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Online Learning History

From MoodleDocs

Let's build up a complete history of key milestones in internet-based learning. Each event should be a heading that includes the date.

1960 - PLATO

PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) system developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The system remains in operation until the mid-1990s. Wikipedia background on PLATO.

1962 - R. Buckminster Fuller publishes Education Automation

Relevant quote: "Get the most comprehensive generalized computer setup with network connections to process the documentaries that your faculty and graduate-student teams will manufacture objectively from the subjective gleanings of your vast new world- and universe-ranging student probers." (p.85)

1969 - Founding of the Internet

US DoD commissions ARPANET. Hobbes Timeline

1971 - Ivan Illich's Learning Webs

Ivan Illich describes a computer-based education network in his book Deschooling Society

1979 - USENET begins

USENET established using UUCP between Duke and UNC by Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, and Steve Bellovin. All original groups were under net.* hierarchy. Hobbes Timeline

1982 - Computer Assisted Learning Center (CALC)

The Computer Assisted Learning Center (CALC) was founded in 1982 in Rindge, New Hampshire, as a small, offline computer-based, adult learning center. The center was based on the same premise as today: to provide affordable, quality instruction to individual learners through the use of computers. Origins of CALCampus

1984 - CSILE

CSILE, an educational knowledge media system, developed by Scardamalia & Bereiter at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. ... CSILE based on Zimmerman's (1989) self-regulated learning (CSILE term is intentional learning) and constructivists' view of learning. It emphasizes on building a classroom culture supportive of active knowledge construction that can extend individual intentional learning to the group level. The purpose is to make students think and reflect their thought process which provoke question asking and answering in a public forum. The ultimate goal is to get students involved in knowledge itself rather than improve one's mind, a World 3 view , which shifts from individual mastery learning to improve the quality of public collective knowledge (Scardamalia, et al., 1994). - from [1]

1987 - M/EU (Mind Extension University)

In 1987, Jones launched M/EU, a cable channel carrying varied educational programming... The advent of the Internet helped facilitate communication in these telecourses.[2]

1988 - Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee (AICC)

The AICC was formed out of a need for hardware standardization of CBT delivery platforms. Important milestones include: 1989 - Common platform guidelines for CBT delivery (AGR-002), 1992 - A DOS-based digital audio guideline (AGR-003) before the advent of window multimedia standards. The guideline enabled end-users to use one audio card for multiple vendors' CBT courseware. Due to the huge amount of CBT legacy courseware, this guideline is still in use., 1993 - A guideline for CMI (LMS) interoperability was created. This guideline (AGR-006) resulted in the CMI systems that are able to share data with LAN-based CBT courseware from multiple vendors. 1996 - A navigation icon guideline (AGR-009) to help standardize the student user controls in CBT. 1998 - The CMI (LMS) specifications were updated to include web-based CBT (or WBT). This new web-based guideline is called AGR-010. 1999 - The CMI (LMS) specifications were updated to include a JavaScript API interface. (This the basis of the SCORM runtime environment). 2005 - The Package Exchange Notification Services (PENS) guideline (AGR-011) allows Authoring/Content Management system to seemless integrate publishing with LMS systems. [3]

1992 - CAPA (Computer Assisted Personalized Approach)

The system was developed at Michigan State University and was first used in a small (92 student) physics class in the Fall of 1992.[4]

1994 - Lotus Development Corporation acquires the Human Interest Group

The system evolves into the Lotus Learning Management System and Lotus Virtual Classroom, now owned by IBM.

1994 - Open University Virtual Summer School


In August and September 1994, a Virtual Summer School (VSS) for Open University undergraduate course D309 Cognitive Psychology enabled students to attend an experimental version of summer school 'electronically', i.e. from their own homes using a computer and a modem. VSS students were able to participate in group discussions, run experiments, obtain one-to-one tuition, listen to lectures, ask questions, participate as subjects in experiments, conduct literature searches, browse original journal publications, work in project teams, undertake statistical analyses, prepare and submit nicely formatted individual or joint written work, prepare plenary session presentations, and even socialize and chit-chat, all without ever leaving their homes.

1994/95 -

CALCampus was the first to develop and implement the concept of a totally online-based school through which administration, real-time classroom instruction, and materials were provided, originating with the QuantumLink campus. This was a significant departure from earlier methods of distance education because no longer was the individual distance learner isolated from the teacher and from classmates. Origins of CALCampus

1995 - Mallard web-based course management system developed at the University of Illinois

Mallard overview. See also CyberProf[6] (also copyrighted in 1995 from University of Illinois)

1995 - BSCW 1.0

Papers and timeline are here

1995 - Nicenet ICA launched to the public

1995/6 - WOLF / Learnwise

WOLF (Wolverhampton Online Learning Framework)[7] developed at Wolverhampton University's DELTA institute under the guidance of Stephen Molyneux. [8] This went on to be released commercially by Granada Learning as Learnwise [9]

1996 - TELSI Pro developed

TELSI (Telematic Environment for Language Simulations) was a VLE developed at the University of Oulu in Finland. Development was headed by Eric Rouselle and was continued into present day Discendum Optima.

1997 - CourseInfo releases ILN

Mid 1997 CourseInfo founded by Dan Cane and Stephen Gilfus.

The "Interactive Learning Network" ILN 1.5, was released and installed at several academic institutions including Cornell University, Yale Medical School and University of Pittsburgh. The ILN was the first e-learning system of it's kind to leverage and install on top of a relational database MySqL.

1997 - Manhattan Virtual Classroom in use

Manhattan was in use at this time at Western New England College, and included handouts, assignments, forums etc

1997 (about) - Pioneer developed by MEDC (University of Paisley)

Pioneer was an online learning environment developed initially for colleges in Scotland. Pioneer was web-based and featured:

online course materials (published by the lecturers themselves) integral email to allow communications between students and tutors forum tools chat tools timeatable

The main driver for Pioneer was Jackie Galbraith.

When MEDC was closed, the Pioneer development team moved to SCET in 1998 taking Pioneer with them when it became SCETPioneer.

SCETPioneer was used by Glasgow Colleges and a number of other colleges in Scotland.

SCET merged with the SCCC and became Learning and Teaching Scotland

1997 - Deployment of Nathan Bodington VLE

Development of Nathan Bodington VLE at Leeds University begins from the Bionet TLTP project

History of Bodington

Dates of Bodington development appear here

1997 - WebCT 1.0 was released

Powerpoint presentation

1997 - Blackboard was founded


1998 - Martin Dougiamas begins preliminary work on Moodle

This paper contains some early thoughts

1998 - Blackboard released its first software product

An online learning application, Blackboard's CourseInfo, developed at Cornell University by the CourseInfo team.[11]

1998 - Nicenet ICA2 is launched

Nicenet provides Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA2) with web-based conferencing, personal messaging, document sharing, scheduling and link/resource sharing to a variety of learning environments.

1998 - CNAMS 1.0 is released

The Cisco Networking Academy Management System (CNAMS) is released to faciliate communication and course management of the largest blended learning initiative of its time, the Cisco Networking Academy. It includes tools to maintain rosters, gradebooks, forums, as well as a scalable, robust assessment engine.


2000 - Claroline project was initiated

The Claroline project was initiated in 2000 at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) by Thomas De Praetere and was financially supported by the Louvain Foundation.

dates and credits

2000 - Manhattan 1.0 is released

In October of 2000, Manhattan Virtual Campus was released in its entirety on the Internet for free under the GNU General Public License.

2001, November - runs Moodle

See this announcement

2002 Multiple Events

  • August - Moodle 1.0 is released
  • Summer - Seque Project releases first version of its elearning software
  • September - Site@School released

2004, January - Sakai Project is formed from several college and university projects

2006, June - Moodle 1.6 is released

2006, July 26 - Blackboard announces Patent 6,988,138

This patent, filed on June 30, 2000 (with pending and related applications dating as early as June 1999) and issued on January 17, 2006, contains very extensive claims pertaining to every aspect of online course delivery. The breadth of this patent would seemingly give Blackboard the ability to enforce this intellectual property against other producers of online course delivery systems.

2008, March - USPTO Invalidates Blackboard's Patent 6,988,138

The USPTO invalidates Blackboard's Patent 6,988,138 based on others having used similar technology at the time Blackboard claimed to have invented it. Blackboard vows to appeal but in April 2008 decides to not fight the decision.

See Also CALI History in this

Foundations of Distance Education

1997 Conference: Trends & Issues in Online Instruction mentions: Unix courses @ Nova University early 70s and National Technological University (NTU)