The History of Online Colleges and Universities

Online education seemed to come out of nowhere, nearly booming overnight (perhaps reminiscent of the dot.com craze), but online colleges and universities have been in the works for nearly two decades, thriving on technological advances in the internet to increase their student-base.  The internet began to be something businesses took notice of in the 80s, and with that, many businesses used software through the internet to better train their employees, the very first hints at online education. 

As the 90s ended, internet and technology truly took off and online courses began to emerge at many traditional universities, offering students a way to take alternate classes from different schools that may not have been available at their school.  This process then began to expand from single classes to entire online colleges and universities, making it easier for students to earn degrees despite working full-time and raising a family.  Advances with digital streaming and online video availability helped spur on this transition to online education as it became a readily available option for many students throughout the country. 

Since this point, online education has expanded rapidly, as more and more technological advancements have occurred which have only led to greater developments within the online community.  Furthermore, we have now reached a point in which professors are specifically hired to teach online classes in which they are simply only video-taped for classes.  Additionally, larger businesses have begun to use online colleges as a way for their employees to earn additionally degrees which are beneficial for the company.  Many businesses now require this type of enrollment.  This is a beneficial option for many employees because instead of learning a packet of information on their own, they are in fact getting a new degree paid for by the company and are still able to prepare for class at home, rather than have late nights at the office. 

Multimedia and video conferencing have evolved to such a point that online colleges and universities now seem as ordinary as traditional schools.  Additionally, nearly every type of degree is now available online, meaning that students of any genre can now take online courses from any part of the country!  Furthermore, technology is always evolving, which leads us to wonder what the future of online education will hold. 

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