Polkadot at Universities

Hi Fellows, how are you doing?

I’m opening this topic to discuss the teaching of Polkadot technology at universities. I think Polkadot Blockchain Academy is a great initiative but besides that, how is the teaching and adoption of Polkadot at universities? Does anybody have information on that?

I’m asking because I’m a university professor in Brazil, and also a former W3F grants evaluator and I’m thinking of proposing something related to training students at universities as part of the Decentralized Futures initiative.

Cheers.

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I would support this. There is a lot of room to use Substrate at universities and teach Rust in general - I brought in Carol Nichols, one of the authors of The Rust Programming Language, to one of my QA classes to give a comparison between C and Rust, and it was one of the more popular classes I held. I haven’t seen much integration of Rust into University curricula.

I would also like @radha to weigh in on this, as we have discussed it also.

There was a Referendum for something similar a while back on the Polkadot Treasury, but I can’t find it at the moment.

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After publishing the introductory online courses on Rust and Polkadot-SDK on https://www.edx.org/school/web3x, the Technical Education team has plans to develop programs for educators. These programs draw inspiration from NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Institute that provide resources for the instructors at the universities to teach a full semester course.

Provision of a fully packaged Teaching kit like Deep Learning Teaching Kits for Educators | NVIDIA with instructional content, assessments, programming exercises and a faucet to give access to test nets for Polkadot would be our objective.

We are happy to collaborate on this effort with an able team that has proven experience in building high quality blockchain courses.

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Thanks, @bill_w3f and @radha for the answer and support on this. I’ll present a proposal. As courses in universities need to follow the academic calendar, one good forecast to plan to start the course, if approved, would be the next semester, which starts in February 2024.

At CEFET/RJ, the university where I teach, we have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science. In both, we already have the discipline of Introduction to Blockchain and DApps (content available here in Brazilian Portuguese), which I present to the students blockchain concepts, smart contracts programming in Solidity and how to interact with them using Javascript to produce DApps.

With the intention of not having too much overlap with the content of the proposed course with the one that we already have in the university and edX’s, I was thinking of proposing a more practical course, with a focus on Rust, Substrate pallets programming, Ink! programming and how to interact with them in a DApp. In this way, they could develop a deeper and practical knowledge on top of the other courses that are already available. The idea is to make the students ready to do programming with Polkadot SDK.

Would be very good to have institutional teaching material produced by W3F for this course, but I think they are not available yet. In this way, I’ll include in the proposal the development of teaching slides and materials.

Feel free to give your opinion on this idea, such as content, organization, and other relevant parts of the course. Usually, one-semester courses at CEFET/RJ are 72h or 36h. For practical courses, I would recommend 72h one.

Hey @dsm, you may find the PBA Book interesting.

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I’ve written a tutorial aimed at university students, using the Polkadot JS API for basic blockchain interactions, such as creating accounts, checking balances, making transactions, and understanding blockchain blocks. Polkadot JS API is an easy starting point, requiring only JavaScript/TypeScript knowledge, as opposed to steep learning curve in Rust.

This work is inspired by Gavin Wood’s Ethereum book, which features similar examples and explanations (see: Ethereum Book on GitHub). Although I’ve considered expanding this into a comprehensive tutorial like the Ethereum book, time constraints have limited my progress.

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Thanks, @liamaharon and @muddlebee for the references, I’ll consider them when developing the proposal for the course.

Hi @dsm in the APAC region, we’re just starting this. We just had a discussion with DevRel to help support the university-wide presence of Polkadot thru Heroes Dev Program. Unfortunately, DevRel doesn’t have enough manpower to monitor this worldwide, but this is where our team, the community team, and Polkadot Ambassadors come in too. Of course more help from tech-educational teachers, better.

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Hi @Pat, thanks for sharing this information. Good to know about this starting initiative for universities in the APAC region. Let me know if I could help with something for the LATAM region. I think having a course in a native language is a good starting point to have a constant stream of developers being formed. However, community building is a more complex and long-term process. Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss anything about that.

Hi,
It is a very good initiative.

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Hello!

With CCTF DAO, we are working with Universities in Budapest, Hungary and in Bali, Indonesia. A couple of others are also in contact with is globally and they asked us to provide them educational materials about Polkadot and Substrate. All we could do so far is workshops for them, however the feedback they gave us is positive and they want to get more of this kind of education.

This is a big chance for us here and we would like to push this further. As @dsm already wrote, materials are yet to be created and we are happy to collaborate on this.

We are also proposing a somewhat overlapping plan for the Decentralized Futures Initiative, focused on education (and we’d be happy to give the educational material creation tasks to someone else). Let’s talk!

Hi @Pat

This is great, we are planning to jump on the monitoring, networking and execution part of bringing blockchain to schools, and then to governments/enterprises/financial orgs. Time to sync on Tg again :slightly_smiling_face:

Hello Community!

Certainly, there is a very high demand for beginner, intermediate, and expert blockchain education in every country! I operate in Budapest and share my knowledge about Polkadot and decentralization in general, considering its philosophical, societal, and technological aspects. So far in 2023, my fellow ambassadors and I have organized 13 Polkadot Meetups and 2 Workshops (one on Substrate basics and one on DAO fundamentals), and we are currently organizing the Polkadot Championship Hackathon.

One thing I’ve realized during this time: This is not enough, and we need to scale. I have been planning for half a year to launch a Polkadot Blockchain Course in Budapest, and I have already started working on its development. Currently, I am in the research and networking phase. I have identified three fundamental characteristics for the program:

  1. We are not only looking for developers, so economics and liberal art students are also in the target audience.
  2. The program must be free and operate in some gamified manner.
  3. We must teach students in their native language, Hungarian, to reach a larger applicant pool.

I would outsource the university-wide marketing tasks to university clubs. In this regard, I have already approached the largest student organizational umbrella, YBG, which includes 5 student clubs in different fields operating at multiple universities.

As the curriculum base, I would use the material developed by PBA, which is perfect; I just need to translate it into Hungarian. Thank you, @liamaharon, for providing the link! Additionally, I would involve an external Rust instructor in the program (currently researching the ideal candidate), as well as a Substrate developer (already identified). It’s also advantageous that @zsofimajor is in Budapest and has offered to help organize the program. I hope, after the Polkadot Blockchain Course is running smoothly, we can collaborate with the Polkadot Developer Heroes program.

If everything goes well, the plan will be ready by the end of January, and the program can start in the next semester. The lenght of the program and the depth of the lessons depend on various factors. It will likely operate as a non-accredited program (because it would require the program to meet numerous prerequisites), but rather as an extracurricular university elective program (hence the need for gamification).

As @six also writes, large-scale educational programs like this one closely align with the W3F’s new Decentralized Futures program, so I can imagine that we will use this new initiative.

I wrote you a DM @dsm and @Pat on Polkadot Forum. I am happy to collaborate with you!

@Vikk and @six great to hear you are engaged in education with Polkadot. Let’s talk about it. My scenario is a bit different since I’m a professor at one university, then I plan to teach an elective discipline as the curriculum of a computer science course but extension courses are also great for the students to learn. Feel free to DM me about it.