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Getting Smart Podcast

Apr 25, 2018

Today, the Getting Smart team is discussing the future of transcripts with Matt Pittinsky, CEO of Parchment. In high school, Matt considered himself to be a lousy student but the experience made him think that education could be different and better. So, after College, he co-founded Blackboard, which became the leading learning management system. Fourteen years later it was acquired for $1.6 billion. Matt then went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at Columbia, then later moved down to Phoenix to teach at Arizona State University. While in Arizona, Matt discovered Docufide; a transcript service. He invested in the company, became the CEO, and rebranded the company in 2011 as Parchment what it is known as today.


Matt is passionate about turning credentials into opportunities. He believes the academic record is not as effective as it could be in admissions, employment, or even in licensing. In this new world where anyone can learn anything, anywhere — how we track, verify, and share capabilities is becoming a big deal.


Listen in as Tom interviews Matt about credentialing and the future of transcripts.


Key Takeaways:

[:15] About today’s topic and guest: the future of transcripts with Matt Pittinsky.

[1:35] Matt’s early education.

[2:26] Why did Matt initially want to become a teacher?

[2:56] How Matt ended up at Columbia University.

[3:48] How Matt originally got connected to Parchment.

[4:29] The mission of Parchment.

[5:20] What Parchment does and how it works.

[6:09] Parchment’s customer base and where their revenue comes from.

[6:34] The focus of Parchment’s upcoming annual conference.

[7:45] The current programmatic and technology trends in credentialing that are influencing Parchment.

[8:54] The global shift of transcripts becoming more useful but complicated.

[9:35] Why Matt feels as though there’s a great opportunity for a credential management platform.

[11:11] How does Matt feel about the Mastery Transcript Consortium (a group of independent high schools that are trying to build a new transcript format)?

[15:30] Does Matt think more authentic, evidence-based transcripts are making an impact on his business?

[18:41] Is Matt optimistic or skeptical on the current tech trends in credentialing?

[21:59] Matt’s case for how a distributed ledger — particularly Parchment — verifies and shares credentials more conveniently and less expensively than traditional approaches.

[24:55] Does Matt see an extensive learner record belonging on Blockchain in the future?

[29:18] The two holy grails: Longitude record and an extensible learning record, pulling from a broader set of educational service providers.

[30:20] Does Matt see these extensible learner records as distributed databases?


Mentioned in This Episode:



Columbia University

Arizona State University

Mastery Transcript Consortium




Scottsdale Unified School District

Khan Academy


Want to Learn More About Innovations in Higher Ed?

Listen to S3:E3 Accessible, Affordable, Achievable HigherEd for Working Adults, which features Paul LeBlanc; President of Southern New Hampshire University.


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