Education & Technology of the 90s 10

Check out Chris Rabideau’s post to learn about education technology & distance learning in the 1980s.


As I think back, the 1990s were not all about Tamagotchis, platform shoes, and ying yangs.  The ’90s were a time period where great strides in education and technology were made.  Before the ’90s, distance learning occurred via mail, radio, and television.  Everything changed when the internet became available to the public in 1991.  With the rise of the internet, technology also rose by making computers and laptops more available and affordable to consumers.  The following events emerged as the internet and technology grew rapidly:

    • 1994 – CALCampus offered real time instruction and interaction over the internet (Hickey).  Before the internet, the student (distance learner) and the teacher were never connected virtually.  All correspondence took place via telephone or mail.
    • 1997 – The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) was created as “a peer-reviewed journal that provided a dedicated space for academic research focused solely on online education” (Hickey). JALN is still around today but under the name of Online Learning.  The journal accepts professional papers around the topics of online education.
    • 1999 – Jones International University (JIU), even though opened in 1993, became the first accredited online university in 1999.  JIU provided students with degrees for 22 years.  It recently shut down operations due to low enrollment in 2015.

The terms distance education and education technology are very closely related.  There is a positive correlation between technology and distance learning.  As technology made leaps and bounds improvements in the ’90s, the number of students enrolled in online courses also skyrocketed. Think about how many courses are offered online today.   Students no longer have to be in classrooms to earn a degree.  

Want to know how education technology and distance learning emerged in the 21st century, check out Jennifer Owen’s post.  

Bryant, M. (2011, August 06). 20 years ago today, the World Wide Web was born – TNW Insider. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

Hickey, R. (2014, December 04). The history of online education. Retrieved September 10, 2016, from

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “Education & Technology of the 90s

      • Jennifer Owens

        There were assigned readings and a proctored test. The proctor was my mother. She would seal up my exam and mail it back to be graded. The next week I would get my graded test back in the mail along with the next lesson. It just about killed me waiting so long to get my grade. It was my first experience with self-paced learning and I absolutely loved it! What was your first experience with self-paced learning?

        • mmprendergast Post author

          I responded to Chris above about and online boaters safety course. I took this course at age 15 so I would be able to drive my family’s boat and jetskis legally. No boaters accidents to the day, so it must have taught be something 🙂

  • Chris Rabideau

    During the big world wide web boom in the 90’s I remember being able to take a web design course online. It was amazing to be able to learn on my own time, from my own home. I also recall the available to download music off of Napster (which isn’t around any longer). The Internet in the 90’s changed the way eLearning was demanded. It allowed for more educational resources to students. I also took an online certification class for Microsoft. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the job opportunities that I have encountered. Nice work Meg.

    • mmprendergast Post author

      Thanks! Prior to working on my current degree, I can’t say I took any educational courses online. However, I remember taking my boaters safety course online. I thought it was crazy getting certified to drive a boat at the age of 15 from an online safety course. I know the boaters safety course is still available to take today.

      Oh Napster.. I remember that as well 🙂 I think it might have gave my computer a few viruses as well.

  • Jennifer Owens

    I liked your comment that “Students no longer have to be in classrooms to earn a degree.” There are many reasons why people choose not to pursue a degree, but among them is that they live too far from the university, the classes are not offered at a convenient time, or they simply do not learn as well in a classroom setting. The one word that keeps coming to mind is “access.” Online learning allows people to learn at their own pace, at a time that is convenient for them, and they can learn from anywhere. There was a time in my life when I traveled two to three weeks a month for my job. I couldn’t have attended regular classroom sessions, but it was possible for me to participate in an online class from any hotel in the world. What a tremendous breakthrough in technology!

    • mmprendergast Post author

      It’s amazing to see how accessible education has become. Colorado even offers education to high school students completely online. I think about sports, clubs, and activities that high school students participate in today, and wonder how that would change if a high school education was completely online. I don’t think high schools will ever diminish, but for the self-motivated students an online high school might work best for them. They may even get through high school in less than four years!

  • Brent Wilson

    The Web was clearly the biggest thing in the 90s for me. I used a text-only browser (called Lynx) for a couple of years before pictures became common!
    Early in the Web’s history, I put up a bunch of my papers and writings for easy access. That made me popular (I was in the top 10 of searches for years!), and got me a lot of invitations to exotic places. The same principles applies now – build your career by making yourself visible and available to others!