Distance Ed

Major Milestones in the Development of Distance Education in the United States

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Pitman Shorthand

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Sir Isaac Pitman developed a phonetic shorthand system. It became, and remains, the most widely used shorthand system in the U.S. and has been applied to numerous other languages, including Arabic, Hindi, and Japanese. (Cornell University Linguistics & Languages).


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Anna Ticknow's Women's Studies Program

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Anna Ticknow developed a volunteer program in Boston that delivered correspondence learning in communication, teaching, and learning to over 10,000 students.

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Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) 1878

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Per the Chautauqua College web site, "The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) was started in 1878 to provide those who could not afford the time or money to attend college the opportunity of acquiring the skills and essential knowledge of a College education. The four-year, correspondence course was one of the first attempts at distance learning. Besides broadening access to education, the CLSC program was intended to show people how best to use their leisure time and avoid the growing availability of idle pastimes, such as drinking, gambling, dancing and theater-going, that posed a threat both to good morals and to good health" (Chautauqua Institution History)

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Cornell Home Economics Extension Program

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Martha Van Rensselaer developed a home economics extension program that enrolled over 20,000 in only five years. According to Cornell, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall was built in 1931-33 at a cost of about $1 million and included "an Auditorium, a tea room and cafeteria, a reading room, a costume shop, teaching kitchen, gallery, nursery, and student housing." Much of the architecture remains unchanged today. (Cornell Administration)

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Educational Television

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The University of Iowa was the first to present educational television programs. Initially, specific channels were dedicated to education, but commercial stations began broadcasting educational programs later (Moore 2003, pp. 7-8).

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United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI)

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The USAFI offered correspondence courses to service personnel throughout the world until it closed in 1974. It introduced computerized assignments and other improvements to correspondence studies. It was replaced by Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) in 1974, which utilized universities to provide distance courses (Moore 2003, p. 7).

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Midwest Program on Airborne Television

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"Two men stand in front of a Purdue-owned airplane that was used to broadcast televised courses through the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction, or MPATI. Purdue played a key role in the regional initiative from 1960 until 1968, when the program ended" (Purdue University Archives and Special Collections). 

This initiative facilitated future satellite broadcasting (Moore 2003, p. 8).

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Articulated Instructional Media (AIM) Project

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Founded by Charles Wedemeyer, AIM sought to apply manufacturing principles to distance education. AIM reduced the process of teaching into component parts, utilized teams of specialists, and a wide array of learning resources and technology (Moore 2003, p. 8).

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National University Continuing Education (NUCEA)

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The National University Continuing Education Association (NUCEA), was formed by education correspondence faculty to differentiate their "Independent Study" courses from home study (Moore 2003, p. 7).

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Open Universities

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Wedemeyer served as a consultant in Britain to develop "independent, large-scale system dedicated entirely to distance education, using the full range of technologies and having its own faculty, funds, & degree-granting authority." The United States was not on board (Moore 2003, p. 10).

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Internet

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1970's - PLATO: "allowed a number of sites to communicate via dial-up & dedicated connections."

1969 - ARPA: "...network link to military, university, & defense contractors"

1980's - NSFNet: "...a network of 5 supercomputer centers connected to universities & research organizations."

(Moore 2003, p. 16)

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U.S. Versions of the Open University

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Various states have offered scaled-down versions of the open universities that utilized satellite broadcasting, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, telecourses, Television Fixed Service (ITFS), audioconferencing, computer conferencing, and other mediums. the internet, and web-based education. Most universities in the U.S. offer both distance and traditional learning (Moore 2003, pp. 10-13).

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Beginning a Theory of Distance Education

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At the World Conference of the International Council for Correspondence Education (ICCE), Michael Moore proposed a "theory of distance education, based on concepts of curriculum that he referred to as 'structure,' instruction, or 'dialogue' and learning theory, 'learner autonomy.' This later became known as the 'Theory of Transactional Distance'" (Moore 2003, p. 22).

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Virtual Universities

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Jones International University and the University of Phoenix Online offer fully online programs.

Capella University offers online programs that allow students to work at their own pace.

Western Governors University is a joint project of 19 states and Guam, in which credits are based on competence, skills, & knowledge. 

(Moore 2003, p. 19)

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World-Wide Web

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Tim Berners-Lee first conceptualized.

Mosaic - first web browser.

1990's: universities began offering web-based distance programs. Companies began developing online training & testing services.

2001: high-speed networks are forming.

eArmyU: Allows soldiers to take distance courses.

(Moore 2003, p. 16)

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