Oxford University's Bodleian Library has 12 million items and roots that stretch back to the 14th Century. The Woolf 'blockchain' library will use an app instead of a campus. Photo: Tejvan Pettinger / Creative Commons

A group of Oxford University academics has launched what they say is the world’s first “blockchain university”, reports Times Higher Education.

Woolf University says it will not have a physical campus but instead be based around an app that links academics to prospective students who then use the Woolf platform to select study modules that fit their academic needs.

The university says blockchain technology will be used to track academic progress and also for contracts and payments. The blockchain records can then be used to gain formal accreditation with traditional universities.

Woolf plans to launch in the third quarter of 2018 and will organize itself around the Oxford and Cambridge University collegiate system and, like Oxford, will teach via individual tutorials or small-sized lectures. Woolf’s classes, however, will be conducted using Skype-type online platforms.

The initiative will, according to a post on Woolf’s Twitter feed be “like Uber without Uber: a decentralized, non-profit, democratic society, run by its members, on behalf of its members. That is what a blockchain can do. That is why our tuition will be lower and our salaries will be higher.”

Sounds interesting but it doesn’t leave much room for social interaction. Once upon a time, students went to uni to study but also to meet and to party. With blockchain that could be a thing of the past.

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