Code that makes an impact on business
As blockchain technology continues to evolve, educational institutions are adjusting to meet the demand of a business landscape focused on providing graduates with vocational skills. The next generation of business leaders will require an innate understanding of the application of blockchain technology and a capacity to realise the implications of distributed trust.
Macquarie University has played a leading role in looking to the future needs of education. Professor Smith references blue ocean strategy, a concept introduced by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne to describe an uncontested market space where emerging technology can render competitors irrelevant when discussing blockchain.
“The applications of blockchain technology are yet to be fully developed. While the technology is changing rapidly, it’s critical to ensure the next generation of graduates are informed and able to plan through its implications,” he explains when discussing why blockchainspecific courses are planned to sit within the Department of Applied Finance.
In speaking of the rapid evolution of the technology, Smith points out the importance of fostering an understanding of the strategic application of the technology: “There’s a need to understand the framework of blockchain and be able to apply it. In the future, there are going to be a lot of people that can code on a blockchain, but they need to know where it can impact a business. The course material is very much focused on strategic development and delivery, not necessarily on the technology itself,” he says.
Delivery of vocational-based material that can be immediately practical is a focus for all learning institutions. “Macquarie University has approved a new Masters specialising in FinTech, the Masters of Banking and Finance (Fin Tech),” says Smith. “We have also redrafted the curriculum to include FinTech in the Undergraduate and Applied Finance programs through practical application in the Macquarie Finance Decision Lab.”
The development and approval of a curriculum is typically a slow process. However, while large institutions are ramping up their plans to incorporate blockchain into degrees, independent organisations are also focusing on offering specialised diplomas and equipping students with specific knowledge.
One such example is the Advanced Diploma of Applied Blockchain, developed by the Blockchain Collective. The course, which comprises between 1780 to 1820 hours of learning (subject to electives), could be delivered inperson or via the internet, and has been developed to empower students with knowledge that could be applied for up to ten years into the future. And it’s not just Australian students that stand to benefit.
“A number of universities today offer only short courses and without sufficient depth, so the curriculum prepared by School of Blockchain offers huge export potential,” explains Nathan Burns, Co-Founder of the Blockchain Collective. “Blockchain is here to stay and a formally approved curriculum is required to help businesses take this journey. The School of Blockchain offers Australia’s first accredited education product at the advanced diploma level.”
Similar to Macquarie University’s approach, the material is designed to empower students to understand the capability and applications of the technology. “It doesn’t focus on the cryptography and tools, but rather the strategic implementation of the tech,” he continues.
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