Interesting Reads This Week

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” – Robert Burns

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This week was the anniversary of Scottish poet Robert (I call him Bobby) Burns. Some of our UK readers might be going to a Burns Supper celebration this weekend (have some haggis for us), and so in honor, I wanted to share some news about things working out differently than expected/going wrong.

Cue the music from Brazil (one of the best movies of the 1980s)

Let’s start with a contrary note - things being similar. I read a fascinating piece this week about higher education in Brazil. It didn’t come out this week, but I read it week and it was interesting, so here it is.

Last week, Phil shared the latest IPEDS data (aka the Christmas gift that gave him the most joy) with you. It included several charts showing changes in the modality of courses taken by students, including the chart below.

Among the interesting things they show is that in the US during the pandemic there was naturally a big uptick in online course taking behavior. After the pandemic there was a return to normal, or previous course taking behavior, but online courses are taken more often than pre-pandemic trends would have predicted,and students take no online courses at a lower rate. There has been a structural shift in student course taking behavior. As Phil explained it:

What makes this year’s data most interesting is that it appears that structurally we have moved well above the pre-pandemic linear growth trend for online education enrollments.

Later in the week I was looking for data on higher education in Brazil, and I found a fascinating piece reporting on the Brazilian higher education census 2022/2023. The author, Thiago Payva (which I think roughly translates into Phil Hill’s cousin in Brazilian Portuguese) charts the shift towards online learning in that country.

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