In the modern sense of the term, e-learning is a relatively new concept. Since the 1950s, slide projectors and television-based schools have been in use. However, one of the first examples of online learning in the world may be dated back to 1960, at the University of Illinois, USA. Though the internet wasn’t established back then, students began studying through computer terminals that were networked to form a network.
The University of Toronto offered the first completely online course in 1984. In 1986, the Electronic University Network was created for use in DOS and Commodore 64 computers. Three years later, the University of Phoenix became the first educational institution in the world to open a totally online collegiate school, providing both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This was the beginning of a revolution whose potential was mostly unknown to the public back then, but one that would make learning immensely accessible and within reach of what people could ever have dreamed.
Though it may appear that online education had its roots in the late 1900s, the notion of remote learning first came into reality in the mid 19th century when the U.S. Postal Service was founded. The concept of trustworthy, long-distance correspondence led to the establishment and implementation of what was dubbed commercial ‘correspondence colleges’, where instructional missives would be transmitted through the postal service between students and instructors. Today, at-distance education programs have gotten more complex and accessible because of the spread of the web and digital technologies. Elite schools across the world now provide open courseware, online degrees, and online classrooms that are simultaneously legitimizing and popularizing the concept of education via a computer.
Technological breakthroughs have made online education accessible to individuals globally of all diverse backgrounds. The format is notably popular in the U.S., where approximately a third of the 20.6 million college students attend online classes. Nearly every postsecondary university in the U.S. provides at least one online program, ranging from non-degree degree programs to entire Ph.Ds.
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