A Brief History of the Online Classroom and Virtual College Courses - AhlynewsInfo

A Brief History of the Online Classroom and Virtual College Courses

Distance education

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Distance education or long-distance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school . [1] [2] Traditionally, this usually involved correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via post . Today it involves online education. Courses that are conducted (51 percent or more) [3] are either hybrid , [4] blended [5] or 100% distance learning. Massive open online courses (MOOCs), offering large-scale interactive participation and open access through the World Wide Web or other network technologies, are recent developments in distance education. [1] A number of other terms (distributed learning, e-learning, online learning, etc.) are used roughly synonymously with distance education.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 University correspondence courses
    • 1.2 Open universities
  • 2 Technologies
    • 2.1 Radio and television
    • 2.2 Internet
  • 3 Paced and self paced models
  • 4 Benefits
  • 5 Criticism
  • 6 Educational technology
  • 7 Credentials
  • 8 See also
  • 9 Sources
  • 10 References
  • 11 Further reading
  • 12 External links
    • 12.1 Journals

History[ edit ]

One of the earliest attempts was advertised in 1728. This was in the Boston Gazette for “Caleb Philipps, Teacher of the new method of Short Hand “, who sought students who wanted to learn through weekly mailed lessons. [6]

The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s, who taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction. The element of student feedback was a crucial innovation of Pitman’s system. [7] This scheme was made possible by the introduction of uniform postage rates across England in 1840. [8]

This early beginning proved extremely successful, and the Phonographic Correspondence Society was founded three years later to establish these courses on a more formal basis. The Society paved the way for the later formation of Sir Isaac Pitman Colleges across the country. [9]

The first correspondence school in the United States was the Society to Encourage Studies at Home , which was founded in 1873.[ citation needed ]

University correspondence courses[ edit ]

The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1858. The background to this innovation lay in the fact that the institution (later known as University College London ) was non-denominational and, given the intense religious rivalries at the time, there was an outcry against the “godless” university. The issue soon boiled down to which institutions had degree -granting powers and which institutions did not. [10]

The London University in 1827, drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd .

The compromise solution that emerged in 1836 was that the sole authority to conduct the examinations leading to degrees would be given to a new officially recognized entity called the ” University of London “, which would act as examining body for the University of London colleges, originally University College London and King’s College London , and award their students University of London degrees. As Sheldon Rothblatt states: “Thus arose in nearly archetypal form the famous English distinction between teaching and examining , here embodied in separate institutions.” [10]

With the state giving examining powers to a separate entity, the groundwork was laid for the creation of a programme within the new university which would both administer examinations and award qualifications to students taking instruction at another institution or pursuing a course of self-directed study.

Referred to as “People’s University” by Charles Dickens because it provided access to higher education to students from less affluent backgrounds, the External Programme was chartered by Queen Victoria in 1858, making the University of London the first university to offer distance learning degrees to students. [11] [12] Enrollment increased steadily during the late 19th century, and its example was widely copied elsewhere. [13] This program is now known as the University of London International Programme and includes Postgraduate, Undergraduate and Diploma degrees created by colleges such as the London School of Economics, Royal Holloway and Goldsmiths. [12]

William Rainey Harper , encouraged the development of external university courses at the new University of Chicago in the 1890s.

In the United States, William Rainey Harper , first president of the University of Chicago , celebrated the concept of extended education, whereby the research university had satellite colleges in the wider community.[ citation needed ]

In 1892, Harper encouraged correspondence courses to further promote education, an idea that was put into practice by Chicago, Wisconsin, Columbia, and several dozen other universities by the 1920s Columbia University . [14] [15] Enrollment in the largest private for-profit school based in Scranton, Pennsylvania , the International Correspondence Schools grew explosively in the 1890s. Founded in 1888 to provide training for immigrant coal miners aiming to become state mine inspectors or foremen, it enrolled 2500 new students in 1894 and matriculated 72,000 new students in 1895. By 1906 total enrollments reached 900,000. The growth was due to sending out complete textbooks instead of single lessons, and the use of 1200 aggressive in-person salesmen. [16] [17] There was a stark contrast in pedagogy:

The regular technical school or college aims to educate a man broadly; our aim, on the contrary, is to educate him only along some particular line. The college demands that a student shall have certain educational qualifications to enter it and that all students study for approximately the same length of time; when they have finished their courses they are supposed to be qualified to enter any one of a number of branches in some particular profession. We, on the contrary, are aiming to make our courses fit the particular needs of the student who takes them. [18]

Education was a high priority in the Progressive Era , as American high schools and colleges expanded greatly. For men who were older or were too busy with family responsibilities, night schools were opened, such as the YMCA school in Boston that became Northeastern University . Outside the big cities, private correspondence schools offered a flexible, narrowly focused solution. [19] Large corporations systematized their training programs for new employees. The National Association of Corporation Schools grew from 37 in 1913 to 146 in 1920. Starting in the 1880s, private schools opened across the country which offered specialized technical training to anyone who enrolled, not just the employees of one company. Starting in Milwaukee in 1907, public schools began opening free vocational programs. [20]

Only a third of the American population lived in cities of 100,000 or more population In 1920; to reach the rest, correspondence techniques had to be adopted. Australia, with its vast distances, was especially active; the University of Queensland established its Department of Correspondence Studies in 1911. [21] In South Africa, the University of South Africa , formerly an examining and certification body, started to present distance education tuition in 1946. The International Conference for Correspondence Education held its first meeting in 1938. [22] The goal was to provide individualized education for students, at low cost, by using a pedagogy of testing, recording, classification, and differentiation. [23] [24]

Open universities[ edit ]

Walton Hall , renovated in 1970 to act as the headquarters of the newly established Open University . (Artist: Hilary French)

The Open University in the United Kingdom was founded by the-then Labour government led by Prime Minister, Harold Wilson , based on the vision of Michael Young . Planning commenced in 1965 under the Minister of State for Education , Jennie Lee , who established a model for the Open University (OU) as one of widening access to the highest standards of scholarship in higher education, and set up a planning committee consisting of university vice-chancellors, educationalists and television broadcasters, chaired by Sir Peter Venables. The British Broadcasting Corporation ( BBC ) Assistant Director of Engineering at the time, James Redmond , had obtained most of his qualifications at night school , and his natural enthusiasm for the project did much to overcome the technical difficulties of using television to broadcast teaching programmes.[ citation needed ]

The Open University revolutionised the scope of the correspondence program and helped to create a respectable learning alternative to the traditional form of education. It has been at the forefront of developing new technologies to improve the distance learning service [25] as well as undertaking research in other disciplines. Walter Perry was appointed the OU’s first vice-chancellor in January 1969, and its foundation secretary was Anastasios Christodoulou . The election of the new Conservative government under the leadership of Edward Heath , in 1970; led to budget cuts under Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain Macleod (who had earlier called the idea of an Open University “blithering nonsense”). [26] However, the OU accepted its first 25,000 students in 1971, adopting a radical open admissions policy. At the time, the total student population of conventional universities in the United Kingdom was around 130,000.[ citation needed ]

Athabasca University , Canada’s Open University, was created in 1970 and followed a similar, though independently developed, pattern. [27] The Open University inspired the creation of Spain’s National University of Distance Education (1972) [28] and Germany’s FernUniversität in Hagen (1974). [29] There are now many similar institutions around the world, often with the name “Open University” (in English or in the local language).[ citation needed ]

Most open universities use distance education technologies as delivery methods, though some require attendance at local study centres or at regional “summer schools”. Some open universities have grown to become mega-universities, [30] a term coined to denote institutions with more than 100,000 students.[ citation needed ]

Technologies[ edit ]

Although the expansion of the Internet blurs the boundaries, distance education technologies are divided into two modes of delivery: synchronous learning and asynchronous learning .

In synchronous learning, all participants are “present” at the same time. In this regard, it resembles traditional classroom teaching methods despite the participants being located remotely. It requires a timetable to be organized. Web conferencing , videoconferencing , educational television , instructional television are examples of synchronous technology, as are direct-broadcast satellite (DBS), internet radio , live streaming , telephone , and web-based VoIP . [31]
Web conferencing software helps to facilitate meetings in distance learning courses and usually contain additional interaction tools such as text chat, polls, hand raising, emoticons etc. These tools also support asynchronous participation by students being able to listen to recordings of synchronous sessions. Immersive environments (notably SecondLife) have also been used to enhance participant presence in distance education courses. Another form of synchronous learning that has been entering the classroom over the last couple of years is the use of robot proxies [32] including those that allow sick students to attend classes. [33]

Some universities have been starting to use robot proxies to enable more engaging synchronous hybrid classes where both remote and in person students can be present and interact using telerobotics devices such as the Kubi Telepresence robot stand that looks around and the Double Robot that roams around. With these telepresence robots, the remote students have a seat at the table or desk instead of being on a screen on the wall. [34] [35]

In asynchronous learning, participants access course materials flexibly on their own schedules. Students are not required to be together at the same time. Mail correspondence, which is the oldest form of distance education, is an asynchronous delivery technology, as are message board forums, e-mail , video and audio recordings , print materials, voicemail , and fax . [31]

The two methods can be combined. Many courses offered by both open universities and an increasing number of campus based institutions use periodic sessions of residential or day teaching to supplement the sessions delivered at a distance. [36] This type of mixed distance and campus based education has recently come to be called ” blended learning ” or less often “hybrid learning”. Many open universities uses a blend of technologies and a blend of learning modalities (face-to-face, distance, and hybrid) all under the rubric of “distance learning”.

Distance learning can also use interactive radio instruction (IRI), interactive audio instruction (IAI), online virtual worlds , digital games, webinars, and webcasts, all of which are referred to as e-Learning. [36]

Radio and television[ edit ]

External audio
Air college talk. , 2:45, December 2, 1931, WNYC [37]

The rapid spread of film in the 1920s and radio in the 1930s led to proposals to use it for distance education. [38] By 1938, at least 200 city school systems, 25 state boards of education, and many colleges and universities broadcast educational programs for the public schools. [39] One line of thought was to use radio as a master teacher.

Experts in given fields broadcast lessons for pupils within the many schoolrooms of the public school system, asking questions, suggesting readings, making assignments, and conducting tests. This mechanizes education and leaves the local teacher only the tasks of preparing for the broadcast and keeping order in the classroom. [40]

A typical setup came in Kentucky in 1948 when John Wilkinson Taylor , president of the University of Louisville , teamed up with NBC to use radio as a medium for distance education, The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission endorsed the project and predicted that the “college-by-radio” would put “American education 25 years ahead”. The University was owned by the city, and local residents would pay the low tuition rates, receive their study materials in the mail, and listen by radio to live classroom discussions that were held on campus. [41] Physicist Daniel Q. Posin also was a pioneer in the field of distance education when he hosted a televised course through DePaul University . [42]

Charles Wedemeyer of the University of Wisconsin–Madison also promoted new methods. From 1964 to 1968, the Carnegie Foundation funded Wedemeyer’s Articulated Instructional Media Project (AIM) which brought in a variety of communications technologies aimed at providing learning to an off-campus population. The radio courses faded away in the 1950s. [43] Many efforts to use television along the same lines proved unsuccessful, despite heavy funding by the Ford Foundation . [44] [45] [46]

From 1970 to 1972 the Coordinating Commission for Higher Education in California funded Project Outreach to study the potential of telecourses. The study included the University of California , California State University and the community colleges. This study led to coordinated instructional systems legislation allowing the use of public funds for non-classroom instruction and paved the way for the emergence of telecourses as the precursor to the online courses and programs of today. The Coastline Community Colleges , The Dallas County Community College District , and Miami Dade Community College led the way. The Adult Learning Service of the US Public Broadcasting Service came into being and the “wrapped” series, and individually produced telecourse for credit became a significant part of the history of distance education and online learning.

Internet[ edit ]

Main article: Virtual education

The widespread use of computers and the internet have made distance learning easier and faster, and today virtual schools and virtual universities deliver full curricula online. [47] The capacity of Internet to support voice, video, text and immersion teaching methods made earlier distinct forms of telephone, videoconferencing, radio, television, and text based education somewhat redundant. However, many of the techniques developed and lessons learned with earlier media are used in Internet delivery.

The first completely online courses for graduate credit were offered by Connected Education , starting in the Fall of 1985, leading to the MA in Media Studies from The New School . [48]
The first new and fully online university was founded in 1994 as the Open University of Catalonia , headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. In 1999 Jones International University was launched as the first fully online university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the US. [49]

Between 2000 and 2008, enrollment in distance education courses increased rapidly in almost every country in both developed and developing countries. [50] Many private, public, non-profit and for-profit institutions worldwide now offer distance education courses from the most basic instruction through to the highest levels of degree and doctoral programs. New York University , for example, offers online degrees in engineering and management-related fields through NYU Tandon Online . Levels of accreditation vary: widely respected universities such as Stanford University and Harvard now deliver online courses—but other online schools receive little outside oversight, and some are actually fraudulent, i.e., diploma mills . In the US, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) specializes in the accreditation of distance education institutions. [51]

In the United States in 2011, it was found that a third of all the students enrolled in postsecondary education had taken an accredited online course in a postsecondary institution. [52] Even though growth rates are slowing, enrollment for online courses has been seen to increase with the advance in technology. The majority of public and private colleges now offer full academic programs online. [52] These include, but are not limited to, training programs in the mental health , [53] occupational therapy , [54] [55] family therapy , [56] art therapy , [57] physical therapy , [55] and rehabilitation counseling [58] fields. Even engineering courses that require the manipulation and control of machines and robots [59] that are technically more challenging to learn remotely are subject to distance learning through the internet.

Distance education has a long history, but its popularity and use has grown exponentially as more advanced technology has become available. By 2008, online learning programs were available in the United States in 44 states at the K-12 level. [60]

Internet forums , online discussion group and online learning community can contribute to an efficacious distance education experience. Research shows that socialization plays an important role in some forms of distance education. [61]

E-courses are also a viable option for distance learning. There are many available that cover a broad range of topics.

Paced and self paced models[ edit ]

Distance education can be delivered in a paced format similar to traditional campus based models in which learners commence and complete a course at the same time. Paced delivery is currently the most common mode of distance education delivery. Alternatively, some institutions offer self-paced programs that allow for continuous enrollment and the length of time to complete the course is set by the learner’s time, skill and commitment levels. Paced courses may be offered in either synchronus mode, but self-paced courses are almost always offered asynchronously. Each delivery model offers both advantages and disadvantages for students, teachers and institutions.

Kaplan and Haenlein classify distance education into four groups along the dimensions Time dependency and Number of participants: 1) MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): Open-access online course (i.e., without specific participation restrictions) that allows for unlimited (massive) participation; 2) SPOCs (Small Private Online Courses): Online course that only offers a limited number of places and therefore requires some form of formal enrollment; 3) SMOCs (Synchronous Massive Online Courses): Open-access online course that allows for unlimited participation but requires students to be “present” at the same time (synchronously); 4) SSOCs (Synchronous Private Online Courses): Online course that only offers a limited number of places and requires students to be “present” at the same time (synchronously). [1]

Paced models are a familiar mode as they are used almost exclusively in campus based schools. Institutes that offer both distance and campus programs usually use paced models as teacher workload, student semester planning, tuition deadlines, exam schedules and other administrative details can be synchronized with campus delivery. Student familiarity and the pressure of deadlines encourages students to readily adapt to and usually succeed in paced models. However, student freedom is sacrificed as a common pace is often too fast for some students and too slow for others. In addition life events, professional or family responsibilities can interfere with a students capability to complete tasks to an external schedule. Finally, paced models allows students to readily form communities of inquiry [62] and to engage in collaborative work.

Self-paced courses maximize student freedom, as not only can students commence studies on any date, but they can complete a course in as little time as a few weeks or up to a year or longer. Students often enroll in self-paced study when they are under pressure to complete programs, have not been able to complete a scheduled course, need additional courses or have pressure which precludes regular study for any length of time. The self-paced nature of the programming, though is an unfamiliar model for many students and can lead to excessive procrastination resulting in course incompletion. Assessment of learning can also be challenging as exams can be written on any day, making it possible for students to share examination questions with resulting loss of academic integrity. Finally, it is extremely challenging to organize collaborative work activities, though some schools [63] are developing cooperative models based upon networked and connectivist pedagogies, [64] for use in self-paced programs.

Benefits[ edit ]

Distance learning can expand access to education and training for both general populace and businesses since its flexible scheduling structure lessens the effects of the many time-constraints imposed by personal responsibilities and commitments. [65] Devolving some activities off-site alleviates institutional capacity constraints arising from the traditional demand on institutional buildings and infrastructure. [65] Furthermore, there is the potential for increased access to more experts in the field and to other students from diverse geographical, social, cultural, economic, and experiential backgrounds. [56]
As the population at large becomes more involved in lifelong learning beyond the normal schooling age, institutions can benefit financially, and adult learning business courses may be particularly lucrative. [65] Distance education programs can act as a catalyst for institutional innovation [65] and are at least as effective as face-to-face learning programs, [53] [54] [66] especially if the instructor is knowledgeable and skilled. [57]

Distance education can also provide a broader method of communication within the realm of education. With the many tools and programs that technological advancements have to offer, communication appears to increase in distance education amongst students and their professors, as well as students and their classmates. The distance educational increase in communication, particularly communication amongst students and their classmates, is an improvement that has been made to provide distance education students with as many of the opportunities as possible as they would receive in in-person education. The improvement being made in distance education is growing in tandem with the constant technological advancements. Present-day online communication allows students to associate with accredited schools and programs throughout the world that are out of reach for in-person learning. By having the opportunity to be involved in global institutions via distance education, a diverse array of thought is presented to students through communication with their classmates. This is beneficial because students have the opportunity to “combine new opinions with their own, and develop a solid foundation for learning”. [67] It has been shown through research that “as learners become aware of the variations in interpretation and construction of meaning among a range of people [they] construct an individual meaning”, which can help students become knowledgeable of a wide array of viewpoints in education. [67] To increase the likelihood that students will build effective ties with one another during the course, instructors should use similar assignments for students across different locations to overcome the influence of co-location on relationship building. [68]

The high cost of education affects students in higher education, to which distance education may be an alternative in order to provide some relief. [66] Distance education has been a more cost-effective form of learning, and can sometimes save students a significant amount of money as opposed to traditional education. Distance education may be able to help to save students a considerable amount financially by removing the cost of transportation. [69] In addition, distance education may be able to save students from the economic burden of high-priced course textbooks. Many textbooks are now available as electronic textbooks, known as e-textbooks, which can offer digital textbooks for a reduced price in comparison to traditional textbooks. Also, the increasing improvements in technology have resulted in many school libraries having a partnership with digital publishers that offer course materials for free, which can help students significantly with educational costs. [69]

Within the class, students are able to learn in ways that traditional classrooms would not be able to provide. It is able to promote good learning experiences and therefore, allow students to obtain higher satisfaction with their online learning. [70] For example, students can review their lessons more than once according to their need. Students can then manipulate the coursework to fit their learning by focusing more on their weaker topics while breezing through concepts that they already have or can easily grasp. [70] When course design and the learning environment are at their optimal conditions, distance education can lead students to higher satisfaction with their learning experiences. [66] Studies have shown that high satisfaction correlates to increased learning. For those in a healthcare or mental health distance learning program, online-based interactions have the potential to foster deeper reflections and discussions of client issues [55] as well as a quicker response to client issues, since supervision happens on a regular basis and is not limited to a weekly supervision meeting. [58] This also may contribute to the students feeling a greater sense of support, since they have ongoing and regular access to their instructors and other students. [55] [58]

Distance learning may enable students who are unable to attend a traditional school setting, due to disability or illness such as decreased mobility and immune system suppression, to get a good education. [71] Children who are sick or are unable to attend classes are able to attend them in “person” through the use of robot proxies. This helps the students have experiences of the classroom and social interaction that they are unable to receive at home or the hospital, while still keeping them in a safe learning environment. Over the last few years[ when? ] more students are entering safely back into the classroom thanks to the help of robots. An article from the New York Times, “A Swiveling Proxy Will Even Wear a Tutu”, explains the positive impact of virtual learning in the classroom, [72] and another [73] that explains how even a simple, stationary telepresence robot can help. [74]
Distance education may provide equal access regardless of socioeconomic status or income, area of residence, gender, race, age, or cost per student. [75] Applying universal design strategies to distance learning courses as they are being developed (rather than instituting accommodations for specific students on an as-needed basis) can increase the accessibility of such courses to students with a range of abilities, disabilities, learning styles, and native languages. [76]
Distance education graduates, who would never have been associated with the school under a traditional system, may donate money to the school. [77]

Distance learning may also offer a final opportunity for adolescents that are no longer permitted in the general education population due to behavior disorders. Instead of these students having no other academic opportunities, they may continue their education from their homes and earn their diplomas, offering them another chance to be an integral part of society.

Distance Learning offers individuals a unique opportunity to benefit from the expertise and resources of the best Universities currently available. Students have the ability to collaborate, share, question, infer and suggest new methods and techniques for continuous improvement of the content. The ability to complete a course at a t pace that is appropriate for each individual is the most effective manner to learn given the personal demands on time and schedule. Self-paced distance learning on a mobile device such is a smartphone provides maximum flexibility and capability.

Criticism[ edit ]

Barriers to effective distance education include obstacles such as domestic distractions and unreliable technology, [78] as well as students’ program costs, adequate contact with teachers and support services, and a need for more experience. [79]

Some students attempt to participate in distance education without proper training with the tools needed to be successful in the program. Students must be provided with training opportunities (if needed) on each tool that is used throughout the program. The lack of advanced technology skills can lead to an unsuccessful experience. Schools have a responsibility to adopt a proactive policy for managing technology barriers. [80] Time management skills and self discipline in distance education is just as important as complete knowledge of the software and tools being used for learning.

The results of a study of Washington state community college students showed that distance learning students tended to drop out more often than their traditional counterparts due to difficulties in language, time management, and study skills. [81]

According to Dr. Pankaj Singhm, director of Nims University , “distance learning benefits may outweigh the disadvantages for students in such a technology-driven society; however before indulging into use of educational technology a few more disadvantages should be considered.” He describes that over multiple years, “all of the obstacles have been overcome and the world environment for distance education continues to improve.” Dr. Pankaj Singhm also claims there is a debate to distance education stating, “due to a lack of direct face-to-face social interaction. However, as more people become used to personal and social interaction online (for example dating, chat rooms, shopping, or blogging), it is becoming easier for learners to both project themselves and socialize with others. This is an obstacle that has dissipated.” [82]

Not all courses required to complete a degree may be offered online. Health care profession programs in particular, require some sort of patient interaction through field work before a student may graduate. [83] Studies have also shown that students pursuing a medical professional graduate degree who are participating in distance education courses, favor face to face communication over professor-mediated chat rooms and/or independent studies. However, this is little correlation between student performance when comparing the previous different distance learning strategies. [54]

There is a theoretical problem about the application of traditional teaching methods to online courses because online courses may have no upper size limit. Daniel Barwick noted that there is no evidence that large class size is always worse or that small class size is always better, although a negative link has been established between certain types of instruction in large classes and learning outcomes; he argued that higher education has not made a sufficient effort to experiment with a variety of instructional methods to determine whether large class size is always negatively correlated with a reduction in learning outcomes. [84] Early proponents of Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOC )s saw them as just the type of experiment that Barwick had pointed out was lacking in higher education, although Barwick himself has never advocated for MOOCs.

There may also be institutional challenges. Distance learning is new enough that it may be a challenge to gain support for these programs in a traditional brick-and-mortar academic learning environment. [55] Furthermore, it may be more difficult for the instructor to organize and plan a distance learning program, [58] especially since many are new programs and their organizational needs are different from a traditional learning program.

Additionally, though distance education offers industrial countries the opportunity to become globally informed, there are still negative sides to it. Hellman states that “These include its cost and capital intensiveness, time constraints and other pressures on instructors, the isolation of students from instructors and their peers, instructors’ enormous difficulty in adequately evaluating students they never meet face-to-face, and drop-out rates far higher than in classroom-based courses.” [85]

A more complex challenge of distance education relates to cultural differences between student and teachers and among students. Distance programmes tend to be more diverse as they could go beyond the geographical borders of regions, countries, and continents, and cross the cultural borders that may exist with respect to race, gender, and religion. That requires a proper understanding and awareness of the norms, differences, preconceptions and potential conflicting issues. [86]

Educational technology[ edit ]

The modern use of electronic educational technology (also called e-learning) facilitates distance learning and independent learning by the extensive use of information and communications technology (ICT), replacing traditional content delivery by postal correspondence. Instruction can be synchronous and asynchronous online communication in an interactive learning environment or virtual communities, in lieu of a physical classroom. “The focus is shifted to the education transaction in the form of virtual community of learners sustainable across time.” [87]

One of the most significant issues encountered in the mainstream correspondence model of distance education is transactional distance, which results from the lack of appropriate communication between learner and teacher. This gap has been observed to become wider if there is no communication between the learner and teacher and has direct implications over the learning process and future endeavors in distance education. Distance education providers began to introduce various strategies, techniques, and procedures to increase the amount of interaction between learner and teacher. These measures e.g. more frequent face-to-face tutorials, increased use of information and communication technologies including teleconferencing and the Internet, were designed to close the gap in transactional distance. [88]

Credentials[ edit ]

Main article: Online credentials for learning

Online credentials for learning are digital credentials that are offered in place of traditional paper credentials for a skill or educational achievement. Directly linked to the accelerated development of internet communication technologies, the development of  digital badges ,  electronic passports  and  massive open online courses  (MOOCs) have a very direct bearing on our understanding of learning, recognition and levels as they pose a direct challenge to the status quo. It is useful to distinguish between three forms of online credentials: Test-based credentials, online badges, and online certificates. [89]

See also[ edit ]

  • Degree completion program
  • Distance and on-line learning advocates
    • Herbert Gross
    • Linda Harasim
  • Educational technology
  • Homeschooling
  • Learning environment
  • Low-residency program
  • Media psychology
  • New media
  • Open supported learning
  • Open-door academic policy
  • Qualifications frameworks for online learning
  • Sunrise Semester
  • Virtual education

Sources[ edit ]

Definition of Free Cultural Works logo notext.svg  This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 License statement : Level-setting and recognition of learning outcomes: The use of level descriptors in the twenty-first century , 129-131, Keevey, James; Chakroun, Borhene, UNESCO. UNESCO. To learn how to add open license text to Wikipedia articles, please see Wikipedia:Adding open license text to Wikipedia . For information on reusing text from Wikipedia , please see the terms of use .

References[ edit ]

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  2. ^ Honeyman, M; Miller, G (December 1993). “Agriculture distance education: A valid alternative for higher education?” (PDF). Proceedings of the 20th Annual National Agricultural Education Research Meeting: 67–73. 
  3. ^ Distance Education Accrediting Commission. “CHEA-Recognized Scope of Accreditation.” “Archived copy” . Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2015. . April 2013.
  4. ^ Tabor, Sharon W (Spring 2007). “Narrowing the Distance: Implementing a Hybrid Learning Model” . Quarterly Review of Distance Education. IAP. 8 (1): 48–49. ISBN   9787774570793 . ISSN   1528-3518 . Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Vaughan, Dr Norman D. (2010). “Blended Learning”. In Cleveland-Innes, MF; Garrison, DR. An Introduction to Distance Education: Understanding Teaching and Learning in a New Era . Taylor & Francis. p. 165. ISBN   0-415-99598-1 . Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Holmberg, Börje (2005). The evolution, principles and practices of distance education . Studien und Berichte der Arbeitsstelle Fernstudienforschung der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg [ASF] (in German). 11. Bibliotheks-und Informationssystem der Universitat Oldenburg. p. 13. ISBN   3-8142-0933-8 . Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  7. ^ Alan Tait. “Reflections on Student Support in Open and Distance Learning” . The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 
  8. ^ IAP. distance learning… a magazine for leaders volume 2 number 6 . p. 18. ISBN   9787774554229 . 
  9. ^ Moore, Michael G.; Greg Kearsley (2005). Distance Education: A Systems View (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN   0-534-50688-7 . 
  10. ^ a b Rothblatt, Sheldon; Muller, Detlef K.; Ringer, Fritz; Simon, Brian; Bryant, Margaret; Roach, John; Harte, Negley; Smith, Barbara; Symonds, Richard (1988). “Supply and Demand: The “Two Histories” of English Education”. History of Education Quarterly. 28 (4): 627–44. doi : 10.2307/368852 . JSTOR   368852 . 
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  15. ^ Von V. Pittman, Correspondence Study in the American University: A Second Historiographical Perspective, in Michael Grahame Moore, William G. Anderson, eds. Handbook of Distance Education pp 21-36
  16. ^ Joseph F. Kett, Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties: From Self-Improvement to Adult Education in America (1996) pp 236-8
  17. ^ J.J. Clark, “The Correspondence School—Its Relation to Technical Education and Some of Its Results,” Science (1906) 24#611 pp 327-8, 332, 333. Clark was manager of the school’s text-book department.
  18. ^ Clark, “The Correspondence School” (1906) p 329
  19. ^ Kett, Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties, p 240
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  45. ^ Robert J. Taggart. (2007). “The Promise and Failure of Educational Television in a Statewide System: Delaware, 1964–1971.” American Educational History Journal, 24 (1), 111–122. online
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Further reading[ edit ]

  • Anderson, Terry. Theory and Practice of Online Education (2nd ed 2008) ISBN   9781897425084
  • Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2010). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 80-97.
  • Bates, T. (2005). Technology, e-learning and distance education: RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Clark, J. J. (1906). “The Correspondence School–Its Relation to Technical Education and Some of Its Results”. Science. 24 (611): 327–34. Bibcode : 1906Sci….24..327C . doi : 10.1126/science.24.611.327 . PMID   17772791 . 
  • Hampel, Robert L (2010). “The Business of Education: Home Study at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s and 1930s”. Teachers College Record. 112 (9): 2496–2517. 
  • Holmberg, Börje. Theory and Practice of Distance Education (2nd ed 1995) online
  • Kett, Joseph F. Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties: From Self-Improvement to Adult Education in America (1994) ISBN   978-0804726801
  • Moore, Michael Grahame and William Anderson (2012). Handbook of Distance Education (2nd ed.). Psychology Press. ISBN   978-1-4106-0729-4 .  online edition
  • Major, C.H. Teaching online: A guide to theory, research, and practice. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).
  • Moore, M.G., ed. Contemporary issues in American distance education (1990)
  • Peters, O. (1994). Distance education and industrial production: A comparative interpretation in outline(1973). Otto Peters on distance education: The industrialization of teaching and learning, 107-127.
  • Saba, F. (2011). Distance Education in the United States: Past, Present, Future. Educational Technology, 51(6), 11.
  • Stubblefield, Harold W. and Patrick Keane. Adult Education in the American Experience: From the Colonial Period to the Present (1994) ISBN   978-0787900250
  • Taylor, J. C. (2001). Fifth generation distance education. e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology (e-JIST), 4(1), 1-14.
  • Terry Evans, M. H., David Murphy (Ed.). (2008). International Handbook of Distance Education. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Walsh, Taylor. Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses (Princeton University Press, 2011) online

External links[ edit ]

Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: ICT in Education
  • Distance learning at Curlie (based on DMOZ )
  • “Radio in education” full text books and articles online; from 1930s and 1940s
  • “Issues in Distance Education book series from Athabasca University Press” . A series of over 10 books related to distance education research. Available in print for sale or online as open access.
  • The Center on Accessible Distance Learning (AccessDL) , DO-IT Center, University of Washington
  • “Using Telepresence Robots to Bring Online and Face-to-Face Students Closer.” . Michigan State University Design Studio

Journals[ edit ]

  • The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning” , widely cited, open access scholarly journal
  • The Journal of Distance Education / Revue de l’Éducation à Distance , scholarly journal
  • The Journal of Online Learning and Teaching” , peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal
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      Home / Education Articles / A Brief History of the Online Classroom and Virtual College Courses

      A Brief History of the Online Classroom and Virtual College Courses

      Attending online colleges and universities has become somewhat of a trend within the past decade and every year more and more students are packing into virtual classrooms in order to open additional doors in their future.  There are still far too many out there that do not believe that a quality education can be obtained over the Internet, however, because they were exposed to some truly bad experiences back in the early ‘90’s when this type of education first started becoming mainstream.  Let’s take a quick look at the evolution of distance learning throughout the ages-

      The First Distance Learning Schools

      Believe it or not, the very first distance learning schools were founded way back in the early 1700’s and generally called “correspondence courses.”  Of course, there was no World Wide Web back on those days so students learned solely from small pamphlets and textbooks that were sent from the college through the US Postal Service whenever a student registered.  There were no tests involved and students were free to study completely at their own pace; once they finished one lesson plan then all they had to do was mail the college and request the next one.

      Some of the finer schools even had on-site instructors that could be contacted through the mail if any questions happened to arise…which would generally take weeks or even months for a student to get a simple question answered.  Although this may sound completely ridiculous to some, it is important to remember what life was like almost 300 years ago and how slim the advanced learning opportunities were.  If a man could learn an additional skill by studying in the evenings after finishing his daily profession, then that was thought of as a noble thing.

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      Early Online Colleges and Diploma Mills

      Of course, we have to fast forward about 290 years to where this story picks up again.  The first online degrees started becoming available around 1995 but there was little incentive for students to consider this route.  In the mid 90’s the personal computer was still in its infancy, the world was still dealing with dial-up, and government financial aid could not be applied to this type of education.  There were a few pioneers even back then, of course, that were not afraid to brave the trials of distance learning but the graduation rates were low and employers did not seem even a little bit impressed with this new type of learning.

      Businesses wanted absolutely nothing to do with a prospective employee that attended an online college because nine times out of ten, the diploma came from some type of paper mill where a “student” mailed in a few hundred dollars and a graduation certificate would show up in the mail a few weeks later.  Fake diplomas became so popular, in fact, that employers were forced at one point to ignore any type of college education that did not come from a well-known traditional university.  Even graduates of small state colleges were looked at suspiciously.

      The Big Draw of Online Classrooms

      Even so, there were still many scholars who saw the value in a distance learning education and they enjoyed the numerous freedoms that such an education provided.  The idea of not having an actual class time was mind-boggling at first but as students quickly realized that the lectures were stored online and available whenever they had a chance to view them, it was almost if all of the boundaries of the traditional college campus were removed.  In fact, many institutions graded students solely on their classwork and their quarterly essays; there were not even tests.  Students simply loved the concept.

      Over the years, online colleges have been able to really fine tune the idea of a distance education and things like online discussion boards, chat programs, and eBooks made the process even more streamlined.  This learning method also offered a unique opportunity to the schools as well because since they were charging about the same for a four-year degree (with a fraction of the overhead), this learning method was also extremely profitable.

      The Pioneers of Modern Online Educations

      It took close to another decade before the sentiments regarding an online degree started to shift and Americans can largely thank foreign students for today’s popularity.  Schools like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University were among the first to receive regional accreditations and with their accelerated learning programs where students could complete a Bachelor’s Degree in as little as two years, foreign students were flocking to virtual classrooms because of the prestige that a US-based education carried within their home countries.  In many cases, their salary outlook would almost double overnight and they were suddenly in high demand within the workforce.

      Meanwhile, DeVry University and many other online colleges were spending millions of dollars per year advertising what a distance learning experience could do for Americans and eventually the trend started to catch on in the most unlikely of places; with middle-aged professionals who were already involved with a career.  Ashford University was another pioneer in this field and these colleges helped hundreds of thousands of working-class students complete their degree in the early 2000’s and the numbers kept increasing exponentially every year.  Eventually, even the government gave in and started offering Federal financial aid for online students…and that changed everything.

      The Rise of Electronics

      Boston.com estimates that as many as four million students are enrolled in online classes annually and that number is expected to keep growing well into the future.  Besides the obvious reasons, many scholars expect this trend to continue thanks to the way that technology has absolutely flourished and given almost everyone multiple ways to connect to the Internet and study.  Suddenly we see things like people taking buses to work simply to be able to relax and take in a Chemistry lecture or to study for an upcoming exam…none of this would have been remotely possible even a few years ago.

      While no one can put an exact number on where online classrooms will go in the future, many high schools are already in the process of mimicking this learning process to make educating children more affordable.  Eventually there will be online college courses designed for specific employers and technical jobs as well; there is absolutely no telling how far distance learning will go.

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      Internet History, Technology, and Security

      Overview Syllabus FAQs Creators Ratings and Reviews

      Home Computer Science Computer Security and Networks

      Internet History, Technology, and Security

      University of Michigan

      About this course: The impact of technology and networks on our lives, culture, and society continues to increase. The very fact that you can take this course from anywhere in the world requires a technological infrastructure that was designed, engineered, and built over the past sixty years. To function in an information-centric world, we need to understand the workings of network technology. This course will open up the Internet and show you how it was created, who created it and how it works. Along the way we will meet many of the innovators who developed the Internet and Web technologies that we use today.

      What You Will Learn:
      After this course you will not take the Internet and Web for granted. You will be better informed about important technological issues currently facing society. You will realize that the Internet and Web are spaces for innovation and you will get a better understanding of how you might fit into that innovation. If you get excited about the material in this course, it is a great lead-in to taking a course in Web design, Web development, programming, or even network administration. At a minimum, you will be a much wiser network citizen.

      Created by:  University of Michigan
      University of Michigan

      • Taught by:   Charles Severance , Associate Professor

        School of Information
      Commitment12 hours of videos and quizzes
      English , Subtitles: Italian, Russian
      How To PassPass all graded assignments to complete the course.
      User Ratings
      4.7 stars
      Average User Rating 4.7 See what learners said


      WEEK 1
      Getting Started
      Welcome to the class. We will first look at the history of the Internet and Web, followed by a look at how the network works and then examine how we secure information on the Internet and Web.

      3 videos, 2 readings

      1. Reading : Course Materials
      2. Video : Welcome to Class
      3. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Manila, Philippines
      4. Video : Bonus: Offices Hours in Portland, OR
      5. Reading : Help us learn more about you!
      History: Dawn of Electronic Computing
      World War II emphasized the strategic importance of computation, communication, and information. There was unprecedented investment in the development of new technologies during the war. We start with Alan Turing and others at Bletchley Park.

      7 videos

      1. Video : High Stakes Research in Computing, and Communication
      2. Video : Alan Turing and Bletchley Park
      3. Video : Bonus: Class Reunion at Bletchley Park
      4. Video : Post-War Computing and Communication
      5. Video : Using the Michigan Terminal System (through 6:00)
      6. Video : Wrap up and Reflection
      7. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Barcelona, Spain
      Graded : History: Dawn of Electronic Computing
      WEEK 2
      History: The First Internet – NSFNet
      In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a great deal of research done to build the first wide-area packet switched networks for the US Department of Defense. In the 1980s, the first “Internet” was formed to allow academic researchers to access supercomputer resources.

      8 videos

      1. Video : History Through Supercomputing
      2. Video : Larry Smarr – NCSA
      3. Video : History Through NSFNet
      4. Video : Doug Van Houweling – NSFNet
      5. Video : Leonard Klienrock – The First Two Packets on the Internet
      6. Video : Katie Hafner – Where Wizards Stay Up Late
      7. Video : Bonus: Nii Quaynor – Bringing the Web to Africa
      8. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Washington DC, USA
      Graded : History: The First Internet – NSFNet
      WEEK 3
      History: The Web Makes it Easy to Use
      The World-Wide-Web was invented in 1990 but it was not an overnight success. But by 1994 – “the year of the web” – the web was being widely used and Internet usage was growing by leaps and bounds.

      8 videos

      1. Video : Getting to the Web
      2. Video : Robert Cailliau – Co-Inventor of the Web
      3. Video : The Web Becomes Content
      4. Video : Paul Kunz – The First Web Server in America
      5. Video : Building Mosaic
      6. Video : Joseph Hardin – NCSA Mosaic
      7. Video : Reflecting on Mosaic
      8. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Mexico City, Mexico
      Graded : History: The Web Makes it Easy to Use
      WEEK 4
      History: Commercialization and Growth
      The late 1990’s saw the web and Internet used increasingly to revolutionize how business was done. Companies like Amazon were founded and grew very rapidly.

      8 videos

      1. Video : The Year of the Web
      2. Video : Mitchell Baker: The Mozilla Foundation
      3. Video : Brendan Eich – Inventor of JavaScript
      4. Video : Assume the Web
      5. Video : Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon
      6. Video : The Modern Internet
      7. Video : Bonus: Tim Berners-Lee
      8. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Melbourne, Australia
      Graded : History: Commercialization and Growth
      WEEK 5
      Technology: Internets and Packets
      The Internet is designed based on a four-layer model. Each layer builds on the layers below it. The Link and Internetwork layers are the lowest layers of that model.

      5 videos

      1. Video : Introduction / The Link Layer
      2. Video : Bob Metcalfe – The Ethernet Story
      3. Video : The InterNetwork (IP)
      4. Video : Vint Cerf – A Brief History of Packets
      5. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Palo Alto, California, USA
      Graded : Technology: Internets and Packets
      WEEK 6
      Technology: Transport Control Protocol (TCP)
      The Transport layer is built on the Internetwork layer and is what makes our network connections reliable.

      5 videos

      1. Video : Transport Layer
      2. Video : Van Jacobson – Slow Start Algorithm
      3. Video : The Domain Name System
      4. Video : TCP Wrap Up
      5. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
      Graded : Technology: Transport Control Protocol (TCP)
      WEEK 7
      Technology: Application Protocols
      With reliable “pipes” available from the Transport layer, we can build applications like web browsers, file transfer applications, or email clients and servers.

      3 videos

      1. Video : Application Layer
      2. Video : Van Jacobson – Content Centered Networking
      3. Video : Bonus: Office Hours – San Diego, California, USA
      Graded : Technology: Application Protocols
      WEEK 8
      Security: Encrypting and Signing
      Using simple examples, we examing how to shield data from prying eyes and make sure that the data was not altered while in transit.

      4 videos

      1. Video : Security Introduction
      2. Video : Security – Encryption and Confidentiality
      3. Video : Security – Integrity and Signatures
      4. Video : Bruce Schneier: The Security Mindset
      Graded : Security : Encrypting and Signing
      WEEK 9
      Security: Web Security
      We apply the basic ideas of encryption and signing to who we actually secure the connections that we use on today’s Web and Internet.

      4 videos

      1. Video : Security Public/Private Key – Secure Sockets
      2. Video : Diffie, Hellman, and Merkle (YouTube only)
      3. Video : Security – Integrity and Certificate Authorities
      4. Video : Bruce Schneier: Building Cryptographic Systems
      Graded : Security: Web Security
      WEEK 10
      Final Exam

      1 video, 1 reading

      1. Video : Graduation Ceremony
      2. Reading : Post-course Survey
      Graded : Final Exam – IHTS


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      University of Michigan
      The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.

      Ratings and Reviews

      Rated 4.7 out of 5 of 1,505 ratings


      Learning So Many Things This Course

      Great course from a non-techie's perspective. I am a lawyer working with IT related issues, and this course is a must have! Dr.Chuck is amazing and I really feel it is worth the effort. I recommend this to everyone!

      This course gives a lot of information on history of computers and technology in general. It's a great course and the professor is truly amazing. He is a great guy and also manages to explain things in the best way.

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