Glossary of terms

Common Terms Used When Teaching Online

asynchronous: events that occur at different times.  When teaching online, the term asynchronous usually relates to communication or a meeting in which participants are engaged at different periods of time.  A discussion board is a tool often used for asynchronous discussion in online classrooms.

blended learning environment: a course where learning occurs in both a virtual (online) and physical (classroom) environment.  For example, a course that meets in the classroom twice a week and has a weekly chat can be considered a blended learning environment.

chat
:  a form of synchronous communication that occurs between two or more people.  A chat can be in textual, audio, or video format.  Online courses generally have a chat tool (often called a “chat room”) that will allow participants to communicate with each other in real time.

discussion forum
: a tool to facilitate asynchronous communication.  They allow participants to submit text entries (often called “posts”) at a time when it is convenient for them.  These entries can be viewed by other participants at a later point.  Discussions are usually organized in a thread, where responses that are related to each other are linked to each other in the order in which they are posted. 

gradebook
: a tool in Sakai that allows instructors to record student grades for course assignments.  The gradebook can record grades for assignments posted both in and outside of the Sakai system.  Each student has access to his or her grade only.

learning object
: a self-contained, reusable digital resource that breaks educational content down into smaller chunks to facilitate learning.  Learning objects are usually designed to address one or two specific concepts and can be used in a variety of instances.  They can consist of text, web pages, images, audio, video, or any combination of these formats. 

synchronous
: an event that occurs at the same time for all participants.  When teaching online, the term synchronous usually relates to communication or a meeting in which participants are engaged at the same time. Chat is a tool that is often used for synchronous discussions in online classrooms.