Several (Historically Black Colleges) HBCUs are exploring the next phase of decentralized technologies in a bid to see their students get ahead of the curve. As the technology becomes more mainstream Tonya Evans, chair at MakerDAO Foundation and visiting professor at Penn State’s Dickinson law school said that HBCUs have to make the leap.
He added that HBCUs were keen to jump deep into web 3.0 to avoid missing out as they did during the dot-com revolution.
“We were not participating in the dot-com era. Most of the Black community didn’t know about it at the time.”
Universities increasingly introducing Blockchain courses
Only a few schools so far are dedicating resources to teaching the technology. The few that have introduced a module or two are seeing their students form groups and learning on their own. Universities have taken note of this momentum and seeking to get ahead of it according to Bowie State University graduate Ryan Cooper.
More universities are taking to Blockchain after a Blockchain group from Morgan State Fintech Centre received a million-dollar endorsement from ripple last year. The lead of the group Judith Schnidman said that several universities are now collaborating to create a Blockchain major.
“We’d like every university to have a blockchain major. We want students to graduate with enough skills to break into this field. The whole world is different because of online. Even before the whole COVID thing, we were talking about doing a multi-university, multi-disciplinary blockchain major. “
Last year’s HBCU blockchain Curriculum Development Institute meeting brought 45 faculty members from roughly 30 universities to submit course proposals. The aim was to either modify a course to include blockchain education or bring in new courses. Winning presenters were invited to New Orleans for a three-day conference that would turn their proposals into courses.
Aside from the ripple deal that happened more than 12 months ago, Morgan State has inked deals with other Blockchain corporates recently. A recent deal with Binance will see 42 students enrolled in crypto trading where each student will get $200 dollars in crypto to trade. The aim of the endeavour is to educate students on fintech which is an area that’s changing fast.
As HBCUs try to get in on the Blockchain game, the age-old issue of funding rears its ugly head. Professor Schurn from Howard University agrees that funding is a barrier for HBCU’s.
“There are so many technologies that have the potential for impact and they’re competing for space in these student’s heads. It’s tough particularly in COVID times because budgets are even tighter than they were. Do you add a blockchain course or a cybersecurity course?
Howard University is in the process of applying for grants from fintech companies and accelerators before COVID-19 became a thing in the US. According to Prof Schurn Blockchain at Howard will only progress if some serious third party investment comes through.
“Momentum for blockchain at Howard won’t really occur until there is some investment by a third party in a collaborative project.”
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