The Evolution of Education in America

Topics: Distance education, Educational technology, Virtual learning environment Pages: 6 (2055 words) Published: June 20, 2013
The Evolution of Education in America

Introduction
Throughout the United States, students are enrolling in colleges and universities at records numbers. This trend is occurring in spite of the hard to swallow increases in tuition and fees by institutions of higher learning. For example, attending a two-year college in 1980 would cost a low-income family 6% of their income; in 2000, the number was 12%. Those attending four-year schools in the same period spent 13% in 1980 and 25% in 2000 (Higher Education , 2012). The cause of the increase has been contributed to higher education cost, an increase in technology, and other educationally related expenses. As a result, it has become more and more difficult for those in middle and lower-income families to attend college. The persistent increases in tuition, along with government assistance targeting certain demographics and family income not keeping pace, has made it difficult for some to earn a college degree. Therefore, as America opens her classrooms in search for her next great scientist or mathematician, she systematically locks the doors of opportunity to a large portion of her population. In this article, we will explore the business of Online Education. In consideration of the Online Education industry, we will discuss the cost of online versus traditional education, the financial challenges that face the American public and some of the pros and cons of online versus traditional schooling. We’ll sum up the conversation with a look to the future and how technology may effect the world’s educational system as a whole. History of Distance Learning

“The history of distance education could be tracked back to the early 1700s in the form of correspondence education, but technology-based distance education might be best linked to the introduction of audiovisual devices into the schools in the early 1900s” (Jeffries, 2012). Technological advances throughout the course of the 1900’s have made distance education, as we know it today, possible. Distance education has taken many forms, from the introduction of slides and motion pictures to the early televisions of the 19030’s. The 1960’s saw one of the first broadcasts of instructional programming when the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction launched its “flying classroom” to school systems, the general public and students across five states (Jeffries, 2012). In 1972 the Carnegie Commission wrote, “by the year 2000, more than 80 percent of off-campus and 10 to 20 percent of on-campus instruction would take place through telecommunications” (Education, 1972). A visionary statement indeed. Today, institutions of higher education, business, and the military use distance education for education and training. Online or distance education has grown to become a billion dollar industry that guarantees students a quality education at a fraction of the cost of traditional “brick and mortar” institutions. Educational Support

Successdegrees.com compares the cost of traditional and online degrees. Their website suggests the cost of an online education and an education at a mid-sized “brick and mortar” school to be almost exactly the same. So where does the difference come in? It is clearly in the educationally related expenses. By attending online schools, students are not required to pay for food, dorm rooms, transportation and in many cases, paper bound books. Learners are also given more flexibility when they complete degrees (without paying for extra semesters) and enrolling in school on a per-course basis. The latter could be welcomed news for families who will find difficulty paying an average of $21,189 per year to send their child to a four-year school. “Between 1999–2000 and 2009–10, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 37 percent, and prices at private institutions rose 25 percent, after adjustment for inflation.”

- Higher Education, 2012

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Bibliography: Chaffee, J. (2012). Thinking Critically (TENTH EDITION ed.). Boston, MS: Wadsworth.
Education, C. C. (1972). The Fourth Revolution: Instructional Technology in Higher
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Jeffries, M. (2012).  Research in Distance Education. Retrieved 02 10, 2012, from MA
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