Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Education and International Services

First Advisor

Paul Brantley

Second Advisor

Larry Burton

Third Advisor

Randy Siebold


Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to overview the development of distance learning in higher education both in the United States and around the world, stressing the relationship between correspondence study and electronic delivery methods as a basis for understanding and fostering different distance-learning methodologies.

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study resides in the fact that the current technological revolution is challenging all traditional forms of higher education and pointing to distance learning as the great phenomenon of today’s educational world. If distance education has played a secondary role in higher education so far, it is now in the center of the arena (Ehrmann, 1999).


This study explored three main sources of information: Written historical documents such as books and journal articles, bulletins and brochures of some specific institutions, and an online search on the Web site of each mega-university around the world, stressing the historical background that shaped their structure.

Findings and Conclusions

In this study I came to three basic conclusions: First, I concluded that there is a close relationship between the selection of instructional delivery systems and the university’s tradition. Second, although correspondence is not the main instructional media in distance education today, it is still widely used to support electronic media, and still constitutes the main media in some of the mega-universities. Finally, the study found that the struggle for credibility is not easier now than it was before. There is still strong prejudice to face.

Subject Area

Distance education; Education, Higher--Computer-assisted instruction

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.