The UVA distance education program (CGEP) began in 1983 with a live single point-to-point broadcast from UVA to the Cabell Library at VCU – a “receive site.” Students who could not attend a class session would be sent a VHS tape via postal mail to review the missed material. Homework and tests were handled by paper and postal mail as well.
By the fall of 1986, however, fast changes were already taking place as our courses were now offered via satellite. One receive site turned into 22. Students could participate at VCU, from other locations around Virginia, and in a few places out of the state. In the 1990s, the satellite signal changed from analog to digital, and then we adopted new technologies, leaving satellite behind completely and moving to digital video-conferencing.
In 2011, courses were delivered live using two-way web-conferencing technology, and by the spring of 2012, live, interactive web-conferencing had become our primary mode of course delivery. Gone are the days of receive sites and VHS tape shipments.
Today, students can take a class, submit homework, review course materials and lectures, and earn their degree, from wherever they have Internet access – within the state or on the other side of the globe.