- On EdTech Newsletter
- 2023 Year in Review
2023 Year in Review
Looking at changes, key themes, and top posts
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It’s been a momentous year in EdTech and a year of changes for the On EdTech newsletter. In fact, those two issues go hand-in-hand, as we have attempted to evolve along with the changing times.
Some of the key changes that we have made internally:
Combined Brands - Previously, the blog was PhilOnEdTech and the consulting / market analysis company was MindWires. After a decade of thought and slow decision-making, we simplified to have the overall brand as Phil Hill & Associates, with the newsletter On EdTech by Phil Hill & Associates (hosted as a subdomain).
Newsletter with Website - While I remain an RSS consumer of website content, the world has changed, with most readers preferring to get posts delivered directly to their email inboxes. We have had an RSS-based email feed all the way back to e-Literate days, but this year we fully embraced On EdTech being primarily a newsletter with an associated website.
Expanded Coverage - For a long time, the blog has been published once or twice per week and occasionally more often when news warranted additional posts. Given all the existential issues facing EdTech markets, we have expanded coverage to three or four times per week by adding a premium service On EdTech+. The free On EdTech comes out with the same cadence (once or twice weekly) and On EdTech+ essentially doubles the number of posts for those choosing that option.
Migration to Beehiiv - As part of the changes listed above, we changed our newsletter service (emails and website) to Beehiiv and away from MailChimp and Memberful and WordPress. All premium logins now happen with an email link (no passwords needed).
Saving the Best for Last - In March we added Glenda Morgan to the team, with her excellent insights and writing added to the newsletter and our consulting & market analysis. FYI - this was one of the drivers of the rebranding.
Launched a Podcast - This fall, Morgan and I launched a new podcast with Neil Mosley, called Online Education Across the Atlantic.
One of the biggest themes this year has been the changing regulatory environment around EdTech in general. The expansion of third-party servicer (TPS) guidance last February kicked off significant analysis, with that guidance eventually pulled back but promised to re-emerge in mid 2024. Additional topics included the impact and visualizations of the new Gainful Employment and Financial Value Transparency rules.
Related to the regulatory environment, we explored the groups that are behind many of the changes, particularly an informal coalition sharing common funding and coordination from Arnold Ventures.
We also covered the Learning Management System (LMS) market, highlighted by our year-end state of the market and leveraging users conferences to describe Instructure, D2L, Anthology (Blackboard), and Moodle. We also covered general EdTech conferences for ASU+GSV, Educause, WCET, and OEB Global.
On generative AI, we have purposely taken a light touch, as there is just so much coverage and conjecture across the board, and because we feel that we have not yet seen the significant use cases develop (no, the big issue is not cheating and cheating detection).
We have continued to cover postsecondary enrollment trends, particularly around distance and hybrid education.
Some of the biggest changes we have seen this year involve massive turmoil for the Online Program Management (OPM) market. Beyond regulations, this market saw existential changes for (previous) market leaders Pearson, Wiley, and 2U / edX.
Given all of the changes listed above, and given the roughly 30% growth in subscribers this year, it is a little difficult to state simply “these are the most read articles”. Should we look at unique email opens, total opens (that include forwarding), website page views, open rates, etc?
From a quick view at the On EdTech metrics, we can see what you, our readers, have chosen to read the most often:
Morgan’s Top Posts
Less Filling, Tastes Great - The problem with on-demand, reusable content provided without an instructor
Online Education Growth in Community Colleges in the US - Much bigger than I initially thought
Middling Choices - The problem with best practices in EdTech
Is Online the New International? - What the post-pandemic growth of online learning might mean to many institutions
The Five Pathologies of EdTech Discourse About Generative AI - Habits of thought and speech impact our ability to improve student success
Phil’s Top Posts
2U / edX Facing Additional Existential Changes - The departure of 2U's long-time CEO was but one step in dealing with the financial crisis
Department of Education Delays Guidance on TPS Expansion - New from last February
Pearson Sells Its OPM Business - A semi-distressed sale of one of the biggest OPM providers; Layoffs Without Severance = The former Pearson OPM unit makes drastic cuts as strategy becomes more apparent; and Why Pearson Is Complicit - I should describe my position in more detail (these three go together)
2021-22 IPEDS Data: Profile of Late-Pandemic 12-Month Enrollments - SNHU takes over as largest US institution, plus pre- and late-pandemic comparison
Our Sincere Thanks
This has been a significant year for EdTech and for us, and 2024 looks to be equally momentous. We want to sincerely thank you, our readers, for your interest, your feedback, and for your patronage (from On EdTech+ premium subscribers). Happy New Year!
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