Over the past few decades, online education has emerged as a form of secondary education that for many people has replaced actual attendance in physical classrooms. However, this change didn’t occur over night. Below is a brief overview of the rise of online education.
The seeds that would later grow into online universities were actually planted well before the internet was even available to the public. This goes all the way back to the 60’s. During the 1960’s, the very first experiments using computers to teach were performed at Stanford University. Psychology professors, Richard Atkisnon and Patrick Suppes, used the very modest computer technology available at the time to teach reading and math to elementary school students.
These experiments were very successful, and the result was that a focus on combining computers with teaching would continue as the technology itself slowly evolved and became more available to more instructors.
The Digital Revolution of the 1990’s
However, the use of computers and the internet as teaching tools really didn’t take off until the 1990’s. In 1993, a man named William Graziadei developed the first curriculum using an online model. He used e-mail, which still had rather limited use outside of the government, to send students lectures and assignments. Over the next four years, he finely tuned his online teaching strategies. In 1997, he published an influential article outlining his strategy for developing and managing a course using the capabilities of the internet.
However, it was one year prior to this article that the first online university was officially launched. The first university to exist completely online was Jones International University. This university had in fact been implementing distance learning techniques via cable television networks since the late 80’s. This business plan helped them transition easily to using the internet as a replacement distance learning platform. The online version of this school received its accreditation in 1996.
Online Education Today
Today, online education has become part of the foundation of both pedagogy and the secondary education marketplace. Nearly every highschool student now uses online teaching tools inside and outside of the classroom.
Secondary education will also never be the same. Almost every major college has adapted to include the internet as part of courses in nearly every field. Most large colleges also now offer online courses in addition to courses completed on campus.
However, the biggest change has been the explosion of schools and learning programs that only exist online. A plethora of accredited online universities are now available to students in every single state. By 2006, it was estimated that 3.2 million students were taking a course online. That number has surely risen since and will probably continue to rise well off into the future.
Britney Baker is a freelance writer who normally writes feature articles for carinsurancecompanies.org.