Distance

This timeline will capture significant and mentionable events from the history of distance education.

1728
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Caleb Phillips - weekly shorthand lessons through the mail

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According to Sleator (2010) Caleb Phillips posted an advertisement in the Boston Gazette that stated he was a "teacher of the new method of short hand" and that he was offering a course for "persons in the country desirous to learn this art" and that they would have "several lessons sent weekly to them" that they would "be as perfectly instructed as those that live in Boston"

1840
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Sir Isaac Pittman - Created a new version of shorthand and offered instruction via correspondence

The Penny Post posted a notice that "any person may receive lessons from the author by post gratuitously" for correspondence course work that would educate people on his new format for shorthand (Baker, 1908)

1874
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Anna Eliott Ticknor - Society to Encourage Study at Home First Annual Meeting Held

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In this meeting the society, which had formed the previous fall, the treasurer reported that "we took pains to scatter our circulars as wisely as possible over the country, and the consequence is that our students are not exclusively in this neighborhood, nor even confined to this State, and we have the pleasure of seeing here today some who have made the exertion of coming more than two hundred miles on purpose to join us in this meeting" (Society to encourage study at home, 1897)

1882
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William Rainey Harper - Chautauqua Movement

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According to Harting and Erthal, Chautauquas started offering "home-study courses that were supplemented with material furnished from the Chautauqua publishing house" (2005).

1883
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Correspondence University - Ithaca, New York

A short-lived experiment was the Correspondence University, founded at Ithaca, New York, in 1883 by a group of thirty-two professors from a wide variety of colleges and universities. In spite of its name end ambitions the school had no state charter and no authority to grant degrees.(Kulich, 1970)

1891
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William Rainey Harper - Univeristy of Chicago - First Department of Correspondence Teaching

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William Rainey Harper of the Chautauqua movement went on to be the first president of the University of Chicago.  In 1892 "he had established correspondence study as one of the important divisions in the extension department, which was one of the five main organizational units of the university" and this "division operated for 72 years until it was closed down in 1964"(Kulich, 1970)

1932
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University of Iowa - Expiramenting in transmitting instructional television courses

"The University of Iowa began experimenting with transmitting instructional television courses in 1932, seven  years before television was introduced at the New York World's Fair" (Harting & Erthal, 2005)

1969
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Open Univeristy of United Kingdom - Mixed media use to deliver instruction

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Founded in 1969, this was the "world's first university to teach only at a distance" (Harting & Erthal, 2005). In its first year of operation, 1971, they "admitted more than 24,000 students" (Harting & Erthal, 2005).

1971
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PEACENET - Satallite use in distance education

PEACENET in the Pacific Basin was founded in 1971 and used in the first ever application of satellites in distance education (Hall cited by Matthews, 1999)

1976
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US Army Correspondence Course Program at Eustis Virginia

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"The U. S. Army's correspondence course program has been managed centrally at the U. S. Army Training Support Center (ATSC), Fort Eustis, Virginia, since 1976.  (Duncan, 2005)

1996
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US Army - moved to online enrollment and testing

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A change in top leadership within the U. S. Army fostered "distance instruction as the only viable and cost-effective means to train service men and women who were involved in a variety of operations around the world" (Duncan, 2005)



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