Distance Ed Glossary

Terms and Definitions

Applet A small program, that runs on the Internet or from a software on your computer. Most are written in the programming language known as Java.

Asynchronous A mode of online delivery where participants access course materials on their schedule. Learners are not together at the same time.

Blackboard
 A web-based learning management system and platform designed for teachers and learners to participate in online classes.

Blended Learning 
An online course that uses various methods of delivery. For example, using WBC with a F2F class is blended learning. Using an asynchronous mode of delivery with synchronous tools is also another example.

Blog
 Shortened from “web log”. A website where participants are free to comment about various topics. In many blog sites, participants can also add pictures and video.

Bricks and mortar schools
 Traditional school buildings for F2F classes.

Browser
 A program that allows you to read web pages and html files. Examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Netscape, and Opera. Not all browsers are validated to work in Blackboard LMS.

CD or CD-ROM  Compact disc. High capacity optical storage medium which is 120 millimetres in diameter. Most music is stored on CD discs.

Chat
 Synchronous online communication where participants communicate via text entered at the keyboard.

Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)
 Forms of on-line communications involving computers and computer networks.

Congregated classrooms 
Electronically combining small numbers of students at different sites.

Cookie
 A small file placed on a user’s computer by visiting a web page. Blackboard LMS needs cookies to be enabled in order to store the relevant data as the student progresses through their WBC.

Discussion groups 
One-to-many communication in which messages are posted by individuals and can be read by all.

Distance learning
 Learning taking place where students and instructor are separated by distance or time; also known as online or E-learning.

Distributed learning 
Students take courses from a variety of sources and delivery modes to customize a program of study. Often is used synonomously with online learning.

DVD
 Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc. An optical disc with the same dimensions of a CD but holds six times more data. Most movies are stored on DVD discs.

Electronic distribution
 Distribution of documents in some electronic medium (e.g., web page, CD-ROM).

E-Learning
 A wide set of applications and processes, including web-based training, online learning, virtual classrooms, digital collaboration, and computer-based training.

E-mail
 One-to-one messaging or “private” communication.

Face-to-Face (F2F) 
Students and teachers are in the same location at the same time. Regular classroom instruction/learning.

FAQ
 Frequently Asked Questions. In an online course, it is a document or web page made up of questions that are commonly asked by students. Answers are usually provided to support participants.

Hyper Text Markup Language 
HTML system of tags interpreted by the browser to render web pages. Most all web pages in the WWW are html files.

Independent Study Option (ISO)
 Print-based course materials for distance learning.

Instructional Television (ITV)
 One-way television broadcasting to students at other locations.

Interactive Instructional Television (IITV) 
Instructional television where a two way link allows communication between instructor and remote sites as well as communication between student locations. Generally includes 4 or 5 televisions and several cameras at each site.

Internet Service Provider or ISP 
Agency that provides connections to the Internet.

Java
 A programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that helps supports many applications over the internet and on your computers. Blackboard uses Java in order to function.

Learning objects
 Course materials developed according to a standard (e.g., IMS) which allows easy sharing of materials. Materials are modular and can be used for a variety of purposes and outputs.

LMS
 Learning Management System. A set of software and online tools to manage learning environments. Blackboard, formerly known as WebCT, is such an example.

LOR 
Learning Object Repository. A shared space where several learning objects are available to professionals and learners.

MP3
 Audio files that have been digitally formatted.

MPEG
 Video files that have been digitally formatted.

Moodle A free, open-source PHP web application for producing modular internet-based courses that support a modern social constructionist pedagogy.

Online
 Connected to a computer network, usually over the internet. Can be taken to mean “through the computer” as in on-line help for an application where help files are on the hard drive.

Online community 
Learners, who although separated by distance and time, share a common experience.

Online conferencing 
Communications happening over the internet or local network. Can be synchronous via chat or asynchronous via discussion groups.

PDF 
Refers to the Adobe Acrobat file format used by many web sites and online courses.

Pedagogy
 The art and science of how students learn.

Plugin
 A small piece of software that supports a web browser in order to extend its functionality. Flash players are an example.

Server
 A networked computer that is shared by many other computers on the internet. An example of a server would be to hold, or “host”, web pages.

Software
 Programs that allow a user to complete tasks with computers, such as word processing and editing pictures.

Synchronous
 A mode of WBC delivery where all participants are “present” at the same time. Requires a timetable to be organized.

Teacher Mediated Option (TMO) 
A mode of delivering a course using primarily the phone and a telconferencing bridge.

Tutorial
 A method of learning from reading online content and following a specific series of mini-lessons. A tutorial may check for self-understanding by providing some interactivity.

URL or Uniform Resource Locator
 Another name for the address for a web page on the internet. For example, http://bblearn.merlin.mb.ca is the URL for the Blackboard Learning System.

Virtual School
 An environment where courses are delivered entirely or primarily through online methods. The term is usually reserved for accredited schools that teach a full-time set of courses.

Web-based Course (WBC) 
Distance education course materials supported by computer-mediated communications and delivered asynchronously via the internet. In Manitoba, WBC are facilitated by qualified teacher staffed at one of the school divisions.

WebCT
 An older Learning Management System that was bought by Blackboard Inc.  As of July 2012, Manitoba Education has replaced WebCT with the Blackboard Learn System.

XML
 Extensible Markup Language, may be the next big thing on the Web. A metalanguage that is platform and operating system independent. It can be used to enable interoperability between systems as well as transformations to allow output in multiple media.

Acronyms

ADSL
Asymmetric digital subscriber line

API
Application Program Interface

ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange

b
Bit; abbr for binary digit, the smallest unit of data in a computer.

B
Byte; a unit of 8 bits.

BB
Blackboard; an online application used to deliver learning opportunities.

BPS
Bits per second, a measure of data transmission speed.

CD
Compact Disc.

CMC
Computer Mediated Communication; forms of online communication involving computers and computer networks.

DVD
Digital Versatile Disc, or Digital Video Disc.

F2F
Face to Face; refers to the traditional model of classroom instruction.

FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions. In an online course, it is a document or web page made up of questions that are commonly asked by students. Answers are usually provided to support participants.

FTP
File Transfer Protocol; a communications protocol governing the transfer of files from one computer to another over a network.

GB
Gigabyte; 1000 megabytes.

GIF
Graphics Interchange Format; file extension for images, one of the two most popular image formats used on the web.

GUI
Graphical User Interface; the interface of an application that uses graphics instead of simple text.

HTML
Hypertext Markup Language; used to create web pages.

HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol utilizing TCP to transfer hypertext requests and information between servers and browsers.

IE
Internet Explorer; Microsoft’s web browser.

IP
Internet Protocol; protocol by which computers exchange data over the internet.

ISO
Independent Study Option.

ISP
Internet Service Provider.

JPG/JPEG
Joint Photographic Experts Group – sets the standard for jpg image files. Along with GIF files, the most commonly used image format on the web.

KB
Kilobyte; 1000 bytes.

LAN
Local Area Network; a network of computers that share a common communications line or wireless device in a small area.

LMS
Learning Management System.

LOR 
Learning Object Repository.

MB
Megabyte; 1000 kilobytes.

MOODLE
 Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment

OS
Operating System; software that provide an interface between computer hardware and other software.

PDA
Personal Digital Assistant; hand held device that combines computing, communication and network capabilities.

SME
Subject Matter Expert.

TB
Terrabyte; 1000 gigabytes.

TCP
Transmission Control Protocol; an Internet protocol that manages the delivery of byte stream transfer between one computer program to another.

TMO
Teacher Mediated Option.

URL or Uniform Resource Locator
 Another name for the address for a web page on the internet. For example, http://bblearn.merlin.mb.ca is the URL for the Blackboard Learning System.

Virtual School
 An environment where courses are delivered entirely or primarily through online methods. The term is usually reserved for accredited schools that teach a full-time set of courses.

WAN
Wide Area Network; network of computers connected over a large area.

WAP
Wireless Access Point; a device that plugs into an Ethernet switch that allows wireless computers to connect to the network.

WBC
Web Based Courses.

WEBCT
A learning management system developed by UBC. It was bought by Blackboard and many of its features have been incorporated into Blackboard.

WWW
World Wide Web; a vast network of hypertext files.

XML
Extensible Markup Language, may be the next big thing on the Web. A metalanguage that is platform and operating system independent. It can be used to enable interoperability between systems as well as transformations to allow output in multiple media.