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E-Learning Glossary

The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.

Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.

Apple Quick Time
QuickTime is an extensible proprietary multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc., capable of handling various formats of digital video, picture, sound, panoramic images, and interactivity.

Educational assessment is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.

Homework, or homework assignment, refers to tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed mostly outside of class, and derives its name from the fact that most students do the majority of such work at home.

Asynchronous Communication
A method of sending and receiving information that does not occur in real time. That is to say, you may post a message or web page in the morning and someone can view your posting several hours/days/years later. By making your information available asynchronously, you allow others to view it at their convenience.

Asynchronous Learning
Interaction between an instructor and students that occurs during unscheduled time periods and is usually mediated through an electronic discussion board that allows participants to post and respond to ideas, comments, and/or opinions at different times. (see also synchronous learning )

A student who attends a course but does not take it for credit.

An avatar is a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego, whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) or a one-dimensional username used on Internet forums and other communities, or a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs. (computing)

In information technology, a backup or the process of backing up refers to making copies of data so that these additional copies may be used to restore the original after a data loss event. These additional copies are typically called "backups."

In computer networking and computer science, bandwidth, network bandwidth, data bandwidth or digital bandwidth, is a bit rate measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bits/second or multiples of it (kilobits/s, megabits/s etc).

Note that in textbooks on data transmission, digital communications, wireless communications, electronics, etc, bandwidth refers to analog signal bandwidth measured in hertz - the original meaning of the term. Some computer networking authors prefer less ambiguous terms such as bit rate, channel capacity and throughput rather than bandwidth in bit/s, to avoid this confusion.

Binary Digit - The smallest unit of data used in computing. Its value is either zero or one.

Blackboard Learning System
A popular course management system founded in 1997 by Matthew Pittinsky and Michael Chasen, and a student-faculty team at Cornell University. Blackboard became the largest commercial course management system after acquiring its main rival, WebCT, in 2005. URL: (See Course Management System)

Blended Learning
A class that is conducted both by face-to-face classroom meetings and distance learning activities.

A blog (a contraction of the term "web log") is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Blogger - a person who keeps and updates a blog

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that lets you connect computers, mobile phones, and handheld devices to each other and to the Internet. Bluetooth technology eliminates the need for the cables that connect devices together. Bluetooth-enabled devices connect wirelessly within a 10 m range.

Bookmark, in computing world, is a facility for marking a specific place in electronic documentation to enable easy return to it. It is used in several types of software, including PDF files, electronic help files and tutorials within a program or online.

To initiate an automated routine that clears the memory, loads the operating system, and prepares the computer for use. After a system crash or lockup occurs, you usually must boot the computer again, or reboot, by pressing the Reset button or a key comibination CTRL+Alt+Delete (IBM PCs and compatibles) or CTRL+Command+Start (Macintoshes) (a warm boot).

The process of starting the computer (cold boot) or restarting (warm boot).

In computing, booting (also known as "booting up") is a bootstrapping process that starts operating systems when the user turns on a computer system. A boot sequence is the initial set of operations that the computer performs when power is switched on.

Broadcast Television
The transmission of audio and full motion video signals over the standard UHF and VHF analog television and digital television channels. Broadcast television refers to terrestrial transmission and does not include satellite or online transmission.

A radio wave communication service in which the transmissions are intended for direct reception by a wide spectrum of receivers such as the general public. Broadcast service may include voice, television, or data transmissions. (2) The one-way transmission of information (i.e., conventional radio and television).

Short for Web browser, a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox. Both of these are graphical browsers, which means that they can display graphics as well as text. In addition, most modern browsers can present multimedia information, including sound and video, though they require plug-ins for some formats.

Acronym for "by-the-way."

Abbreviation for binary term, a unit of storage capable of holding a single character. On almost all modern computers, a byte is equal to 8 bits. Large amounts of memory are indicated in terms of kilobytes (1,024 bytes), megabytes (1,048,576 bytes), and gigabytes (1,073,741,824 bytes).

A place to temporarily store information. A Web browser cache stores the pages, graphics, sounds, and URLs of online places you visit on your hard drive so that everything doesn't have to be downloaded again. This process saves time. Depending on your browser, you can usually vary the size of your cache.

In computer science, a cache (pronounced cash) is a component that improves performance by transparently storing data such that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere. If requested data is contained in the cache (cache hit), this request can be served by simply reading the cache, which is comparably faster. Otherwise (cache miss), the data has to be recomputed or fetched from its original storage location, which is comparably slower. Hence, the more requests can be served from the cache the better the overall system performance is.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The component of a computer system that performs the basic operations (as processing data) of the system, that exchanges data with the system's memory or peripherals, and that manages the system's other components — called also processor.

Chat / Chat Room
A real time, synchronous conversation among computer users, similar to talking on the telephone. The most common method for chatting is to use an instant messenging client, such as MSN Instant Messenger, America Online Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger. There are also open-source messenging clients. New trends in instant messenging include audio or video chatting where the participants communicate through text, and audio/video.

The simplest remote personal response systems (clickers) resemble pared-down TV remote control units, and they work in the same way. Clickers use infrared or radio frequency technology to transmit and record student responses to questions. A small, portable receiving station is placed in the front of the class to collect and record student responses.

Computer-Based Training (CBT)
A type of education in which the student learns by executing special training programs on a computer. CBT is especially effective for training people to use computer applications because the CBT program can be integrated with the applications so that students can practice using the application as they learn.

Content On Demand (COD)
Content on Demand (COD) provides professionally designed and produced web-based courses to college and university faculty, giving you the ability to teach courses online immediately—with no additional course-building necessary! COD courses do not require textbooks and are built on Blackboard/WebCT, eCollege, and Angel course management systems.

A cookie, also known as a web cookie, browser cookie, and HTTP cookie, is a piece of text stored by a user's web browser. A cookie can be used for authentication, storing site preferences, shopping cart contents, the identifier for a server-based session, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data.

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

Copyright Clearance Center
An organization which offers licenses and permissions to reproduce copyrighted publications from around the world. At you can get instant permission to use and share content from the world's leading titles in science, technology, medicine, humanities, news, business, finance and more.

Course Design
Setting learning objectives, choosing media applications, planning evaluation and preparing instructional strategies in advance of student recruitment and development of course materials.

Course Management System (CMS)
An Internet-based software application that can be used for managing and distributing online resources and Web-based courses. Many content management systems offer a suite of tools, including enrollment management, student tracking, threaded discussion, chat, internal e-mail, file distribution and student web page creation.

Cyberspace is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communication takes place.[1] It is readily identified with the interconnected information technology required to achieve the wide range of system capabilities associated with the transport of communication and control products and services. Current technology integrates a number of capabilities (sensors, signals, connections, transmissions, processors, and controllers) sufficient to generate a virtual interactive experience accessible regardless of a geographic location.

The term "cyberspace" was coined by author William Gibson in his sci-fi novel Neuromancer (1984).

Delivery System
A means of organizing, presenting, or distributing instruction, typically employing a variety of media, methods and materials.

Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access that uses telephone lines. The user's computer or router uses an attached modem connected to a telephone line to dial into an Internet service provider's (ISP) node to establish a modem-to-modem link, which is then used to route Internet Protocol packets between the user's equipment and hosts.

Discussion Board
A list in which users can read, post, and reply to messages from other users who are members of the same discussion board.

Distance Education
A generic, all-inclusive term used to refer to the physical separation of teachers and learners. (2) [Distance Education, Distance Learning, Distributed Learning] The application of information technology (and infrastructure) to educational and student-related activities linking teachers and students in differing places. (3) The student and instructor are physically separated by any distance. All communications are mediated by some type of electronic means in real or delayed time. Location is of no significance. (4) The organizational framework and process of providing instruction at a distance. Distance education takes place when a teacher and student(s) are physically separated, and technology (i.e., audio, video, and computers, print) is used to bridge the instructional gap. (5) The organizational framework and process of providing instruction at a distance. Distance education takes place when a teacher and student(s) are physically separated, and technology (i.e., voice, video, data, or print) is used to bridge the instructional gap. (See Distance Learning.)

Distance Learning
A term for the physical separation of teachers and learners that has become popular in recent years, particularly in the United States. While used interchangeably with distance education, distance learning puts the emphasis on the learner and is especially appropriate when students take on greater responsibility for their learning as is frequently the case when doing so from a distance. (2) The desired outcome of distance education, i.e., learning at a distance. (See Distance Education.)

Distance Learning System
A combination of technologies that facilitate teaching and learning among persons not physically present in the same location. A DLS may include communications systems, presentation systems, and document sharing, for example.

Distance Site
A classroom connected remotely via a telecommunications systems to a site where a teacher is present. Source: Smaldino, et al. 2005

To transfer a file from another computer and store it in your machine's own memory.

e-Book (short for electronic book and also known as a digital book, ebook, and eBook)
An e-book, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary of English, is "an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a personal computer or hand-held device designed specifically for this purpose". E-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read e-books.

Education via the Internet, network, or standalone computer. e-learning is essentially the network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. e-learning refers to using electronic applications and processes to learn. e-learning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM.

e-learning was first called "Internet-Based training" then "Web-Based Training" Today you will still find these terms being used, along with variations of e-learning such as elearning, Elearning, and eLearning.

Electronic Classroom
A traditional classroom that has any number of active multimedia devices used to augment the learning experience.

Fair Use
Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.

Feedback is a very important part of learning. Feedback is the mechanism that lets the learners know whether they are on the right track. The return of information about the result of a process or activity; an evaluative response.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
The protocol for exchanging files over the Internet. FTP works in the same way as HTTP for transferring Web pages from a server to a user's browser and SMTP for transferring electronic mail across the Internet in that, like these technologies, FTP uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocols to enable data transfer.

FTP is most commonly used to download a file from a server using the Internet or to upload a file to a server (e.g., uploading a Web page file to a server).

A security tool that protects an individual computer or even an entire network from unauthorized attempts to access your system. Firewalls often protect e-mail servers from receiving spam. A firewall will also scan both incoming and outgoing communications for your personal information and prevent it from leaving your computer without permission.

Animation software from Macromedia which is designed specifically for the Web. A free Shockwave player is used for viewers to see the animation. A relatively simple way for instructors and designers to create mouse-over effects, scrolls of images or text, or animated graphics.

Flash Drive
A flash drive is a small, portable data storage device that plugs into the USB port of a computer (or another USB-equipped device, such as an MP3 player). Depending on your operating system, you can typically move data to and from the flash drive just as you would any other storage medium (e.g., a hard drive or floppy disk). Flash drives are popular because they can hold a considerable amount of data and are fast, reliable, and portable.

Gigabyte (GB)
1000 Megabytes.

The gigabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage.  Used when stating an amount of memory or disk space. The unit symbol for the gigabyte is GB or Gbyte, but not Gb (lower case b) which is typically used for the gigabit.

A hacker is someone who has the technical know-how to intentionally breach or "hack" into a computer system to steal confidential information or to cause damage to a computer or whole network. Hackers are often looking to find financial or personal information in order to steal money or identities. They are not nice people.

Unauthorized use, or attempts to circumvent or bypass the security mechanisms of an information system or network.

A handout is something given freely or distributed gratis (without compensation). It can refer to materials handed out for presentation purposes or to a charitable gift, among other things.

Handouts may also refer to short, usually single-page assignments distributed in high school or college.

Hard Copy
A hard copy is an item you can hold in your hand; when you're viewing an article on your screen, it's an electronic copy. When you print it, you have a hard copy.

In the computer world refers to the physical components, boards, peripherals, and equipment that make up a computer system.

Hard Wired connection
Hardwire networking is when you take your computer, no matter what type, and use an Ethernet cord into the router directly. While you do this, you can still connect devices wireless or even more hardwired. A hardwire connection gives you a more secure and stable connection. You can transfer data quicker via a hardwire connection than over a wireless one, because you are directly connected to the source from your ISP as opposed to relying on a wireless signal being transmitted from the router to your device.

Hybrid Course
A course that combines both distance learning and face-to-face components. Distance learning components, whether delivered via the internet or other media (video, audio, CD, print), synchronous or asynchronous, must comprise 50 percent or more of the course contact hours.

Hybrid Education
Hybrid instruction, a combination of online and traditional classroom instruction is the latest trend in higher education.

Hybrid instruction, or hybrid courses, refer to classes where there is a carefully planned blend of both traditional classroom instruction and online learning activities. In other words, hybrid classes combine the best of both styles of instruction. Students are able to make a meaningful connection with their instructors, as well as other students, and yet they are no longer required to travel to campus on a regular basis in order to attend courses because the majority of the coursework can be completed on the Internet.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is the predominant markup language for web pages. It provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items.

The first publicly available description of HTML was a document called HTML Tags, first mentioned on the Internet by Berners-Lee in late 1991.

A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that you can click on to jump to a new document or a new section within the current document. Hyperlinks are found in nearly all Web pages, allowing users to click their way from page to page. Text hyperlinks are often blue and underlined, but don't have to be. When you move the cursor over a hyperlink, whether it is text or an image, the arrow should change to a small hand pointing at the link. When you click it, a new page or place in the current page will open.

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
This is the standard language that computers use to communicate with each other on the Internet. Web addresses tend to start with http://www.

See also: HTTPS

If a Web address begins with https, it indicates that the Web site is equipped with an additional security layer. Typically, users must provide a password or other means of authentication to access the site. This is often used when making payments online or accessing classified information.

What to do: When asked to provide personal information online, such as a credit card purchase, always look for https in the URL before you do so. If it's not there, the site is not secure--and neither is your information.

Information Age
The current stage in societal development which began to emerge at the end of the twentieth century. This period is marked by the increased production, transmission, consumption of and reliance on information. Many consider the new role of information to be changing our social and economic behavior as dramatically as did the Industrial Revolution.

Instant Messaging (IM)
Exchanging text messages in real time between two or more people logged into a particular instant messaging (IM) service. Instant messaging is more interactive than e-mail because messages are sent immediately, whereas e-mail messages can be queued up in a mail server for seconds or minutes. However, there are no elaborate page layout options in instant messaging as there are with e-mail. The IM text box is short, and pressing the enter key often sends the text. IM is designed for fast text interaction.

Instant messaging services may also provide videophoning, file sharing, PC-to-PC voice calling and PC-to-regular-phone calling. Instant messaging has promoted IP telephony because the IM software makes it easy to switch from "text chat" to "voice chat," providing the user has a headset or microphone and speakers.

Instructional Design
Systematic instructional needs assessment, development, evaluation, implementation, and maintenance of materials and programs.

Instructional Designer
An instructional designer is an individual who develops the methodology and delivery systems for presenting course content.

Instructional Objective
A detailed explanation of what students should be able to do at the end of instruction.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)
A scheduled event conducted by an instructor, either in a classroom or through network delivery. Sometimes called leader-led training (LLT) or lecture/lab training (if the course includes hands-on lab exercises).

A private website or portal, secured or password-protected, specifically designed for workers in an organization to conduct internal business.

Internet Explorer (IE)
A software browser made by Microsoft, Inc. that enables users to view web pages.

Often confused with the World Wide Web, the term Internet actually refers to the combined collection of academic, commercial, and government networks connected over international telecommunication backbones and routed using IP addressing.

A consortium of universities and industry to support and promote advanced high-speed network applications.

Internet cafes - public establishments offering access to Internet-enabled terminals in addition to other services, such as food and drink. Also known as cybercafes and online cafes.

Internet Protocol (IP)
A set of standard communications and routing mechanisms that allow network users to upload files, send e-mail, and download Web pages.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company which offers Internet access (and possibly other services such as e-mail and webhosting) to individuals or companies through either temporary or dedicated connections.

IP Address
The unique identifier of a computer or other networked device that is attached to a network.

Apple's iPod is a small portable music player. Users can transfer songs to their iPod with their computer, iTunes, and the iPod software. Since the release of the Apple iPod in 2001, under the iPod brand Apple has released many variations of its product such as the iPod classic, iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, iPod Mini, iPod Nano and several spin-off devices such as the iPod Photo.

An object-oriented programming language that is platform independent. Developed by Sun, Java is widely used on the Web for both client and server processing. Modeled after C++ and designed to run in limited memory, Java added programming enhancements such as "garbage collection," which automatically frees unused memory.

When a Java program is launched from a Web page, the program is called a Java "applet." When run without the Web browser on a user's machine, it is a Java "application." When running in a Web server, it is a Java "servlet.",2542,t=Java&i=45557,00.asp

A popular scripting language that is widely supported in Web browsers and other Web tools. It adds interactive functions to HTML pages, which are otherwise static, since HTML is a display language, not a programming language. JavaScript is easier to use than Java, but not as powerful and deals mainly with the elements on the Web page. On the client, JavaScript is maintained as source code embedded into an HTML page. On the server, it is compiled into bytecode (intermediate language), similar to Java programs.

JavaScript evolved from Netscape's LiveScript language. First released with Navigator 2.0, it was made more compatible with Java. JavaScript does not have the programming overhead of Java, but can be used in conjunction with it. For example, a JavaScript script could be used to display a data entry form and validate the input, while a Java applet or Java servlet more thoroughly processes the information.

Kilobyte (KB)
A kilobyte is a unit of information or computer storage. A kilobyte is measured as either 1,024 bytes, or 1,000 bytes and symbolized by KB. 1,024 kilobytes equal one megabyte (MB); 1,024 megabytes equal one gigabyte (GB), and so on.

Any person engaged in a learning activity.

Learning Event
Learning Events are short intensive online events on a number of themes. They are led by an expert and include active work and discussions.

Learning Events include expert lectures, seminars and colloquia, workshops and small-group projects, and peer mentoring. They take place face-to-face in traditional classrooms, in distance learning centers, on project sites, at participants’ places of employment, and other locations.

Learning Objective
A detailed description that states the expected change in student/participant learning, how the change will be demonstrated, and the expected level of the change.

Library World Wide Web (Libwww)
The library (collection) of WWW-related program modules available for free use by anyone since the start of the Web. The purpose of Libwww is to serve as a testbed for protocol experiments.

Libwww has been part of the World Wide Web almost from the beginning. Thanks to CERN, Libwww was free from the very start and was released on a regular basis to the Web Community. Today, libwww is freely available under W3C Copyright  for use by anyone and has a growing OpenSource community helping maintaining it.

A login, logging in or logging on is the entering of identifier information into a system by a user in order to access that system (e.g., a computer or a website). It is an integral part of computer security procedures.

A login generally requires the user to enter two pieces of information, first a user name and then a password.

Signing out and exiting from a network server, Web server or other computer system.

Acronym for "Laughing Out Loud."

Lurkers are people who read, but do not participate in online communities, such as forums, discussion groups, blogs, and wikis. The one per cent rule-of-thumb suggests about one per cent of people contribute new content to an online community, another nine percent comment, and the rest lurk. However, this may not be a passive role because content read on forums may spark interaction elsewhere

Reading the postings in a discussion forum or on a listserv but not contributing to the discussion.

MALicious softWARE, including viruses, worms, Trojans, Denial of Service and other such attacks. Sometimes referred to as rogue programs.

Megabyte (MB)
1024 Kilobytes.

A course management system (CMS) - a free, Open Source software package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities.

The integrated presentation of text, graphics, videos, animation and sound.

The conventions of politeness recognised on Usenet and in mailing lists, such as not (cross-)posting to inappropriate groups and refraining from commercial advertising outside the biz groups.

The most important rule of netiquette is "Think before you post". If what you intend to post will not make a positive contribution to the newsgroup and be of interest to several readers, don't post it! Personal messages to one or two individuals should not be posted to newsgroups, use private e-mail instead.

Re-read and edit your posting carefully before you post. Check the spelling and grammar. Keep your lines to less than 70 characters.

Contraction of Internet etiquette, the etiquette guidelines for posting messages to online services, and particularly Internet newsgroups. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions (i.e., avoiding flames), but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. For example, netiquette advises users to use simple formats because complex formatting may not appear correctly for all readers. In most cases, netiquette is enforced by fellow users who will vociferously object if you break a rule of netiquette.

A network is a collection of terminals, computers, servers, and components which allows for the easy flow of data and use of resources between one another.

Online mode is an alternative to studying face-to-face. Online courses are delivered via the internet with online materials and interactive discussion groups. Online mode is often a hybrid with external mode.

Online Learning
Online learning is a term used to describe distance or correspondence courses that are offered over the Internet. The courses offered through online learning cover a wide range of subjects, audiences, and prices. This educational method is growing in popularity as a cost-effective method of providing access to education for a large population.

There are five main reasons behind the growth in online learning: access, efficiency, stability, cost, and technology. The explosion in online learning tools and the adoption of this method by both post-secondary educational institutions and high schools around the world speaks to the fundamental desire for more education. The expanded access to knowledge and information provides the groundwork necessary for many people to start new careers and gain new skills.

Operating System
Also known as an "OS", this is the software that communicates with computer hardware on the most basic level. Without an operating system, no software programs can run. The OS is what allocates memory, processes tasks, accesses disks and peripherials, and serves as the user interface.

Thanks to operating systems, like Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, developers can write code using a standard programming interface, or API. Without an operating system, programmers would have to write about ten times as much code to get the same results. Of course, some computer geniuses have to program the operating system itself.

A series of characters, usually without spaces, that is unique to a single username. A password is leveraged to determine the authenticity of a user.

Password Encryption
A method used to prevent sniffers from obtaining a password. Because packet sniffers can "see" anything in plaintext, pubic key cryptography is often used to protect passwords while in transit.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
P2P stands for "peer-to-peer network architecture." P2P is a type of computer network that allows individuals to exchange files using their computers, even if they are far apart. P2P is unique because it is not as dependent on large SERVERS as other computer networks are.

Plagiarism, as defined in the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work."

Within academia, plagiarism by students, professors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty or academic fraud, and offenders are subject to academic censure, up to and including expulsion.

In computing, a plug-in is a set of software components that adds specific capabilities to a larger software application. If supported, plug-ins enable customizing the functionality of an application. For example, plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers to play video, scan for viruses, and display new file types. The image on the right is a screenshot of common Firefox web browser plug-ins. The Adobe Acrobat, QuickTime, and Microsoft Office 2007 plug-ins add the capability to display new file types inside the Firefox web browser.

Podcast (or non-streamed webcast)
An audio or video file that is made available on the Internet for download and playback using a computer or a mobile device such as an Ipod.  Most podcasts have RSS capability, which can automate the download process for the user.

Web access point. A portal consists of web pages that act as a starting point for using the Web or web-based services. The word was first used to describe the sites of popular Internet access providers or search engines such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo! Later on, it was extended into the world of work, where a corporate portal or enterprise information portal acts as a starting point for employees or associates of an organization to access corporate information and applications. Portal software has become a distinct class of web server software that acts as a platform for deploying portals.

A preliminary test administered to determine a student's baseline knowledge or preparedness for an educational experience or course of study.

A person who supervises students as they take an examination, in the United States at the college/university level.

Proctored Examination
An examination whereby the learner is supervised by a proctor. In distance application, proctors could be teachers or administrators who are selected by the learner and approved by the distance education institution. An alternative is for the learner to travel to a regional site sponsored by the distance education institution to take the final examination.

Public Domain
Unprotected intellectual property that was never registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Intellectual property for which the copyright has run out. Anyone can use this material without permission.

SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model)
SCORM Shareable Content Object Reference Model Technical specifications that allow resources for learning to be shared between electronic applications.

Screen Reader
Computer software that speaks text on the screen. Often used by individuals who are visually impaired.

Second Life (SL)
Second Life is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003, and is accessible on the Internet. A free client program called the Viewer enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars.[1] Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another, or travel throughout the world (which residents refer to as "the grid").

Self Assessment
Self-assessment is the process of doing a systematic review of one’s own performance, usually for the purpose of improving future performance.  Such assessment may involve comparison with a standard, established criteria.

Self-Paced Learning
Teach-yourself method of learning that is initiated and directed by the learner.

Semantic Web
Semantic Web is a term coined by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) director Tim Berners-Lee. It describes methods and technologies to allow machines to understand the meaning - or "semantics" - of information on the World Wide Web.

A computer that has been designated to hold large amounts of information and stream it to users as required. A large amount of network bandwidth allows for many users to work simultaneously.

Social Networks
Are online communities where people meet, socialize, exchange digital files, etc. These sites are often used to launch new bands and to promote TV shows and movies through viral marketing. Some popular examples of social networks are Facebook and MySpace.

Computer software, or just software, is the collection of computer programs and related data that provide the instructions telling a computer what to do. The term was coined to contrast to the old term hardware (meaning physical devices). In contrast to hardware, software is intangible, meaning it "cannot be touched".

Software is also sometimes used in a more narrow sense, meaning application software only. Sometimes the term includes data that has not traditionally been associated with computers, such as film, tapes and records.

Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social networking spam, television advertising and file sharing network spam.

A telephone with a microphone and loudspeaker; can be used without picking up a handset; several people can participate in a call at the same time.

Computer programs that typically track your use and report this information to a remote location. The more malicious spyware programs may capture and report keystrokes, revealing passwords and personal information. Users are often tricked into installing spyware programs without theirknowledge. Spyware is sometimes referred to as adware.

Streaming Media
Video or audio transmitted over a network that users can begin to play immediately. Rather than having to wait for a large multimedia file to download all at once, streaming allows the user to see and hear that file as it is being downloaded to the user's computer. Typically a few seconds of data is sent ahead and buffered in case of network transmission delays. Examples: RealMedia, QuickTime, Windows Media.

A course guide providing required course readings, instructional calendar (testing schedule, assignment dates, school holidays, etc.), instructor contact information, grading parameters, description of student services offered college-wide or specifically by Distance Learning.

Synchronous Communication
A type of communication between two or more participants that occurs in "real time'. In other words, messages are sent, received, and responded to almost immediately. A face-to-face conversation is an example of synchronous communication.

Synchronous Learning
An on-line communication tool, instructor-to-student or student-to-student, that occurs at the same time but not necessarily in the same place; similar to electronic "chat".

System Requirements
The technological components required to run a software application, such as the operating system, hardware configuration, bandwidth, and processing power. Often two sets of system requirements are given for an item of software: a minimum set of requirements (which must be satisfied for the software to be usable at all) and a recommended set of requirements (for maximum performance).

This is the hardware or physical delivery system by which messages are transmitted and distributed. The technology is the pipeline through which messages are sent in a variety of media. Technologies include such things as radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, telephone companies, cable television companies, etc. Technology is different from media. The media, or messages, are in the form of books, graphics, video, or audio.

Technology-Based Training (TBT)
The delivery of content via Internet, LAN or WAN (Intranet or extranet), satellite broadcast, audio- or videotape, interactive TV, or CD-ROM. TBT encompasses both CBT (Computer Based Training) and WBT (Web Based Training).

Two or more people at two or more locations to visually and/or aurally interact with each other through the use of electronic communication. (2) A meeting of participants who are physically separated by any distance. They are joined electronically by means of one- or two-way satellite transmitted video, telephone, computers, fax, or combinations of all of these. It saves time and money. (3) Bringing people together by electronic means (audio, audiographics, video, and computer). Audio teleconferencing permits different individuals in the conference to speak to one another. Video teleconferencing can be one-way video with two-way audio or fully interactive with two-way video and two-way audio. Computer teleconferencing connects individuals' computers to a host computer for asynchronous conferencing (not in real time) or synchronous conferencing that connects computers and users to each other in real time. (4) Interactive communication among people at two or more locations using telecommunication. May involve audio, graphics, computer, or video communication.

Terabyte (TB)
One trillion bytes or 1000 GB.

Text Messaging
Used to transmit messages via electronic devices such as a cell phone. These short messages have generated a new vocabulary of abbreviations such as lol (lots of laughs).

Acronym for "Thanks in Advance."

Touch Pad
A small electronic pad or device that students use to respond to questions or express attitudes. It is composed of numbers and letters that are pressed by the student upon request. The instructor receives a numerical average of responses.

Transparent Technology
Technology that is easy to use, intuitive in nature, and not the focus of the learning experience. Also called seamless technology.

Trojan Horse
A malicious computer program that appears legitimate but masks a destructive file or application. Unlike viruses, Trojan horses usually do not replicate themselves but can still cause a great deal of damage, such as creating an entryway into your computer for malevolent users.

Ubiquitous Computing
Effect of increased use of wireless devices in everyday life, resulting in more virtual resources being utilized and accessed throughout one’s day.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
An electronic address that identifies a unique location of a data file on the World Wide Web.

(2) These are Internet or WWW addresses. A standard format for locating any type of resource on the Internet.

An example would look like this:

In a computer network, the process of transmitting a copy of a file from a computer to a central file server. (2) The process of transferring (copying) data files to a main host computer from a smaller computer. It is the opposite of download. (3) The transfer of copies of a program or file from the user's own terminal to a remote database or other computer.

Video Conference
A video conference allows participants in various locations to participate in a meeting, a teaching lesson, or a community discussion by using two-way motion media telecommunications so that most participants can see each other. Each participating site must have both transmission and receiving capacity for audio and video.

The use of analog or digital video technology to connect multiple parties simultaneously in a conference where participants can see and hear each other. Point-to-point videoconferencing refers to a two-party conference. Multipoint videoconferencing refers to a multiple (more than two) party conference. (2) Similar in concept to audio conferencing but employs both voice and motion-video communications. Participants are able to see participants at other locations if allowed by the chairperson or instructor. Uses digital transmission systems such as ISDN, switched 56 services, or dedicated channels such as DS-3 and fiber optics. (3) The practice of connecting people at two or more locations through analog or digital video transmission. Videoconferencing stations can be connected in point-to-point or multipoint configurations. (4) An interactive one- or two-way video and audio conference among three or more designated sites. Conferences can be conducted via telephone lines (compressed) or satellite. (5) Conducting a conference between two or more computers at different locations by the use of networks to transmit and receive audio and video data. (6) A meeting, instructional session, or conversation between people at different locations relying on video technology as the primary communication link.

Virtual Education
Virtual Education refers to instruction in a learning environment where teacher and student are separated by time or space, or both, and the teacher provides course content through course management applications, multimedia resources, the Internet, videoconferencing, etc. Students receive the content and communicate with the teacher via the same technologies.

Virtual education is a term describing online education using the Internet. This term is primarily used in higher education where so-called Virtual Universities have been established.

Virtual Courses (online courses)
Virtual Courses are courses delivered on the Internet. "Virtual" is used here to characterize the fact that the course is not taught in a classroom face-to-face but through some substitute mode that can be associated with classroom teaching. That means people do not have to go to the real class to learn.

A virtual program (or a virtual course of studies) is a study program in which all courses or at least a significant portion of the courses are virtual courses.

A software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the same computer; "a true virus cannot spread to another computer without human assistance"

Voice Recognition
The technology by which sounds, words or phrases spoken by humans are converted into electrical signals, and these signals are transformed into coding patterns that can be identified by a computer. Based on this identification, the computer usually takes some action.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A method of joining a private network across an existing public network by building an encrypted tunnel between the two hosts. The VPN tunnel allows you to transfer information and to access remote resources.

A network set up for use by a limited number of individuals, such as employees of a company, operating over a large area. The network typically uses encryption to keep information secure.

Vodcast (video podcast)
Video podcast (sometimes shortened to vodcast) is a term used for the online delivery of video on demand video clip content via Atom or RSS enclosures. The term is used to distinguish between podcasts which most commonly contain audio files and those referring to the distribution of video where the RSS feed is used as a non-linear TV channel to which consumers can subscribe using a PC, TV, set-top box, media center or mobile multimedia device. Web television series are often distributed as video podcasts.

From a web server, a video podcast can be distributed as a file or as a stream. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Downloading complete video podcasts in advance gives the user the ability to play the video podcasts offline on, for example, a portable media player. A downloaded version can be watched many times with only one download, reducing bandwidth costs in this case. Streaming allows seeking (skipping portions of the file) without downloading the full video podcast, better statistics and lower bandwidth costs for the servers; however, users may have to face pauses in playback caused by slow transfer speeds.

Web 1.0
The first generation of the World Wide Web (1991-2003), characterized by separate static websites rather than continually-updated weblogs and social networking tools.

Web 2.0
The second generation of the World Wide Web (2004-present), especially the movement away from static webpages to dynamic and shareable content and social networking.

Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform. Web 2.0 services like digg and YouTube evolve into Web 3.0 services with an additional layer of individual excellence and focus.

The predicted third generation of the World Wide Web, usually conjectured to include semantic tagging of content.

Web Browser
A Web browser, often just called a "browser," is the program people use to access the World Wide Web. It interprets HTML code including text, images, hypertext links, Javascript, and Java applets. After rendering the HTML code, the browser displays a nicely formatted page. Some common browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator, and Apple Safari.

Web Conference
A meeting, presentation or other communication hosted via the World Wide Web.

Web Conferencing
Web conferencing is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the attendees' computers or a web-based application where the attendees access the meeting by clicking on a link distributed by e-mail (meeting invitation) to enter the conference.

Web Page
A document on the World Wide Web. Every Web page is identified by a unique URL.

Web Master
A person responsible for writing and maintaining a website.

Web Site
A website is a group of interlinked webpages stored on a server and accessible on a browser. Most websites represent the online presence of an organization, institution, or company. A homepage is the main page of a website.

Web-Based Training (WBT)
Delivery of educational content via a Web browser over the public Internet, a private intranet, or an extranet. Web-based training often provides links to other learning resources such as references, email, bulletin boards, and discussion groups. WBT also may include a facilitator who can provide course guidelines, manage discussion boards, deliver lectures, and so forth. When used with a facilitator, WBT offers some advantages of instructor-led training while also retaining the advantages of computer-based training.

WebCT (Web Course Tools)
A popular course management system developed at the University of British Columbia. In 2005, WebCT was purchased by its chief competitor, Blackboard. URL: (See Course Management System, Blackboard).

A web-based seminar. By using a telephone and the internet, a broad audience of attendees can participate in a seminar without having to leave their desks.

An electronic version of a dry-erase board that enables learners in a virtual classroom to view what an instructor, presenter, or fellow learner writes or draws. Also called a smartboard or electronic whiteboard.

What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)
Pronounced "wizzy wig," a WYSIWYG program allows designers to see text and graphics on screen exactly as they will appear when printed out or published online, rather than in programming code.

The name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that owns the Wi-Fi (registered trademark) term specifically defines Wi-Fi as any "wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.11 standards."

A web page that can be updated by users. It can be used as a collaborative workspace where there is no central source for information. Users can insert, delete, or change information on the page, similar to blogging except that it is not displayed in a chronologic order of updates. Perhaps the most well-known use of a wiki is in the creation of Wikipedia, an online, community-created digital encyclopedia.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is free to use. It is user supported, which means people upload information and entries. It is ever growing and is a great place to get the basic information about just about anything. Most of the time, the articles will cite references and even list other sources and keywords to find more information about the subject in question so you can find out exactly where the information is coming from. There are over 3 million entries in the English language version of Wikipedia, so you can also find information on just about anything. The beginnings of Wikipedia can be traced back to 2001.

Wireless Markup Language (WML)
XML-based language that allows a reduced version of Web pages' text to be displayed on cellular phones and personal digital assistants.

A window is a (usually) rectangular portion of the display on a computer monitor that presents its contents (e.g., the contents of a directory, a text file or an image) seemingly independently of the rest of the screen. Windows are one of the elements that comprise a graphical user interface (GUI).

The words window and windows are generic terms and should not be confused with Microsoft Windows (although they sometimes are). The latter is the trade name that Microsoft selected for its series of operating systems that employ a GUI. (The originally intended name was Interface Manager, but Microsoft's marketing expert Rowland Hanson convinced co-founder Bill Gates that Microsoft Windows was preferable).

Wireless communication is the transfer of information over a distance without the use of enhanced electrical conductors or "wires".[1] The distances involved may be short (a few meters as in television remote control) or long (thousands or millions of kilometers for radio communications). When the context is clear, the term is often shortened to "wireless".

World Wide Web (WWW)
The World Wide Web, abbreviated as WWW and commonly known as the Web, is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them by using hyperlinks.

The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used in every-day speech without much distinction. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web are not one and the same. The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. In contrast, the Web is one of the services that runs on the Internet. It is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. In short, the Web is an application running on the Internet.

WYSIWYG is a catchphrase for "what you see is what you get."

Extensible Markup Language (XML)
A webpage coding language that allows site designers to program their own markup commands, which can then be used as if they were standard HTML commands.

A popular data compression format. Files that have been compressed with the ZIP format are called ZIP files and usually end with a ZIP extension.