The History of Distance Education

Important events in the history of distance education.

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January 1852
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January 1 (Thursday)  
1852- First Correspondence Course

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The Pittman Shorthand training program developed the first by mail correspondence course in 1852. This is a precursor to distance education as we know it today. (Casey,2008, pg.36).

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January 1883
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January 1 (Monday)  
1883 Development of first correspondence University

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The first University dedicated solely to correspondence or distance education began operation in Ithaca New York in1883. This was very forward thinking. They welcomed students from all over the country! This is a step in overcoming geographical barriers to education. (Casey,2008, pg. 46)

Image University building retrieved from www.commons.wikimedia.org January 11, 2017.

January 1921
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January 1 (Saturday)  
1921 -First educational radio licenses granted

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This is a continuation of breaking down the geographical barriers to education. Students could hear the instruction in real time, no longer using solely textual communication and relying on mail delivery service. (Casey,2008,pg. 46)

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January 1964
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January 1 (Wednesday)  
1964 AIM-Articulated Instructional Media

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AIM- Articulated Instructional Media was developed  by Charles Wedemeyer. This is the first time specialists were used to create a course. The component parts were then combined or "articulated" to become a comprehensive course. This signifies the birth of course design as we know it today. ( Moore, 2003, pg 8).

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January 1970
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January 1 (Thursday)  
1970- First college to not have a physical campus

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Coastline Community College was the first solely distance college. There was no brick and mortar campus, which was previously unheard of. Distance education was relegated to the fringe of most Universities. Without the expenses of a traditional University, colleges that focused solely on distance education were able to extend education to many more people. (Casey, 2008,pg. 47).

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January 1971
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January 1 (Friday)  
1971- creation of the microprocessor

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The creation of the microprocessor in 1971 revolutionized the way teachers and students could communicate. "The computer was the missing piece of the educational puzzle".  (Casey, 2008. pg. 47).

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January 1988
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January 1 (Friday)  
1988- First Scholarly Collection of American research on distance education.

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Up until this point research was lacking on distance education, especially in the United States. This was the beginning of scholarship where distance education. This was a step towards more widespread acceptance of distance education. (Moore, 2003, pg.  26).

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January 1991
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January 1 (Tuesday)  
1991- World Wide Web

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The development of the world wide web technology in 1991 allows computers to be linked with one another. This allows for instantaneous two way communication between teacher and student. It is hard to believe that the invention of the web was as recent as 1991!

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January 1993
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January 1 (Friday)  
1993- First solely online college to be accredited by the HLC

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In 1993, Jones International University opened its "doors". It was the first fully online college to be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission(HLC), the very same agency that grants accreditation status to the University Of Notre Dame and other prestigious Universities. This further legitimized distance education.( Casey, 2208,pg. 48).

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January 1999
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January 1 (Friday)  
1999-The Distance Learning Education Demonstration Program Established

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This project was undertaken to help determine the most effective way to deliver distance education. This is important for two reasons. One, the involvement of the federal government lent some credibility to distance education programs and  secondly it was on opportunity for quality control. (Casey, 2008, pg.52).

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