Then & Now

Distance Learning

Sasha Mitelman
Neil Rogers

Stanford has a long history of using innovative technologies to deliver coursework. In 1969, it employed microwave television to broadcast graduate engineering courses to technology professionals in the Silicon Valley. In 1996, Stanford used the Internet for the first time to deliver coursework and nine years later partnered with iTunes U
 to provide the public with access to courses and lectures. In 2011, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement kicked off with three courses that drew roughly 300,000 participants. In less than two years, 1.9 million people worldwide signed up for Stanford Online courses. Today, the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) coordinates online learning efforts across the university. Left: The control room of the Hewlett-Packard Auditorium in the Gates Building with facilities for distance learning in 1997. Right: VPTL Operations Manager Wes Choy demonstrates the light board, which allows an instructor to project graphics onto the screen and to be seen while writing lesson material on screen. The light board was used in 2015 in John Taylor’s ECON 1V summer session and Lisa Hwang’s ENGR 20.