Brazilian University Unochapecó: Pioneer in the use of blockchain to protect academic records in Brazil and possibly the world
Unochapecó University is pioneering the use of blockchain to protect academic records. A simple project developed in 90 days running on 3 nodes that creates many solutions.
Unochapecó is a Community University, located in the Region of Chapecó Brazil. A community institution deeply identified with regional development and very attentive to the needs of the population and organizations located in its region.
The university was born 40 years ago. It is the initiative of local leaders with the purpose of guaranteeing the offer of education to the population of the region and for years it has been contributing actively to the development of the west of Santa Catarina. Through the training of qualified professionals, continuing education for professionals and leaders, production and publication of new knowledge, the development of community actions aimed at promoting economic, social, cultural, sports and health development, as well as social assistance actions.
In recent years, Unochapecó has prioritized investments in its modernization, as well as in the approach to the productive sector and social organizations. Improving its development support instruments, focusing on technological innovation, agility and quality of the services it provides and transformation of people as a privileged way of promoting development.
The purpose of the project
Several records need to become immutable after their generation, such as the class journal closures of the subjects (frequency, notes, and content). This is one of the most important information in the course of a student’s academic life, and is often the target of many fraud attempts.
Although Unochapecó uses a robust set of systems to prevent fraud, the goal of this project was to build an additional layer of security to set in stone academic records. And to make it impossible for any party involved to access and make changes to distort the data released by teachers.
In addition, the project has simplified the process of generating reports of academic records, giving the teacher more autonomy, less dependency on the Academic Department, reducing costs and increasing traceability.
How the solution works
Once again showing itself to be an innovative university, Unochapecó adopted blockchain as the solution to meet the objectives of this project. A private network with three nodes was implemented, one in the local infrastructure of the university and the other two in the public cloud, and the blockchain solution was built in the form of APIs integrated to the academic management system of the university, “Minha Uno” (my Uno).
This is a pioneering project to use blockchain in universities in Brazil, and the implemented solution guarantees integrity, authenticity, traceability, inviolability and data security related to students’ academic records.
Classroom logging is done through applications that are part of My Uno, the own academic management platform adopted by Unochapecó, and there is already a change in the teachers’ access: the adoption of a second authentication factor (2FA) based on a private key generated and stored on the teacher’s smartphone.
At the moment the teacher accesses the My Uno system using this new method, an event is generated and this login is registered in the blockchain, guaranteeing total traceability of the accesses made by the teachers.
After the release of the records, the teachers generate the reports digitally and the system identifies the unique digital identity of these documents, generating the hash of the files to be registered in the blockchain. A digital signature based on the teacher’s identity is added and the reports information is recorded in a blockchain block, petrificating this data into the university system.
A receipt is generated and automatically attached to the reports with the academic records, indicating the hash of the documents, login with the teacher information, block in which it was included in the blockchain, and other information relevant to the process, allowing full traceability.
Benefits of using the solution
- Higher level of security in accessing the teacher, eliminating the possibility of someone accessing using their credentials
- Improved traceability of teachers’ access to the Minha Uno system
- Guarantee of integrity and inviolability of the data registered in the blockchain
- Elimination of printing need for academic record reports
- Elimination of teachers’ need for the printed documents
- Reduction of the workload of the Academic Secretariat with respect to the generation, printing and control of academic records
- Increased reliability of the academic records process, enhancing Unochapecó’s credibility in the marketplace
- Expansion of the university’s innovative vision, positioning itself as one of the first to implement blockchain technology in its processes
- Creation of a blockchain network infrastructure of Unochapecó, which will allow the implementation of new projects focusing on other university processes
- Creation of a knowledge base about technology and its potential, creating intellectual capital that can be transformed into extension courses for the academic community
This is the first blockchain project in a series to come, and future objectives include optimizing Unochapecó’s processes, such as contract management and financial agreements, and registering the degrees in blockchain, offering a benefit to students through a platform that guarantees the authenticity of student certificates. Something more audacious that is on the radar is to create a cluster of universities interested in ensuring the consistency of their processes and academic records using the solution in blockchain.
Unochapecó: a university in constant innovation
This is not the first innovative project of Unochapecó, whose area of technology is constantly working to implement solutions that generate value for the university and the academic community, implementing in practice the idea of Intelligent University.
The area responsible for all this innovation is the Information Technology Directorate (DTI), under the responsibility of Lissandro Hoffmeister, and among the innovations are the My Uno portal, the mobile application for the whole community in the Android and iOS versions, the real-time monitoring of transportation at the urban terminal, the password service at the office, and even automatic proofreading and the repository of support material.
New implementations are underway, such as the Localize tool, which interacts with the user in a cognitive way and directs the student to his / her classroom. The cognitive service will alert students about the need for contract signatures with the secretaries, as well as warn the best moment to be attended without queues.
All of these innovations are stimulated by the Google for Education program, a project that brings the university closer to Google’s engineers for digital transformation in academia. Certainly the innovation in Unochapecó is not only the focus of DTI, but there is a common interest of the Rectory, support areas, teachers and students themselves to keep Unochapecó among the most innovative universities in Brazil.
Words from CIO
“I encourage my IT field to think about innovation and to transform our IT field into a change agent. More than ever we need to reinvent ourselves, be strategic and propose solutions that add value to the institution, that is our competitive differential. We have accumulated innovation projects in recent years from a unified platform we call My One. However, this blockchain project is very special because it is one of the pioneering projects with the use of this technology in Brazil and in the world. We can say that we have mastered technology, we have learned a great deal from OnePercent, and we believe we have come up with the ideal solution to ensure the integrity, authenticity, traceability, tamper-evidentness, and security of academic records-related data using blockchain. “Lissandro Hoffmeister — Director of Unochapecó Information Technology
Article created by Unochapecó University and translated with few modifications by MamãeCrypto