All last year, you read, and we tallied. Now we’re ready to reveal the top higher education stories that EdSurge published in 2022, based on their popularity with you, our readers. We’ll do this countdown style, starting with number 10 and working our way to the top article of the year.

As these headlines reflect, the last 12 months brought uncertainty, speculation and innovation to higher education. College administrators, faculty, edtech leaders and students tried to make sense of all the changes they were experiencing due to the lingering pandemic, the introduction of new technology and the shifting economy. In the midst of all that, professors and students also shared insights about their experiences balancing teaching and learning with the responsibilities of their daily lives.

Thanks for reading, and happy new year.

10. What a New Strategy at 2U Means for the Future of Online Higher Education

By Phil Hill

The pandemic move to remote learning has increased the importance of online degree programs for colleges, which they often administer with outside companies called Online Program Management entities. Market analyst Phil Hill explored how shifts in the OPM industry, such as lowering tuition costs and offering colleges more customizable service packages, could shape higher ed.

9. What Could Web3 Mean for Education?

By Rebecca Koenig

Some entrepreneurs predict that a new digital world is being born, one where internet users retain ownership of their online activities, thanks to blockchain technology that reduces the control of education institutions and corporations. It’s an ecosystem that could transform schools—sites for teaching and learning—into marketplaces—sites for buying and selling.

8. College’s Use of Exam-Proctoring Software to ‘Scan’ Rooms Violated Privacy Rights, Judge Finds

By Jeffrey R. Young

Software that “watches” students as they take exams from home is a contested area of edtech, one that pits colleges’ interest in preventing cheating against students’ privacy. In this first-case-of-its-kind, privacy prevailed.

7. As Student Engagement Falls, Colleges Wonder: ‘Are We Part of the Problem?’

By Rebecca Koenig

Online courses offer students increased flexibility—which is another way of saying they shift the burden of creating structure from institutions and instructors to the students themselves. To design better systems, strategies and tools to help manage this, what can traditional colleges learn from institutions that specialize in online higher ed?

6. Two Universities Team Up to Stay Alive, But Stop Short of Merging

By Daniel Mollenkamp

Two institutions agreed to share costs and jointly manage graduate-level courses and career certificates and badges for adult learners, while retaining independence in their undergraduate offerings. Could it be a model for other colleges to try out, to increase revenue and cut costs?

5. Employers Are Changing How They View Training. Here Are Education Trends They See Coming.

By Jeffrey R. Young

Leaders at the 2022 SXSW EDU conference shared the shifts they’re anticipating when it comes to preparing people for the labor market, including the introduction of shorter, stackable degrees and the rise of skills-based training.

4. As a Student, I Couldn’t Afford a College Sweatshirt. As a Professor, I Keep That in Mind.

By Ruby C. Tapia

In a moving personal essay, Ruby C. Tapia, chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan, reflected on her experience arriving on campus as a student with $30 and one suitcase. She writes: “Every single success and every moment that I might not have survived (but did) is and was due in great part to a faculty member—either an instructor of mine, or a colleague—who knows that the university is still not for me.”

3. Guiding Young People Not to Colleges or Careers — But to Good Lives

By Rebecca Koenig

Photo by Kathleen Greeson for EdSurge.

What should teenagers do after high school in these changing times? To find out, EdSurge interviewed high school students from around the U.S. about the futures they’re working toward and the choices they’re making to get there. We found big disconnects between what teenagers value and what postsecondary options offer, especially to young people who may struggle to afford college.

2. With Money From Facebook, 10 Colleges Turn Their Campuses Into ‘Metaversities’

By Rebecca Koenig

Is education moving to a “tri-brid” model that flows between in-person, online and simulated environments? Find out why leaders of virtual-reality companies, and educators at a few colleges, think that that future has already arrived.

1. MIT Professors Propose a New Kind of University for Post-COVID Era

By Jeffrey R. Young

If remote education is worth the tuition, then what is the value of a college campus? That’s the question that professors at MIT asked themselves as they collaborated on a new proposal for what higher ed could look like in the years to come. The model embraces online materials but also insists on in-person teaching.