(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes 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 and technology.)


Mark Perry has released the latest update of his Chart of the day…. or century? and, not surprisingly, tuition price increases continue to outpace everything except hospital services. The good news is that textbook/course material prices are showing a steady decline.

In other news, Arizona State has announced that it is launching a new certificate program through its Thunderbird School of Business and plans to reach 100M learners by 2030. The university described the initiative as “MOOC 4.0,” but I’m in agreement with Phil Hill, who says that we don’t need vanity-driven MOOC 4.0 hype like this just now. We have real problems around education attainment to address and this isn’t helping. One of those problems, by the way, is the reskilling workers need women they lose or leave their current jobs.

Elsewhere in Arizona, it’s worth noting that the University of Arizona seems to be struggling with its Arizona Global initiative. From the IHE article:

More than a year after the University of Arizona acquired Ashford University, a for-profit institution with a long and checkered history of allegedly deceiving prospective students and graduating a relatively small number of them, the accreditor for the merged entity, known as the University of Arizona Global Campus, is poised to announce investigative findings—including potential sanctions.

Some day in the near future I hope to see initiatives and articles that focus more on true impact (skills attainment and improved careers) as opposed to scope and revenue potential.

Which brings me to web3 and Ed3. 

Web3 is what many are touting as the next phase of Internet technologies. For context, think of web1 as static websites and content with little interaction, and web 2 (beginning circa 1999) as the interactive websites we enjoy today, which also allow us to create and share our own content through major platform providers. Web3, using new technologies such as blockchain, promises to be a decentralized version of today’s Internet, giving users control of their data/identity and disrupting the major centralized platforms like Google and Facebook.

Scott Meyer and others have penned a thought-provoking introduction to web3 and how its core values can/should translate into Ed3. In it, the authors write:

In ed3, learners own their education – validating their knowledge with decentralized technology in contrast to previous models.

  • Ed1 was knowledge transfer provided by accredited institutions, such as universities and high schools
  • Ed2 was centralized platforms distributing education, such as Udemy, Skillshare, and Outschool
  • Ed3 is individuals gathering skills from a variety of sources and validating that knowledge in their own wallet.

For more on this topic, you might check out Bryan Alexander’s latest Future Trends Forum and this article on modernizing the college transcript with blockchain.

And speaking of futures in education, this piece from Getting Smart on the future of high school provides some helpful guidelines for innovation based on what we’ve learned/experienced in recent years.


We should all get used to the fact that 2022 will be the year of hype around both web3/blockchain technologies and Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). Regarding the latter, it was fun to think back to 1995 and VRML, which was an earlier version of the metaverse. In spite of the promise, however, by 1996,  CNET was writing about VRML’s failure to meet expectations, saying, “Bandwidth constraints, hardware limitations, and, worst of all, lack of compelling applications may make the 3D technology more virtual than real for the time being.” 

Hmmm… a lack of compelling applications. Hopefully we can do better this time around? One application that certainly interests me (as a runner) is the Ghost Pacer. Check out the video to get a deeper sense of the app’s practical value.

Elsewhere in metaverse news, I see that Facebook (back to the need for web3) has patented biometric advertising for the metaverse, allowing the company to track eye movement and other actions to promote e-commerce.

Finally, I think this article asks a good question: Is In-Person Networking Obsolete at This Point? The article itself is light on content but, between recent technology developments and the pandemic, it will be interesting to follow the developments around personal networks and the best way to create, grow, and nurture them.

Did someone say “The metaverse”? Just kidding.

Further Reading


Arizona State wants to reach 100M learners by 2030. Can it meet its goal?

We Don’t Need Vanity-Driven MOOC 4.0 Hype

University of Arizona Global faces multiplying woes

From Web3 to Ed3 – Reimagining Education in a Decentralized World

web3 and higher education: our first Future Trends Forum exploration

Modernizing the College Transcript with Blockchain

The pandemic has dashed and deferred too many college dreams

Low college enrollment threatens to cause long-term consequences

Why I’m Not Too Worried About Learning Loss

Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: 5 Pandemic Learning Gains

The Future of High School

How not to write about HyFlex or online learning

Black, Latino Students Disproportionately Taught by Inexperienced, Uncertified Teachers, New Research Shows

The number of first-year Black medical students jumps 21% in the past year

Education’s New and Necessary Narrative


Remembering VRML: The Metaverse of 1995

The race to build AR glasses is heating up, and Samsung is surprisingly quiet

The Ghost Pacer

Second Life’s founder doesn’t believe in VR

Meta patented biometric advertising for the metaverse

Some Predictions for How the Metaverse Will Impact Our Lives

Autonomous battery-powered rail cars could steal shipments from truckers

Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task

Cultural Shifts

Target CEO Predicts Fewer Shopping Trips in 2022 Due to Gas, Inflation

Is In-Person Networking Obsolete at This Point?

The Culture of Lifelong Learning Needs To Start Now

Create Your Own Restaurant Model Is Hurting Fast Food Workers


BlackRock CEO Says Everyone’s Quitting Because Old World of Work Is ‘Gone’

11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond

How to Build a Successful Upskilling Program

Survey: 78% of Workers Who Leave Their Jobs Turn to Online Learning to Reskill

The 18 Most Popular Online Certificate Programs on Coursera