by Heidi Thompson
Adventures in Online Learning - Eduventures, the marketing research firm, predicts that hundreds of nonprofits will seek to move online more aggressively, as a way to compete with for-profit schools.
First, some historical perspective (a timeline):
FACT: Before they called it Online Learning, it was called simply learning from a distance
1840: Sir Issac Pitman, the English inventor of shorthand, came up with an ingenious idea for delivering instruction to a potentially limitless audience: correspondence courses by mail.
1873: the first official correspondence education program, called the "Society to Encourage Home Studies", was established in Boston, Massachusetts.
1895: Distance learning was legitimized as a term used by the U. of Wisconsin in their catalog.
1911: The University of Queensland in Australia founded its Department of Correspondence Studies in 1911, which also relied on Australia's postal system.
1921: First radio courses, offered by Penn State College.
1953: The University of House made distance learning history when it began offering the first televised college classes on KUHT (today called HoustonPBS).
1960: PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), developed at U. of Illinois, the first computer assisted instruction system. It was widely used starting in the early 1970s, with more than 1000 terminals worldwide. PLATO ran in four decades, offering elementary through university coursework to UIUC students, local schools, and more than a dozen universities.
1962: Stanford University implemented a type of online education that allowed students and teachers to communicate with each other with instructions and notes online. Data packets were sent between parties to complete assignments and monitor progress.
1982: he Computer Assisted Learning Center (CALC) was founded in 1982 in Rindge, New Hampshire, as a small, offline computer-based, adult learning center. The center was based on the same premise as today: to provide affordable, quality instruction to individual learners through the use of computers. Origins of CALCampus.
1989: The University of Phoenix became the first institution to launch a fully online collegiate institution that offered both bachelors and masters degrees.
1992: CAPA (Computer Assisted Personalized Approach) was first introduced to the WWW. The system was developed at Michigan State University and was first used in a small (92 student) physics class in the Fall of 1992.
1996: Entrepreneurs Glen Jones and Bernand Luskin launched Jones International University, which became the first accredited and fully web-based university.
1997: The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) launched its "Instructional Enhancement Initiative" that required a number of programs to have Web sites.
2003: The Blackboard Learning System staff announced that 40,000 instructors were teaching 150,000 online courses to more than 6 million students, across 55 countries.
2009: More than 4.5 million students take online classes, with a Master of Science in Business Administration (MBA) being the top degree offered in the United States.
2013: An estimated 1 out of 4 college students are enrolled in at least one online classes. Currently, 83% of all U.S. institutions that offer online courses say they expect an increase in online enrollment in the coming decade.
And the future:
19 million: Estimated number of online students by 2014. To encourage this, President Barack Oabama has pledged over $500 million for the creation of new online course materials to fuel the industry.
You Tube Goes to College
1995: University of California, Berkeley, computer science professor Lawrence Rowe began recording lectures and posting them as webcasts on the school's intranet for his students to view at their leisure outside of the classroom.
2013: students and curious minds worldwide have viewed the more than 1,000 lectures posted by the school nearly 5 million times via Berkeley's channel on YouTube EDU.
450: Number of universities, worldwide, that have a channel on YouTubeEDU.
63,500: approximate number of hours worth of video content on those channels. Content ranges from class lectures to interactive question-and-answer "office hours" with professors.
20: number of video posts required by YouTube EDU for a school to qualify for its own channel.
Pros and Cons of taking Online courses
Pro: Less Expensive: Online tuition generally cost less (plus no travel and housing costs to classroom; class attendee can continue to work at his/her job while taking classes
Con: Additional cost of high-speed Internet
Con: Computer boot-up time, software programs, and connection to Internet; students may be required to learn new or enhanced computer and troubleshooting skills
Pro: Most community colleges believe that student demand for fully online courses is outpacing the college's supply
Con: But new studies suggest that colleges may be overestimating students' desire for more online learning, particularly in certain subjects.
Pro: Students appreciate the flexibility and option of online learning
Con: Most would not want to take all their classes online. Students indicated they valued the more intimate connection with teachers and fellow students offered in traditional classrooms.
Pro: Students report that they only take courses online if they feel they can learn the material on their own.
Con: If students expect a course to be difficult, they prefer face-to-face courses.
Con: Students feel that certain subjects, such as languages, public speaking and counseling, are particularly unsuited to the online setting.