Distance Education and the Evolution of Online Learning in the United States
Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, Vol. 17, Nos. 1 & 2, 2015
17 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2015 Last revised: 14 Mar 2017
Date Written: August 13, 2015
Online education is no longer a trend, rather it is mainstream. In the Fall of 2012, 69.1% of chief academic leaders indicated online learning was critical to their long-term strategy and of the 20.6 million students enrolled in higher education, 6.7 million were enrolled in an online course (Allen & Seaman, 2013; United States Department of Education, 2013). The advent of online education and its rapid growth has forced academic institutions and faculty to question the current styles and techniques for teaching and learning. As developments in educational technology continue to advance, the ways in which we deliver and receive knowledge in both the traditional and online classrooms will further evolve. It is necessary to investigate and understand the progression and advancements in educational technology and the variety of methods used to deliver knowledge to improve the quality of education we provide today and motivate, inspire, and educate the students of the 21st century. This paper explores the evolution of distance education beginning with correspondence and the use of parcel post, to radio, then to television, and finally to online education.
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