Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Pocket?
  • The Pocket app is a digital wallet that grants lifelong learners ownership over their learning records. We use blockchain technology to link a single identity to verifiable credentials, which are stored in the learner’s digital wallet. These credentials represent identity, courses, tests and assessments, coursework links and artifacts, skill records, or any sort of learner accomplishment that can be digitized. Pocket displays these credentials and their associated metadata and acts as an identity proof application so that the learner can always demonstrate that they are the owner of their Pocket records. The Pocket platform is an enterprise level set of services and applications that can be accessed or integrated by educational and professional institutions with their existing systems, like SIS, LMS, HR, and other administrative programs.

  • How does Pocket work?
  • Pocket creates a secure identity for you and each institution that you’re affiliated with (that is part of the Pocket network). You’re able to access and receive secure, verified credentials from your institutions, and choose how you want to share those credentials with other educational and professional organizations. The Pocket app is currently available for iOS and Android phones, and administrators and program coordinators can also have authenticated access to the Pocket platform via a web app.

  • What can I put into my Pocket?
  • Pocket can store any credential that educational and professional organizations choose to issue. For AU, we currently support:

    • Identity, role and affiliations
    • Course enrollment
    • Course completion
    • Badges, including an integration with institutional Badgr accounts
    As we roll our our Alpha and Beta programs, will will be adding:
    • Transfer credits
    • Coursework, with links and/or attachments
    • Skill recognitions
    • Portfolio content linked to evidence of skills and knowledge
    • Endorsements
    • Grades and scores
    • Progress milestones
    • Degrees
    • Transcripts

  • How does content get into Pocket?
  • The credentials added to a student’s Pocket must come from a Pocket issuance server that an institution controls and manages. Pocket integrates directly with an institution’s SIS and LMS platform to issue course enrollment, course completion, and grade credentials. The Pocket platform also models institutional structures and objects, to provide a richer experience when reviewing records. In the future, Pocket will expand to issue more lightly-weighted credentials in the form of endorsements for self-claimed credentials. Pocket uses the Hyperledger Indy blockchain platform for creating learner’s identities. Indy provides strong security guarantees; Private data is exchanged over peer-to-peer encrypted connections instead of being written on the ledger. Every relationship has a unique id that ensures that the data cannot pass from one relationship to another. Indy ensures that individuals and institutions always know who they are interacting with. This combination of privacy and trust provides a solution for digital credentials that preserves privacy.

  • How secure is Pocket?
  • Pocket currently operates using the Hyperledger Indy blockchain platform. Indy provides strong security guarantees; private data is exchanged over peer-to-peer encrypted connections instead of being written on the ledger. Additionally, every relationship has a unique id that ensures that the data cannot pass from one relationship to another. Indy ensures that individuals and institutions always know who they are dealing with. This combination of privacy and trust provides a solution for digital credentials that preserves privacy. Additionally, all private and protected information is stored only in the form of credentials issued to a user’s private wallet, and remains encrypted and secure on their mobile device.

  • How else can the Pocket Identity be used?
  • Pocket is completely portable, and can be utilized by any platform that trusts institutions issuing Pocket identities.  Pocket identities are secure and non-hackable, and can potentially provide access to any data the owner wants to share.   Other Pocket use cases include:

    • Extending the basic student identity to be cross-institution
    • Serving as proof of identity at any organization or system that requires a student ID
    • Serving as a log-in to any student application
    • Providing access to libraries, dormitories, etc. in lieu of a key card

  • How does someone share their Pocket data?
  • Pocket owners can elect to share any of their credentials to any Pocket network member where they have any formal affiliation, either currently or in the past. A second-party institution’s access to a learner’s first-party institution data will be entirely governed by the learner, as they own the access to their credentials. Only the learner can grant access to records Institution A issues to Institution B. This is managed both when first creating identities for these institutions, and then when any data is actually transferred deliberately by the learner from one institution to another. Pocket enforces all FERPA requirements for educational record privacy, and learners must opt-in and consent to any record sharing.

  • Where is Pocket credential data stored?
  • Authentication and access to all Pocket credential data is stored on a blockchain in a Hyperledger Indy instance, which the Pocket team maintains and operates. Credentials themselves are stored in your secure and encrypted wallet on your smartphone. Additional metadata around credentials, like large attachments, are stored on the cloud service of your choice in an encrypted format and can only be accessed via access keys. Only a single Pocket app can be active on your phone at any given time, and only that Pocket app has access to the ledger chains associated with that identity.

  • Will it always be available to students?
  • Pocket records will remain accessible to students for as long as they have access to the Pocket wallet. Pocket’s long-term goal is to provide learners their professional and educational credentials long into their career.

  • What standards does Pocket conform to?
  • Pocket identity and blockchain technology are based on the Hyperledger Indy standard, as specified by the Sovrin network. Pocket is being developed to be interoperable with multiple evolving standards and platforms as well, including but not limited to IMS CLR, Open Badges, and OMS RDS standards.

  • What happens if I lose my phone or forget my pass phrase?
  • Pocket will support the ability to backup and restore the app from a cloud-based backup, and the ability to transfer the app and its data from device to device.  As of this current FAQ version, this feature has not yet been implemented. Currently, the nature of blockchain requires users to record a 12 word seed phrase. The Pocket team knows this is difficult to request from students unfamiliar with blockchain security. We are actively working on designing a better experience for managing this seed phrase requirement.

  • Will a verifier trust what I have in my Pocket?
  • In order for an institution or other organization to become a member of the Pocket Network / TLN, and be able to issue trusted and verified credentials to learners, they will need to be a vetted and established institution with existing systems to ensure their records are accurate and reflective of their learners’ actual records.   Additionally, the Pocket network will set up controls and rules that govern transactions between and among member institutions that they can control and vet.  Any given institution can manage their own list of trusted network members.

  • How can community colleges give the transcript autonomy to students without charging a fee?
  • Should they owe any money to the college itself, when some colleges depend upon those collected fees for their operating budgets? Although Pocket course credentials contain all the information (if not more!) that a traditional transcript contains, it isn’t intended to be a transcript. Instead, it replaces the role of a traditional transcript. It is a paradigm shift where learners own and control access to all of their learning records. Streamlining and automating this process results in a reduction in overhead time and effort, which go a long way in compensating for any revenue loss.   Pocket has not yet proposed any other means of monetization, as Pocket’s philosophy is to be as free and accessible to learners as possible.

  • How will Pocket ensure equity for all students?
  • By granting lifelong learners agency over their records, students with limited time and income will no longer need to spend resources providing institutions with paper transcripts or other traditional forms of proof. They will also be able to transport their credits more easily across multiple institutions during their learning journey.  Additionally, Pocket provides proof of achievement regardless of the attainment of a degree. Finally, although Pocket is currently designed as a smartphone application only, we will develop web apps, so that learners without easy access to smartphones or wireless connections can also use Pocket.

  • What kind of a commitment of resources would a community college need to contribute to utilize Pocket?
  • Currently we expect that a community college would only have to provide access to existing LMS and SIS systems, and that the Pocket Enterprise team will implement all integrations.  If the school wishes to integrate the Pocket workflow into any existing applications (e.g. logging in with the Pocket Identity, accessing any credit recognition and eligibility service, etc.), Pocket will provide SDKs and technical support for those efforts.

  • When will the technology be available?
  • We plan for Pocket to be able to service selected ASU students in a limited Beta in spring of 2023, and a full open Beta roll out for ASU Fall 2023.  This roadmap is subject to change.

  • What types of credentials can be added to Pocket?
  • The goal is to be interoperable with all major standards and platforms that have formats for all types of verifiable credentials. The Pocket Enterprise team is focused on ranking and prioritizing these platforms. That said, the initial focus will be credential standards like the Open Skills Network (OSN) that ASU (as a technology community) is already engaged with. In the future, we’ll also focus on the other major Student Information System (SIS) and Learning Management System (LMS) platforms, WC3 standards, IMS CLR and Open Badges, Badgr, and more. In addition to standard learning credentials, Pocket will recognize and issue milestones, degrees, diplomas, certifications and licenses, as well as assessment scores. Pocket will also be able to manage and share Portfolio content and any other achievement or award issued by a verified institution or individual on behalf of the institution. This might include honors awards, letters of recommendation, scholarships and fellowship awards. Etc. Pocket’s vision is to create a place where all credentials can live – not just educational and training institutions – but also include professional roles and titles, and credentials or assessments gained from professional organizations that truly reflect the accumulated verified accomplishments of lifelong learning.

  • What is Pocket ‘Strata’?
  • Pocket has three major components, the Mobile application and wallet, the Pocket Core server, which manages identity and issuance, and finally Pocket Strata, which can be accessed via an administrative console. Strata is the data and business intelligence layer of Pocket, residing outside of the Pocket Core services that simply issue and store credentials.  All credential and institutional metadata tables, as well as business rules and issuance logic reside in Pocket Strata.   Strata is also Pocket’s integration layer with an educational institution’s SIS and LMS implementations and data, as well as integrations with other 3rd parties such as Badgr.

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