RESOURCE: 300 Years of Distance Learning Evolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
If you thought that distance learning was a product of today, then you would be mistaken. In fact, the first distance learning program on record took place in 1728, when a local teacher by the name of Caleb Phillips advertised shorthand correspondence lessons offered by mail! By 1800, the growth of the U.S. Postal Service brought about an increase in the number of distance learning correspondence courses in the country. Remember, mail back then was like email is today – “fast”, convenient, and nearly everyone had access. Heck, by 1873, the University of the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) founded a distance learning facility.
Times sure have changed, in particular because of accessible and advanced technology. But it never hurts to take a look back in time to see how distance learning has evolved. As expected, once technology started to become more developed in the last century, we have seen a rapid growth in the number of distance learning offerings. Starting with radio and television, and naturally with the computer, when BlackBoard entered the market (1999) to help lead the charge into the new millennium. Today, roughly 60% of four-year U.S. private colleges and universities offer online classes.