Trends and Perspectives in Online Education

Trends and Perspectives in Online Education

Bruce Rollier (University of Baltimore, USA) and Fred Niederman (Saint Louis University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-935-9.ch273
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Although the Internet has been in existence since 1969, it was not widely used for educational purposes in its first two decades. Few students had access to e-mail, and few educators could visualize its value as a teaching tool. Programs to serve students from remote locations, often called “distance education,” became popular; these were generally delivered synchronously through television broadcasts and did not involve the Internet. When the World Wide Web was created in the early 1990s (Berners-Lee, 1999) and the first browsers became available (Waldrop, 2001), the enormous potential for education began to be recognized. New global users came online at a fantastic pace, and the value of all this connectivity was increasing even more rapidly in accordance with Metcalf’s Law (Gilder, 1996). Nearly all students used e-mail regularly, and college professors were putting syllabi and course assignments online and creating Web pages with increasing sophistication. Soon entire programs were offered completely via the Internet, with students from all over the globe taking courses together.

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