcerts was originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for academic credentials, professional certifications, and other records. Please see the links in question 12 for more information.

What else do I need to know?

As mentioned above, your blockchain credential is provided at no additional cost. This digital record is intended to empower the ownership of your credential. It becomes a permanent record once published to blockchain.

Where can I obtain more information?