With the advent of the Internet, numerous tasks no longer require the physical presence of the individual. This movement includes education. Distance education is one such emerging area in which the student is able to remotely log-on to a web portal, receive instruction, complete assignments, and interact with other students without having to sit in a classroom. Distance education allows students to work at their own pace, around their schedules, and still receive a degree.
Distance education actually began in the 19th century. Correspondence courses and night schools allowed individuals the chance to learn and earn degrees without the need to sit in a traditional classroom. In the 1970s, Coastline Community College began producing telecourses, combining television broadcasts with computer-aided instruction. In many ways, this was the immediate precursor to modern distance education, demonstrating the ability of modern technology to reach beyond the classroom.
Thanks to the Internet, virtual universities can deliver an entire curriculum online. Indeed, distance education reaches down into the compulsory education as well, with many Cyber Charter schools existing to provide homeschooling alternatives for parents across the country. Flexible scheduling allows students to learn at their own pace, while still receiving a standard of education that is commensurate with traditional schooling. Distance education is the reality of modern education.