Top EdSurge Higher Education Stories of 2021

Higher Education

Top EdSurge Higher Education Stories of 2021

By Rebecca Koenig     Jan 5, 2022

Top EdSurge Higher Education Stories of 2021

The year 2021 pushed us all to learn new lessons in unexpected ways, from deciphering public health statistics about vaccines and masks to refreshing our memory for the Greek alphabet thanks to emerging COVID-19 variants.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic featured prominently in the higher education stories most popular with EdSurge readers last year. But rather than play-by-play news, readers sought analysis and commentary about how the crisis continues to change culture and conditions at colleges across the country.

Additionally, stories about companies and nonprofits trying to innovate within higher ed attracted a lot of attention, as did several articles about learning science and new teaching practices.

Below is a countdown of the top 10 articles of 2021 as voted by reader interest. Thanks for reading, and happy new year.

Top 10 Countdown

10. Flipped Learning Can Be a Key to Transforming Teaching and Learning Post-Pandemic. By Robert Talbert.


A math professor makes the case for using class time for active learning.

9. Coursera Is Now a Public Company. What Does That Mean For Higher Education? By Jeffrey R. Young

opening bell stock market

The MOOC giant was valued at more than $3.6 billion.

8. How Remote Learning Subverts Power and Privilege in Higher Education. By Sabyn Javeri

library bust

In a Zoom classroom, the teacher is no longer the central authority, argues the author of this essay, who explains why she thinks that’s good for education.

7. More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is a Parallel Higher Education System Emerging? By Sean Gallagher and Holly Zanville

pencil ladder

Major companies are focusing on broadly applicable tech skill sets such as IT support, cloud computing and digital marketing, explain the authors of this opinion article.

6. Do Instructional Videos Work Better When the Teacher is On Screen? It Depends. By Jeffrey R. Young

Research into how to hold students’ attention in online courses. The story was part of a series on learning engineering and learning science.

5. Elite Colleges Started EdX as a Nonprofit Alternative to Coursera. How Is It Doing? By Jeffrey R. Young


This analysis of a major MOOC provider proved prescient; the nonprofit was purchased later in the year.

4. A Popular Study Found That Taking Notes By Hand Is Better Than By Laptop. But Is It? By Jeffrey R. Young


Learning research doesn’t always replicate in subsequent trials. That hasn’t stopped some approaches from catching on in classrooms.

3. U. of Florida Asks Students to Use App to Report Profs Who Don’t Teach In Person. By Jeffrey R. Young

When a campus safety tool turns into a surveillance device.

2. More Students Are Using Chegg to Cheat. Is the Company Doing Enough to Stop It? By Jeffrey R. Young

chegg ad

A company that ostensibly sells tutoring support raises questions about academic integrity.

1. Higher Ed, We’ve Got a Morale Problem — And a Free T-Shirt Won’t Fix It. By Kevin R. McClure

Professors and staff are starting to wonder: Can they still live out their core values while working at universities?

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