It has been described as "a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both."
Modern distance education initially relied on the development of postal services in the 19th century ? Isaac Pitman taught shorthand in Great Britain via correspondence in the 1840s.
The University of London claims to be the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1858. This program is now known as the University of London International Programmes and includes Postgraduate, Undergraduate and Diploma degrees created by colleges such as the London School of Economics, Royal Holloway and Goldsmiths
In 1969 The Open University, which initially relied on radio and television broadcasts for much of its delivery.
The development of computers and the internet have made distance learning distribution easier and faster and have given rise to the 'virtual university, the entire educational offerings of which are conducted online.
In 1996 Jones International University was launched and claims to be the first fully online university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the US.
Today, there are many private and public, non-profit and for-profit institutions worldwide offering distance education courses from the most basic instruction through to the highest levels of degree and doctoral programs.
Prof.Dr NIZEYIMANA Jean Baptiste