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nothing new under the sun…

November 1, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

“Thanks to the Web, I have found that the earliest example of open and flexible distance learning was the Chinese Civil Service examinations, which were established in 605AD and lasted for 1400 years.

Embodying the Confucian principle of openness to class mobility, these were open to even the humblest peasant (but alas, not women!) and local officials would select potential candidates unable to attend formal institutions, invite them to developing calligraphic and literary skills and study the Confucian classics and then, when they felt ready, present themselves for examination in the capital, which required them to apply their scholarly interpretations of Confucianism to matters of state. The oldest graduate was 98!

Thanks to the Internet, I also once found myself working at the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Japan while also teaching masters students in the US, Canada, Mexico and Algeria online for Canada’s Athabasca University. Such is globalization!”

Colin Latchem, distance educator and author

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