The Evolution and History of Online Learning

  • Composition through the medium of the post

    Composition through the medium of the post
    Earliest example of correspondence education advertised in Sweden (Todhunter, 2013).
  • Period: to

    Sir Isaac Pittman's Correspondence Colleges

    Sir Isaac Pittman’s Correspondence Colleges are founded in England, taking advantage of free rural mail delivery. Course material is sent to students by the professor and students work independently on the material (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • Period: to

    Mail correspondence courses

    Mail correspondence courses are developed in Germany, Canada, Australia, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the US (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • The University of Chicago Extension Division

    The University of Chicago Extension Division
    The University of Chicago Extension Division is established as the first US correspondence school to offer full credit courses (“The University of Chicago,” 2018).
  • Pennsylvania State College

    Pennsylvania State College
    Pennsylvania State College broadcasts courses over the radio (“Online School Center,” 2018). From the 1920s through the 1930s, over 200 educational radio stations are licensed to provide educational content over the air (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • First teaching machine

    First teaching machine
    Sidney Pressey invents the first “teaching machine” that will become the forerunner to modern learning management systems. The machine resembled a typewriter and had two windows – one to administer a question and one to fill in the answer (“EasyLMS,” 2018).
  • Ohio School of the Air

    Ohio School of the Air
    Ohio School of the Air is founded using radio airwaves to distribute educational content (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • Period: to

    Televised educational programming

    Beginnings of experimental, educational television programming (“rrw6971,” 2014). As many as 242 channels will come to be set aside for public, educational television stations (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • Iowa State University

    Iowa State University
    Iowa State University launches the first regularly programmed education television station (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • SAKI adaptive teaching system

    SAKI adaptive teaching system
    The SAKI adaptive teaching system is introduced which adjusted questions for students based on their answers and performance (“EasyLMS,” 2018).
  • Desktop computer

    Desktop computer
    Hewlett Packard introduces the first desktop computer (“EasyLMS,” 2018).
  • Coastline Community College

    Coastline Community College
    Coastline Community College becomes the first institution to operate without a physical campus and all courses are broadcast (“Online School Center,” 2018).
  • Period: to

    Computerized distance education

    The introduction of computer mediated distance education ("rrw6971," 2014).
  • The University of Phoenix

    The University of Phoenix
    The University of Phoenix is founded and will become one of the largest, for-profit online schools (“Online School Center,” 2018).
  • SoftArc

    SoftArc software launched the first learning management software for a MacIntosh platform (“EasyLMS,” 2018).
  • Period: to

    World-wide web

    Introduction of the World Wide Web and increasing access to the internet (“rrw6971,” 2014).
  • Digital library

    Digital library
    The U.S. government funds six research universities (Carnegie Mellon University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, University of California-Santa Barbara, and Stanford University) to embark on a digital library project (Schreibman, Siemens, & Unsworth, 2004).
  • Period: to

    Technology in schools

    Technology filters into schools and teachers begin to find useful ways to integrate technology such as desktop computers and Smart Boards into planning and instruction (Pearcy, 2014).
  • Florida Virtual School

    Florida Virtual School
    Florida Virtual School approved by the state of Florida. Touted as the first online public school in the nation (Pearcy, 2014).
  • Blackboard

    Blackboard learning management system is introduced and becomes one of the most popular and used systems for instructors and students to this day (“Online Learning Center,” 2018).
  • Google search

    Google search
    The Google search engine is launched to the public and over the next 20 years will revolutionize online access to information (Google, n.d.).
  • Audacity

    The Audacity product was introduced, which will later provide the ability for instructors to utilize podcasts for “more complex, critical prompts, rather than the simple information/memorization question that is typical in a classroom where the teacher is chronically pressed for time” (Pearcy, 2014, p 172).
  • Period: to

    Online supplemental course information

    Teachers begin to supplement face-to-face learning with websites containing additional text, photos, links to other resources, PowerPoints, and audiovisual content (Pearcy, 2014). Several technologies and products are introduced that propel the capabilities and flexibility of online education.
  • Moodle

    An open-source network platform, Moodle, is introduced for teachers and students to take part in courses. Moodle is used for blended and flipped courses, distance education, and other e-learning projects (“EasyLMS,” 2018).
  • MOOCs

    The first Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) is offered by the University of Manitoba. The course is attended by 25 on-campus students and 2300 others from around the world (“McGill University,” n.d.).
  • Eluminate

    Introduction of Eluminate product provides the ability for professor and student online interaction through chat and audio panels in a teleconference (Pearcy, 2014).
  • Khan Academy

    Khan Academy
    Salman Khan, a former hedge-fund manager, creates Khan Academy, an online platform consisting of thousands of free video lectures (Pearcy, 2014).
  • Stanford University

    Stanford University
    Stanford University hosts an online computer science course that is attended by over 160,000, and completed by over 20,000 students (“McGill University,” n.d.).
  • Udacity

    Udacity company is founded which develops and offers MOOCs for free (“McGill University,” n.d.).
  • Coursera

    Stanford computer science professors launch a company called Coursera which partners with universities to create and offer MOOCs (“McGill University,” n.d.).
  • edX

    Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) collaborate to start their own MOOC, called edX (Pearcy, 2014). California Institute of Technology and University of Texas follow suit.
  • San Jose State University

    San Jose State University
    San Jose State University partners with Udacity in an effort to provide low-cost, high-quality online education to the masses, but results are not successful (Pearcy, 2014).
  • Period: to

    Online course enrollment

    Enrollment in online courses grew more than five percent between fall 2015 and fall 2016 (Friedman, 2018).
  • Online degrees

    Online degrees
    Over 28,337 fully online degrees at the certificate, associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral level are accredited in the United States (“Guide to Online Schools,” 2018).