Online learning is nothing more than correspondence studying with a kick. Distance learning is something that has been around for over a century. In the 19th century, a school principal in England began to teach short hand to students in the city. Instead of taking classes the conventional way – in a classroom at a fixed time- he actually went around to each of these peoples’ houses. In a time where having a serious handicap, being a housewife or simply not having the money to afford class was the issue – this kind of teaching proved valuable. This is where the concept for correspondence learning first made its mark.
The invention and popularity of TV and radio was the next step. Educators and marketers alike in the 1950’s and 60’s saw the potential of these mediums and used them for educational purposes. Iowa State introduced the first educational television program in the 1950s, then by Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV in 1951, which was soon followed by PBS in 1964. It was during this time that Stanford University psychology professors already started studying whether teaching primary school children through the use of computers would be effective.
The Internet and education
The start of the 1990’s saw the world slowly beginning to change the way in which it would communicate and interact. The world-wide popularity of the Internet snowballed into something that we now simply cannot live without – it was as if our collective global knowledge was simply waiting to burst through such a medium. While the world started to embrace the media sharing, online social platforms, browser wars and search engine puritanism, e-learning slowly started creeping into the culture. Informal online courses, Wikipedia and bite-sized excel training was only the beginning. The year of 1993 saw the very first online, accredited university take off – Jones International University. A mere two years later, the very first K-12 ‘Cyber School’ open.
Top online learning institutes
Online learning does not only mean information at your fingertips, whenever you want it, but it also means cutting personal costs in the pursuit of knowledge and employability. Various institutions understood this:
- UC Berkeley – offering Archaeology, Computer science and Artificial Intelligence among others
- University of Michigan- offering architecture
- Oxford University – offering Art and art history
- Yale – offering Economics
- University of California – Journalism
- Carnegie Mellon – offering Linguistics
These are only just a few of the 750 free online courses that are offered by prestigious universities. In addition, there are hundreds and thousands of online correspondence courses that prospective students can tap into. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun enrolment for the first course in its enhanced online platform, they allow students all over the world to take courses and get certificates upon completion. In addition, they put up almost all of their notes, documents and lecture videos online for the entire online population. In another ten years, the education fraternity will undoubtedly take on this innovative trend.
About the Author: Jen is a high school teacher by profession and gives excel training in her spare time. She is passionate about education and online learning.