Thesis: Historical Context of Distance Education

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¶ … distance education offers a timeline of distance education that stresses a new and independent view of individuals. Most interestingly distance education began as a for profit industry associated with teaching those who could not travel to educational institutions, vocational subjects that would be of interest to them, even though they were often many miles from the instructor and received material only by mail. This shows in part the interest of opening education to a broader audience, including women and to those who were working to make a living. Women also benefited greatly from early distance education, and though the article does not mention it the contention that women would be damaged by the society of higher education, removing this environment from the equation by offering home coursework was a broadening of the role of women.

The stress of vocational education was clearly one that outpaced the more academic liberal arts and broader education standards of higher learning, making it clear that in many places in the world people were very interested in learning those things which they believed they would most likely use in their daily lives, rather than more theoretical curriculum of universities, and much of this came about prior to the full establishment of compulsory education for children which really was an ideology based on the idea that educating citizens, specifically about government and civic institutions would make better voters in the future. To a large degree the early distance education system, even when attached to the new land grant universities associated with the Morrill Act intended to bring education to the masses, not just to those who could afford the time and tuition it took to attend universities. Early demands by the culture, even prior to the passage of the Merrill Act were seeking to strengthen the nation by strengthening one of its greatest resources, agriculture and skilled trades, rather than simply continuing to support the elite through supporting university instruction of law and medicine, the two most common forms of university education.

It is also interesting that when the early distance education programs began they were dependant upon the newly established postal systems in every nation where they began. The postal systems and then the rail and road systems spread information as well as goods, a reality not necessarily thought of by many who study the history of these infrastructural systems, in the U.S. And elsewhere. Working people for the first time had greater access to fundamental educational pursuits that actually contributed to the ways they lived their lives.

The early 1930s trend to legitimize correspondence schools by attempting to set standards and codify them through the National Home School Study Council and other organizations also enlightens the reader. The trend to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Thesis:

APA Format

Historical Context of Distance Education.  (2008, September 21).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Historical Context of Distance Education."  21 September 2008.  Web.  17 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Historical Context of Distance Education."  September 21, 2008.  Accessed July 17, 2019.