(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes a look 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, technology, and culture.)

Let’s begin by discussing higher education, training, and workforce needs. 

Computerworld had an interesting article this week about the increasing number of organizations dropping the requirement for college degrees (also see here).

Large companies, including Boeing, Walmart, and IBM, have signed on to varying skills-based employment projects, such as Rework America Alliance, the Business Roundtable’s Multiple Pathways program, and the campaign to Tear the Paper Ceiling, pledging to implement skills-based practices, according to McKinsey & Co.

“So far, they’ve removed degree requirements from certain job postings and have worked with other organizations to help workers progress from lower- to higher-wage jobs,” McKinsey said in a November report.

And we’re not just talking about requirements for new employees. Businesses are focused on the reskilling and upskilling of existing employees as well. One of the challenges associated with this movement? How to evaluate alternative credentials and their measurement of specific skills.

On the same topic, many workforce development organizations, backed by federal WIOA funds, are turning to for-profit training companies to help displaced and underemployed adults. For some, the unregulated nature of these training solutions and the lack of reporting on training outcomes is cause for concern.

“There isn’t enough oversight,” said Shalin Jyotishi, a senior analyst at the progressive think tank New America, adding that information about how students fare “is excruciatingly difficult to obtain for for-profit institutions.”

Speaking of government oversight and regulation, this week saw a flurry of new articles about Department of Education guidance for OPMs and Third Party Servicers (TPS) (see also here and here).

Of course, AI and generative AI remained hot topics as well. Beyond ChatGPT and LLMs, however, it’s worth noting the more subtle entry of AI into daily life — productivity tools. We already have Microsoft introducing AI into the Office 365 suite, but other companies are moving in this direction as well. Canva has its AI text-generator Magic Wirte that is designed to help users jump-start their creative process, and we’re also seeing text-to-image and text-to-video creation services popping up everywhere. Beyond productivity software, we should also remember the role AI will play in the burgeoning help-robot industry. Some experts are predicting that robots will be able to perform almost 40% of domestic tasks within the next decade.

Where there’s hype, there’s also the famous trough of disillusionment. According to Ekaterina Hertog, associate professor in AI and society at Oxford University, the optimism about domestic robots to that surrounding self-driving cars.

The promise of self-driving cars, being on the streets, replacing taxis, has been there, I think, for decades now – and yet, we haven’t been able quite to make robots function well, or these self-driving cars navigate the unpredictable environment of our streets. Homes are similar in that sense.

Have a great week, everybody!

Further Reading

Higher Education

U.S. Education Department Increases Oversight of How Colleges Work With Outside Companies

Ed Department Shakes-Up OPMs and Third-Party Servicers:  This is Huge

The Great Conflation

As the Supreme Court hears arguments on student loan forgiveness, three experts explain what’s at stake

E-learning provider Udemy cuts 10% of its workforce 

Gonzaga launches mentored tech boot camps

A small college needs $2.6M to survive. It’s raised $178K

Stanford hikes tuition by 7%. Will other institutions follow?


Ancora High School Partners with McGraw Hill to Launch New Online High School for Adults 

One County Is Making Tutors ‘Co-Teachers.’ Will That Help With Teacher Burnout? 


Skills-based hiring continues to rise as degree requirements fade

Alaska drops 4-year degree requirements for state jobs

Why Upskilling And Reskilling Are Essential In 2023

Employers value microcredentials but don’t know how to assess their quality

For-profit workforce training, funded by public dollars

Ancora High School Partners with McGraw Hill to Launch New Online High School for Adults 

Online Learning, Learning Design, and Education Technology

Some of the Best AI Art Generators (Text to Image) 

6 of The Best AI Tools to Make Videos from Text (Text to Video)

Student motivation and online learning

Is HyFlex a viable teaching approach in ‘normal’ times?

Technology and Culture

Some of the Best AI Art Generators (Text to Image) 

6 of The Best AI Tools to Make Videos from Text (Text to Video)

Almost 40% of domestic tasks could be done by robots ‘within decade’

Meta unveils a new large language model that can run on a single GPU

Some ways for generative AI to transform the world

Two figures for generative AI: the calculator and the mad scientist’s assistant 

Walmart Says Own-Brand Sales Growing Amid Economic Uncertainty