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Author Phil Hill

2020 Year in Review at PhilOnEdTech

By 2020-12-22No Comments

Well this has been an interesting year. With one more client meeting left, it’s time to clean up inboxes, take stock of the past year, and share the top blog post of 2020 for PhilOnEdTech. Before I do that, I want to take time and thank our readers and my wonderful guest authors (Kevin Kelly, Stephanie Moore, Laura Czerniewicz, Clay Shirky, and Jeanette Wiseman).

I’m not sure how other bloggers have been affected, but I have seen newsletter reading grow to be larger than website reading, albeit with different patterns. Below I am sharing the Top 20 posts published in 2020, ranked by total opens in our email service, total page views based on Google Analytics, and an overall rank combining those two metrics.

Email RankGA RankRankPostAuthorDate
911COVID-19 Planning for Fall 2020: A Closer Look at Hybrid-Flexible Course DesignKevin Kelly8-May-2020
1922Two out of five US college presidents already considering online options for Fall 2020 termPhil Hill4-Apr-2020
243Results from Top Hat’s COVID-19 Student Survey about Online LearningKevin Kelly2-May-2020
734K12, Inc Fired After 270k Miami Students Suffer Disastrous First Two Weeks of Fall TermPhil Hill12-Sep-2020
555Instructure Restructure: Significant layoffs hitting Canvas side of the businessPhil Hill28-May-2020
166Planning for Resilience, Not ResistanceStephanie Moore & Phil Hill29-Apr-2020
897Revised Outlook for Higher Ed’s Online Response to COVID-19Phil Hill1-Apr-2020
3078Visualizing Fall 2020 US Higher Education PlansPhil Hill24-Jun-2020
5689What we learnt from “going online” during university shutdowns in South AfricaLaura Czerniewicz16-Mar-2020
61610The Unlikeliest Scenario: Fully face-to-face programs in Fall 2020Phil Hill15-Apr-2020
531011Instructure CEO Dan Goldsmith Resigns and New Approach for Bravo AcquisitionPhil Hill19-Feb-2020
451112Blackbaud on Data Breach: Nothing to see here, move alongPhil Hill31-Jul-2020
201213State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Mid-Year 2020 EditionPhil Hill13-Aug-2020
43314Covid-19 Migration to Online: Entering the second phasePhil Hill20-Mar-2020
241315Massive Increase in LMS and Synchronous Video Usage Due to COVID-19Phil Hill3-Apr-2020
321416Making Sense of the Many College Student COVID-19 SurveysKevin Kelly27-May-2020
37017Fall 2020 Enrollment in US: Initial undergrad numbers down 2.5% from last year, and other observationsPhil Hill24-Sep-2020
152618Blackboard Has Worst LMS Problem in Years, Taking K-12 District Offline for DaysPhil Hill24-Apr-2020
142919OPM Market Landscape and Dynamics: Fall 2020 updatesPhil Hill29-Oct-2020
163120The COVID-Fueled Hybridization of Higher EdPhil Hill14-May-2020


  • This blog tends to have a long tail, with posts having significant readership many months after posting. Therefore there is a bias in the rankings with posts written earlier in the year. But an even bigger bias is Covid and the huge uptick in readers in March through May 2020, as people were trying to figure out what was going to happen in future academic terms.
  • We have different readers who subscribe to the newsletter and those who read on the website (we put out a full-post feed in the newsletter and allow forwarding). As the newsletter becomes more important over time, it seems a greater percentage of website visitors are people discovering a post through social media or search rankings, often people who have never heard of the blog. Much of this web traffic come during the crazy spring months mentioned above – nearly 30% of total blog post page views came from posts ranked 1-3 and 5-6. Newsletter readers are naturally more consistent.
  • To take two examples of this different behavior: The “Two out of five college presidents” post was huge on the website (ranked #2), but moderately read on the newsletter (ranked #19). On the other side “Fall 2020 Enrollment in US” post was widely read and shared by email (ranked #3) but very lightly read on the website (ranked #70). I have little desire to understand SEO beyond a cursory level, so someone else can figure out those rankings.
  • It’s great to see the great additions from guest authors, with Kevin Kelly even taking the top spot with the HyFlex topic, and other Top 20 additions from Stephanie Moore and Laura Czerniewicz.
  • In terms of broad topics, Covid / Online education, LMS Market, EdTech disasters, and the OPM Market are the most read this year.