The Traditional Face-to-Face Classrom to Online Learning
The year 1728 does not only historically mark the year in which Captain Cook was born but also the introduction of the world’ s first distance learning course. The first lessons that were sent via mail were initiated in Boston when a man named Caleb Phillips took upon himself to conduct distance learning by means of letters. The instruments used in learning have transformed over the years from being dominantly pen and paper based, to the current incorporation of internet-based learning. The transformation from only paper based learning in to internet based learning has undergone various milestones of change. From the written era in 1728 we advanced to the radio learning era in 1922 were education was facilitated by means of radio transmission. To enable this method of learning educational institutions were granted broadcasting rights to reach a broader audience.
From radio transmission, we moved on to the television learning era in 1968 and, this medium is still in use in the present day learning environment. Educational television programmes are still in effect today and have contributed immensely to student learning. The size or portability of televisions, and probably the unavailability of an interactive function resulted in yet another milestone.
The introduction of computer-based learning in the year 1976 brought forth the online learning era. The progression made by computer-based learning has increasingly been supported by different technologies which are constantly refined to bring about innovative ways of teaching and learning. To briefly familiarise one to the modern day ways of using online technology in learning, typical examples include; the usage of cell-phones and internet-enabled gadgets such as tablets to access learning resources from the internet. Online learning in itself has experienced several changes due to the vast pace of advancements in internet functionality and pedagogical research by learning designers and other experts. The advances are commonly termed Web 2.0 tools, which represent interaction enabling functionalities such as blogs, wikis and social networks. These tools have given birth to cyber-communities which are constantly interacting and networking on the internet.
As a signal of growth, there is an increasing number of universities and colleges which offer fully online courses to millions of students. To mention a few, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Moody Bible Institute and Colorado Christian University offer accredited degree programs that can be completed entirely online and structured around a student’s schedule. Moreover online learning qualifications are now considered to be just as credible and have the same value as traditional degrees, meaning that one can get an Ivy League education without physically sitting at an Ivy League institution such as Princeton, Harvard or Oxford University. For instance Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education offers an impressive range of over 90 online courses, which are transferable towards their Certificate of Higher Education.