Online Education: A Brief History

When the educational process takes place in an environment other than a live classroom, it is known as distance education. The idea of distance education can be traced by to the advent of the printing press. From the very earliest days of printing, it became possible to develop a learning method whereby the student learned at his own pace and without the aid of an instructor. The self help manual is one of the earliest examples of distance learning.As each new technological advance was made, the possibilities of its adaptation for distance learning were explored. When radios came into common use, the possibilities of giving instruction via this medium were investigated. Television was a major advance that was used in distance training. The development of closed circuit television networks made it possible for classrooms to be spread out over great distances with the instructor in one location, and the students in another. The drawback to this method was that it still required the student to be actually present at the time the class was being held. It did not free him of that restraint.It was the introduction of computers, and the wide spread growth of the internet that brought us to the current golden age of distance learning. Online education actually began with the introduction of the “Computer Assisted Learning Center” (CALC) in 1982 in Rindge, New Hampshire. This was the first actual online school in the United States although a similar program was being tested in Norway at around the same time. In was not until 1994-1995 when the internet became more widespread and available to the public from small and local internet service providers that online education really began to explode.The first stage was the introduction of individual classes online. They were intended to supplement on campus classes and not replace them. There was a bit of reluctance in the educational establishment to change the traditional methods, and this reluctance still exists to some extend. It is fast fading, however, as the advantages of online education became apparent. Before long, you could find a complete degree program online. This was followed by online degree colleges. At the present time, online education opportunities increase with each passing day, and the status of online degrees and how they are received by employers is improving constantly as the internet becomes more integrated into daily life.

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