(Looking Back and Looking Forward looks at the articles and posts I found interesting from the previous week, along with reflections about how the trends they point to might shape my thinking about education and technology.)

Apropos of nothing, when I saw this article on the similarities between the dot-com crash and recent crypto market declines, I couldn’t help but think about my own view of the dot-com debacle back in 2003.

I was doing some consulting for a fledgling media/design company in Boston that needed furniture for its newly leased office space on Newbury Street. The CEO, via a connection with his new landlord, heard about some Herman Miller cubicles in an office that had housed a casualty of the dot-com bust, and several of us went to investigate. The cubicles are amazing and had a firesale price tag, but what I remember most is the front entrance to the offices. It was a custom-designed piece of art that had cost the company north of $50K.

$50K. For a front door.

And that was when the whole dot-com bubble/bust came into clear focus for me.

UMass Global’s new chancellor’s goal of tripling the university’s size also caught my eye. Is it just me or is the talk about supersized online universities (SNHU, ASU, Liberty, etc.) and university systems (SUNY, California, Cal State, Texas A&M, etc.) eerily similar to the emerging supersized football conferences like the SEC and Big 10? Is this a case of new opportunities for smaller, niche players, much like we’ve seen with independent bookstores?

Sticking with higher ed for a moment, Phil Hill has a good post on falling enrollments and revenue at the University of Arizona Global Campus (USAG), a reminder that having a brand and acquiring an existing online provider is not necessarily a guaranteed formula for success. Also worth noting is Moody’s somewhat positive outlook for public colleges. In the short term, institutions have benefitted from increased state support and one-time pandemic relief funding. However, that good news is offset in many cases by declining enrollments and student revenues.

And, what can employers do to entice new workers in a tight labor market (i addition to raising wages)? How about giving our fancy new job titles.

Once prevalent mostly with startups, job-title inflation has gone increasingly mainstream, said Shawn Cole, president of Cowen Partners, a nationwide executive search firm. It “exploded” during the pandemic as companies competed for talent in the Covid-19 economy and more of them leveraged titles to entice experienced workers.

“Entire careers of job titles are being condensed into a decade, 10 years worth of titles are being condensed into five, so new titles have had to be invented,” Cole said. “Firms can only offer so much money.”

As a result, “director” is becoming the new “senior,” he said.

In other labor market news, we are seeing more workers without degrees landing jobs they’d have been shut out of before. But will the trend last?

Finally, according to a new Bloomberg analysis of the 19 countries that have made the EV pivot, once 5% of new-car sales go fully electric, everything changes.

I’ve got to say, that news, along with news of record-setting quantum entanglement, seems much more interesting and impactful than whatever becomes of Twitter.

Further Reading

Higher Education

Who Does Your College Think Its Peers Are?

The ‘Post-Pandemic’ University

Brandeis overhauls Ph.D. training in the humanities

UMass Global’s new chancellor wants to triple the university’s size

Student loan forgiveness by state: Map reveals most interested

UAGC Financials Confirm Falling Enrollments and Revenue

Public colleges’ operating revenue rose 3.1% in 2021 despite lower net tuition

Moody’s Sees Positive News (and Some Risks) for Public Colleges

It’s time for schools, colleges, companies and policymakers to clear the path to postsecondary education

K-12 Education

COVID School Aid Spending Trends in Red, Blue States 

Computer Science Teacher: Teaching Computer Science–Moving atoms not pixels

High School Students Say They Learn The Most Important Skills Outside of School

Time to Pull the Plug on Traditional Grading? 

It’s time for schools, colleges, companies and policymakers to clear the path to postsecondary education

Education, Educational Technology, and Learning Design

Chat waterfall: one videoconferencing practice

Classic Guide for Critical Thinking

Tandem Time: How Community Colleges and Workforce Development Programs Go Hand-in-Hand

Reviewing the ed tech angst

Weary, old, a little broken, but not letting go of the dream: edtech in the 21st Century


Big-Sounding Job Titles Are Feeding Egos in Tight Labor Market

The new labor market: No bachelor’s required?

It’s time for schools, colleges, companies and policymakers to clear the path to postsecondary education

Technology and Culture

Record-setting quantum entanglement connects two atoms across 20 miles

Dot-com bubble vs. crypto crash: Which was worse?

US Electric Car Sales Reach Key Milestone

Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Foundation Models: AI’s Exciting New Frontier

Meta open sources early-stage AI translation tool that works across 200 languages