The Beginning of Online Education

  • In 1960, the University Of Illinois created an intranet, a closed system of linked computer terminals for students to access shared material. This evolved into PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), which expanded the same technology across the globe.
  • Apple software released (1979) an innovative computer game, Lemonade Stand, which was played in a multi-player format, enabling people sitting in different places to play and learn with computers, in a virtual environment. This promoted the idea of learning with the help of computers, in a virtual environment.
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Online education is a modern version of distance learning, which started as mail assignments in Great Britain over 170 years ago.

Back then, instructors sent lessons and received the assignments of students by email.

The heady 80s had the Electronic University Network (EUN) started providing online courses to colleges and universities.

It used the DOS software and Commodore 64 computers and later collaborated with American Online (AOL) a popular online service in the 90s.

  • CALCampus offered the first truly online courses with real-time instruction and live interaction. This was a time when the world-wide-web was only available through a dialup modem and extremely low speeds compared to what we have today.
  • The California Virtual University(CVU) opened for a few years as a massive warehouse of online educational resources.
  • The Journal Of Asynchronous Learning Networks was the first peer-reviewed journal for academic research on online education.

In 2002, MIT began providing course materials and lectures for free, anywhere in the world.

The number of students for online courses jumped to about 5.5 million by 2007, and many corporates began to realize the quality of education provided remotely, even though initially they were reluctant to recognize the same.

The perception of online education has drastically changed as compared to the initial correspondence courses.

It is now an accepted education choice and is set to quadruple due to the ongoing crisis which leaves it as the only option for most of the world. Advances in hardware, software and connectivity will further facilitate the upcoming explosion.

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Easy and Convenient

Online learning gives us a choice and is a flexible virtual approach to learning, but it is not easier or faster, and one still has to learn. It is convenient due to zero commute time, no parking hassles and savings in daily expenses, but it still requires time and effort.

It requires more discipline and good study habits, along with enthusiasm and time management skills.

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