History of Virtual Learning Environments in The 1990s - 1990s - 1998


  • On 11 August 1998 Indiana University, IUPUI Campus, issued a press release “Prototype for Web-based Teaching and Learning Environment to be Tested at IUPUI This Year“ http://web.archive.org/web/19990222013218/www.weblab.iupui.edu/projects/oncourseNR.html
  • Ucompass.com is founded on 23 July 1998 and begins marketing its Educator Course Management System.
  • CourseWork, a web-based, problem set manager, was developed by the at Stanford University's Learning Lab. It formed the core of the CourseWork CMS. This version supported authoring, distribution, completion, and reviewing of automatically graded assignments by students and instructors.
  • Humboldt State University's Courseware Development Center] builds the ExamMaker application for online testing. ExamMaker supports banks of questions, which may include audio and/or video segments, that may be true/false, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, or essay. Essay questions are emailed to the teacher for grading, then sent back to ExamMaker to display the graded essays to the students. ExamMaker grades all other types of questions and provides the student immediate feedback as soon as the exam is completed, including an explanation of the correct answers, and automatically posts the grade. Full Description:ASSURED STUDENT ACCESS TO COMPUTING AND THE NETWORK
  • On 1 June 1998, a paper describing a web based Peer Review and Assessment tool developed by the Courseware Development Center at Humboldt State University was presented at the 1998 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition: Engineering Education Contributing to U.S. Competitiveness. The Peer Review was a set of web forms that enabled students to upload documents, review each other's work, and for an instructor to review and grade student's uploaded work. More.
  • On 2 November 1998, the web-based learning management system ILIAS is gone online at University of Cologne. Within one year more than 30 courses have been created and published for blended learning in economics, business administration and social sciences.
  • In the spring of 1998 TeleTOP, a set of fill-in forms on top of Lotus Domino, saw the light at Twente University, The Netherlands. It was not the first ELO that was used there, but it was the first one where teachers themselves could create a course without any ICT knowledge. Core of this product was and is the central task-scheme ("The Roster"), where the teacher could create a row of activities for each week. A demo course has been available online since 1998. You still can login with UN: docent.test and PW: docent.test. Unfortunately this is an old version of TeleTOP. Since 1998 the look and feel has completely changed and the ELO has a lot more functionalities. Modules like Digital Portfolio and Assessment Centre have been developed to measure the pupils’ competence and developments. Open standards such as SCORM, IEE-LOM, Dublin Core and AICC where implemented from the start for reuse and research possibilities. Further information can be found on http://web.archive.org/web/20090502090958/http://www.teletop.nl/en/
  • On 5/14/98, Indiana University ARTI receives a "Disclosure of Invention" for the Oncourse (case #9853) describing the invention of a comprehensive course management system by Ali Jafari and his WebLab developers, a comprehensive CMS system with message board, announcement, chat, syllabus, etc. including the dynamic method of creating courses for students and faculty based on the data from the campus SIS system.
  • The Cisco Networking Academy Management System (CNAMS) is released to facilitate 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. Cisco Networking Academy Program.
  • The Advanced Information Technology Lab at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis piloted Oncourse. (A description of the initial software was published in 1999 in The Journal.)
  • Nicenet Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA2) is launched with web-based conferencing, personal messaging, document sharing, scheduling and link/resource sharing to a variety of learning environments. See their website
  • DiscoverWare, Inc.] builds and begins to deploy its "Nova" course management system, involving a client/server architecture to deploy rich interactive content in a desktop application, and storing/sharing information on content, users, courses, and quizzes on a central server. This was an adaptive LMS, in that quizzes were generated based on the user's progress through the content, and courses were generated based on the user's responses to a quiz. The playback engine evolved a browser-based version that was SCORM Level 2 Compliant, enabling deployment of DiscoverWare content in third-party LMS such as Pathware.
  • Public release of EDUCOM/NLII Instructional Management Systems Specifications Document Version 0.5 (29 April 1998), produced by an IMS Technical Team including Steve Griffin (COLLEGIS Research Institute), Andy Doyle (International Thomson Publishers), Bob Alcorn (Blackboard), Brad Cox (George Mason University), Frank Farance (Farance Inc), John Barkley (NIST), Ken Schweller (Buena Vista University), Kirsten Boehner (COLLEGIS Research Institute), Mike Pettit (Blackboard), Neal Nored (IBM), Tom Rhodes (NIST), Tom Wason (UNC), Udo Schuermann (Blackboard). Available as DOC from http://aitel.hist.no/prosjekter/ekstern/compnet/Closed/IMS/spec7.doc.
  • Blackboard LLC merges with CourseInfo LLC to form Blackboard Inc and changes the CourseInfo product name to Blackboard's CourseInfo.
  • Web Course in a Box, Version 3 is released in 1998. This version added a WhiteBoard feature as well as Student Portfolios, Access Tracking, Course Copying between instructors, and batch account administration.
  • The Instructional Technology Group at Yale University http://www.yale.edu puts the "Classes" system into production for Fall semester. (A copy of the original site is captured in the Internet Archive for Spring of '99)
  • WebTestr built and deployed by Nicholas Crosby at SIAST .
  • Fretwell-Downing Education Ltd (now part of Tribal Group plc) builds a pilot web-based learning environment for use in delivering accredited courses in internet skills (information retrieval, web design and online collaboration) in the UK. ( Partial details, dated 30/12/1997.) The learning environment is a contribution to the work of the Living IT consortium, which includes The Sheffield College and Manchester College or Arts and Technology as well as Fretwell-Downing Education Ltd, and which had been delivering these courses since 1997. (In 1999, the company demonstrates this learning environment as part of its successful tender to build a larger, more sophisticated learning environment for learndirect, which was subsequently used by hundreds of thousands of learners in England and Wales.)
  • Teemu Leinonen and Hanni Muukkonen publish a paper on Future Learning Environment - Innovative Methods and Applications for Collaborative Learning.
  • Future Learning Environment (FLE) reserarch and development project releases the first version of FLE software. The FLE software is afterwards known as Fle3.
  • The survey article "Embedding computer conferencing in university teaching" (Mason and Bacsich) is published in Computers and Education, Volume 30, Number 3, April 1998, pp. 249–258. This describes experiences with using CoSy and FirstClass in online learning at the Open University in the period up to 1995. (Article available online e.g. via Ingenta.)
  • CU Online, the virtual campus of the University of Colorado, is described in an online article by Terri Taylor Straut first presented in 1997 at the FLISH97 conference in Sheffield, UK. CU Online uses the LMS from Real Education, later eCollege.com.
  • Virtual U, "a Web Based Environment Customised to Support Collaborative Learning and Knowledge Building", is described in an online article by Linda Harasim, Tom Calvert and others also first presented at FLISH97. The paper makes it clear that development of Virtual-U has been under way since 1994.
  • CTLSilhouette (Gary Brown Randy Lagier, Peg Collins, Josh Yeidel, Greg Turner & Lori Eveleth-Baker). an online survey and automated response generator. Allows authors to use create custom question types in additional to questions made by wizard. Lacks scoring and feedback features of online test/quiz. CTLSilhouette powers The TLT Group's Flashlight Online system, which includes the Flashlight Current Student Inventory item bank, a useful tool for evaluations of Virtual Learning Environments and scholarship of teaching and learning by instructors.
  • NextEd founded by its CEO Terry Hilsberg in 1998 to deliver global e-learning from bases in Hong Kong and Australia. Its first prominent university client/partner was the University of Southern Queensland, a major Australian distance learning provider.
  • Paul McKey joins NextEd as a foundation employee and CTO and begins development of an online learning management system first described in his Masters Thesis "The Development of the On-line Educational Institute", SCU, Australia, July 1996, http://www.redbean.com.au/articles/files/masters/06-Chapter6.html
  • In September 1998 the Computer Science department at RMIT University, Australia began delivering its online courses with . Over 10,000 Open University Australia] student enrollments used Serf’s comprehensive LMS features until 2004 when RMIT’s corporate Blackboard was phased in. During this period, Serf versions 1 to 3 hosted 13 ugrad CS courses, 5 pgrad CS courses and 3 continuously repeating, short IT courses.
  • September 1998: The EU SCHEMA project (the web site is still extant at http://www.schema.stir.ac.uk/ - full marks to Stirling University) releases via the Oulu team a "State of the art" review specification on CMC techniques applicable to open and distance learning (Deliverable D5.1). This includes a feature and architectural comparison of FirstClass, LearningSpace, TopClass and WebCT. It also describes a desired system Proto. There is a full discussion of roles. The diagrams are particularly informative. .
  • In May 1998, Interlynx Multimedia, Inc. of Toronto, received a contract to develop a learning management system for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The LMS, designed by Dr. Gary Woodill and Dr. Karen Anderson was built in Microsoft ASP. It included a rudimentary authoring system that allowed HTML pages and multiple choice questions to be built and posted online. The generic code for this LMS became the PROFIS LMS, which was then licenced to several other corporations. Later Operitel Corporation of Peterborough acquired the rights to this LMS which was then renamed LearnFlex. Operitel was sold to Open Text in 2012, and Gary Woodill is now CEO of i5 Research.
  • The Aircraft Industry CBT Committee (AICC) certifies web-based Pathware 3 as its "First Instructional Management Product".
  • Asymetrix (later becoming Click2Learn and then SumTotal) buys Meliora Systems' software for learning management called Ingenium, and merges it with its own learning management product, Toolbook II Librarian, a training management and administration system used with an Oracle, MS SQL Server or other ODBC database. Authoring is done either through Asymetrix' Toolbook II Instructor, Toolbook II Assistant, or through Asymetrix IconAuthor.
  • In October 1998, CoursePackets.com is founded by Alan Blake, a University of Texas at Austin student, with the goal of posting course packs online.
  • By the end of 1998, Indiana University's Oncourse system had grown to support some 9,000 students.
  • December 1998 the School of Pharmacy at the University of Strathclyde launch their online learning environment SPIDER
  • WebDAV gave a standard method of uploading documents. It was already described in publications in 1998. E.g. WEBDAV: IETF Standard for Collaborative Authoring on the Web IEEE Internet Computing, September/October 1998, pages 34–40 and Collaborative Authoring on the Web: Introducing WebDAV] Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science, Vol. 25, No. 1, October/November 1998, pages 25–29.
  • By May 1998, a number of course management systems and collaborative environments were available. These systems included CyberProf, a course management system from the University of Illinois; Mallard 3.0, a course management system from the University of Illinois; netLearningPlace, a collaborative environment for teaching and learning; PlaceWare, software for live presentations; POLIS, a system from the University of Arizona; The Learning Manager (TLM), from Campus America, Inc.; Toolbox II from Asymetrix Corporation; TopClass, from WBT Systems; Virtual Classroom Interface (VCI), from the University of Illinois; Virtual Object Interactive Classroom Environment (VOICE), a graphic MOO; Web Course in a Box, developed at Virginia Commonwealth University; WebCT, from the University of British Columbia; Web Instructional Services Headquarters (WISH), from Penn State University; and Web Lecture System (WLS), a web lecturing system from North Carolina State University.(Source: Distance Learning Environments Feature List, University of Iowa, last updated 13 May 1998). Of these, WebCT is by far the most widely used with licenses at roughly 500 institutions by year end.

Read more about this topic:  History Of Virtual Learning Environments In The 1990s, 1990s

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