Origins of Distance learning
Many believe that distance education dates back to at least as early as 1728. Apparently there was “an advertisement in the Boston Gazette from a teacher looking to teach a new method of Short Hand and was actively seeking students for lessons to be delivered weekly.
Modern distance education relied on the development of us postal service in the 19th century and has been abroad since Pitman taught shorthand in England via correspondence in the early 1840s.
University of London has commonly claimed that they were the first university to offer distance learning degrees thus establishing its external learning program in 1858.
United States however was led by the University of Chicago who developed the original concept of extended education. In essence creating a network of satellite colleges with the goal of expanding education to a wider community. Also in 1892 the President of the University of Chicago encouraged the concept of correspondence school courses to further promote education. That idea however was first put into practice by Columbia University in New York.