(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.)

Not for nothing, EDUCAUSE has released the latest version of its Horizon Report for Teaching and Learning. And, while some might look at the section on key technologies and practices and say, “Well, that’s obvious,” I find this year’s list particularly important for higher ed leadership and administration.

Unlike previous years, this list reads more like “imperatives for competition and survival” than “things to keep in mind. This reminds me of a conversation I had this week with an instructor at an R1 university. She shared her surprise at the reaction of university librarians when suggesting that generative AI offered librarians an opportunity to reestablish their institutional significance by taking ownership of prompt engineering for the purposes of connecting students and faculty to information resources. Their response was, “We can’t do that! ChatGPT is trying to take our jobs!” 

Having worked in and around higher education for more than four decades, I am in agreement with those who say this is a “different” moment of disruption for educational institutions. I agree with George Siemens that colleges and universities need to take a stance of AI-first. At the same time, I think Donald Clark makes a good point when he says that we need to get over biases based on human exceptionalism. I all think Martin Weller’s calm admonition to surrender is something anyone and everyone working in educational technology should consider.

One clear evolution brought on by the embrace of AI and, related, learning algorithms is the disaggregation of “course” into specific skills and competencies that can be measured. It will take time — less than people might assume, however — but we are moving toward a reality horizon that is much less concerned with long-from credentials (degrees) for most jobs and where higher education (of all kinds) is part of a wide-reaching and integrated education-to-employment ecosystem. NB: If you are an educator or employer and this isn’t already on your planning radar, you are lagging behind.

For those of you tracking the latest (impactful) AI tools being rolled out, here are three to note.

Finally, since the current academic year is closing out (along with legislative sessions in many states) and there will be less news on that front in the coming months, I thought I would share this update on the OPM market landscape from Phil Hill. In summary:

We still get a picture of a chaotic market that is not for the faint of heart, and one that is seeing consolidations and category changes, and these changes will continue. All of this in a Mad Max-style pursuit of college online course and program revenue (whether rev share or fee-for-service or a blend, and whether degree- or certificate-based).


Have a great week!

Further Reading

Higher Education

SAIL: The vision can be realized

Do we need a new type of Higher Education institution?

Biden administration releases new gainful-employment rule

University of Phoenix to affiliate with University of Idaho

Role of Marketing Costs in the OPM Regulation Debate

Micro-credentials Designed for Today’s Higher Education Learners

How publicly traded higher education companies are performing 

SAIL: We should all be AI-first

Closing the Equity Gap with ChatGPT

Higher ed survey reveals trending data uses among 150 institutions 

2023 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Teaching and Learning Edition

K-!2 Education

Skillsline: Developing Career-Ready Human Skills

The Education Exchange: What’s Behind the Terrible National Test Scores on History?

Workforce and Organizational Trends

Skillsline: Developing Career-Ready Human Skills

Micro-credentials Designed for Today’s Higher Education Learners

Online Learning, Learning Design, and Education Technology

My First Experience with GitHub Copilot

Generative AI & the taste of sweet surrender

The inevitability, or otherwise, of ed tech

Donald Clark Plan B: Smart algorithms work for Google Facebook & Amazon can they work for learning?

3 trends that are shaking up higher education companies

Google Bard vs ChatGPT: Teacher’s Guide

How Awesome Is Coursera?

What Higher Ed Gets Wrong About AI Chatbots

Closing the Equity Gap with ChatGPT

Technology, Science, and Culture

My First Experience with GitHub Copilot

Donald Clark Plan B: Human Exceptionalism – we need to get over ourselves

How Microsoft 365’s AI-Powered Copilot is Transforming Productivity

Unleashing the Power of Bard AI: Google’s Revolutionary Masterpiece

Are the emergent abilities of LLMs like GPT-4 a mirage?

Try This Business Model to Generate More Revenue and Success