Distributed Trust Systems Are Complicated [...]

In 2013 Scott Leslie blogs about overcoming his objections to badges; he sees them as possible disruption to the accreditation system, but notes how previous well reasoned webs of trust have fallen short because they are too complicated for basic users

If you know the history of public key encryption, you’ll know that while both the centralized Public Key Infrastructure model of Certificate Authorities and the distributed web-of-trust model of PGP still exist, PGP adoption by individual users has been spotty at best, plagued by very real “ease of use” issues (along with a general lack of understanding of the issue), while PKI, for all its flaws, supports pretty much all of the commercial transaction encryption on the net today (read: online shopping etc over https). Given that, why should a validation and endorsement mechanism for badges be any different?

As Erin outlines in the paper linked to above (page 4), there are plenty of good reasons for us to resist implementing a centralized trust model that replicates existing centralized accreditation models, easier though that may be. But even if we chose not to, what will keep a distributed model from failing/help it succeed? (Source)


Expanding The Transcript University of Calgary built a custom system for students to add non-course experiences as a "Co-Curricular Record" - involved logins, databases, web forms.

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