Learn about cutting-edge technology with Oxford Royale Academy
Some of the subjects you can study with Oxford Royale Academy have been studied for centuries or even for millennia. Others are brand new. If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ll have read a lot about the exciting, but often poorly understood technology of the blockchain, which is best known for powering cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. But while there’s a lot of excitement about the potential of this technology, many people don’t understand what exactly it is, how it works, or what it can be used to do.
In two new courses, Oxford Royale Academy will demystify the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The new Blockchain Foundations course will explore this fascinating technology from multiple different angles: from its technological underpinnings to its societal impact. Students will learn exactly how blockchain works – including the tricky mathematics that powers it – and what its potential may be. They will use this understanding as a case study to consider how societies and governments should respond to the emergence of such disruptive new technologies in future.
The new Cryptocurrencies course will look at the application of blockchain technology to the creation of new currencies, with bitcoin as the best-known example. Students on this course will also learn about blockchain as the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, but will focus on its economic and financial applications and implications. Cryptocurrencies will be set in context in the 21st century economy and considered both from a micro and macroeconomic standpoint. Students will learn about the different cryptocurrencies that have appeared in recent years, and explore the differences between bitcoin and its major competitors.
A key aspect of the Oxford Royale Academy teaching philosophy is a belief in interactive learning, particularly the use of discussion and debate, as a means to encourage engagement with the topic and analysis of ideas. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are emerging, often controversial, technologies with the power to spark lively discussions as they touch on questions such as the appropriate reach of government regulation, the extent of our duty to protect the environment, and the balance between privacy and security, especially in relation to financial transactions. Students will consider answers to these questions in our blockchain and cryptocurrency courses, and will be encouraged to debate them respectfully with their peers. The overall question of whether these new technologies do more good or more harm on balance will also be open for students to assess, and to form their own opinions.
It’s an exciting time at which to be studying blockchain and cryptocurrency; the consensus on these technologies across business, society and academia is still being formed. Unlike in other subject areas, where students have long histories to engage with, students will be able to see the context of the emergence of blockchain and cryptocurrency that has occurred within their lifetimes, and can draw on their own experiences to understand how changes in the economy and technology enabled the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency, while also making them valuable. We’re delighted to be able to offer students the chance to form their own opinions, and learn about and respond to emerging trends in real time. This also helps students to understand the challenges of questions such as economic forecasting and prediction models. Particularly in the context of cryptocurrency, students may wish to make their own near-term predictions during the course, which they can then track over the following months to check the accuracy of their ideas and assumptions.
These two new courses will be offered as morning classes for students aged 16 to 18 as part of our bestselling Broadening Horizons programme. Students taking this programme can choose two morning classes and one afternoon workshop from more than 30 possible study options. Broadening Horizons is offered in Oxford, Cambridge and London. Students can combine one of these two courses with directly related options such as Business Finance, Economics or Mathematics to enhance their overall understanding of these closely connected topics, or choose contrasting options such as Graphic Design or Art & Architecture for a diverse and stimulating course that draws on multiple areas of their interests. Broadening Horizons is available as a two- or four-week course (with different study options in the second two weeks) from the 9th June to 31st August 2019.
Broadening Horizons is one of our most diverse courses in terms of the number and range of nationalities represented; in these two courses, students will draw on that diversity of perspectives to consider the implications of the development of these technologies for countries, economies and communities across the world, hearing and valuing the perspectives of their peers. It’s clear that the increased use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency will affect different parts of the world differently, depending on diverse factors such as the security and reliability of existing banking infrastructure, the level of organised crime and government corruption, and the flexibility of existing institutions across government, civil society, and the private sector. This makes these two courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency particularly fascinating and worth of study in the diverse and stimulating environment of an Oxford Royale Academy course, and we look forward to seeing the range of perspectives that the first students to study these courses will contribute.
Book now for your choice of dates and subjects for the 2019 summer school.