Distance Education Terminology – Part 2


By keeping up with the ever-changing online terminology, students can better prepare themselves for success in distance education (photo courtesy of birdarts on flickr).

Can’t get enough of the online education terminology posted yesterday? Well you are in luck! Here are some additional words and phrases that, by knowing, will help you become more comfortable in the online learning environment.

Half Time: Six to eight credits per semester for undergraduate studies. For graduate students, three    credits per semester could be considered half time.

Home Page: The first page to appear when an internet browser window is opened.

Hybrid/Blended: A course that has both on-campus, face-to-face meetings and an online component.

Internship: A job related to a student’s field of study that may or may not be paid or allow college credit to be earned.

Letter of Intent: A formal letter written by the student to their College of Study discussing their why they would like to be admitted into a program of study and what they hope to achieve with their education.

Loans: Financial assistance that must be repaid.

Major: A student’s primary field of study.

Master’s Degree: A graduate degree that usually requires two or more years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree

Microsoft Office Suite: Software that includes a word processor (Word), spreadsheet (Excel), and multimedia presentation (PowerPoint). Additional applications are also available through advanced versions of the Suite.

Minor: A student’s secondary field of study. This can either be associated with the major, or a completely different field of study.

Netiquette: Proper protocol associated with an online environment. A primary rule includes not typing messages in all uppercase letters as it equates to shouting.

Non-Resident: A student who does not meet state residency requirements (for tuition purposes).

Pop-up Blocker: A program designed to block unwanted “pop-up” ads or windows from appearing while a user browses the internet.

Pre-requisite: A requirement that must be satisfied before registration for a class can be completed. This could be in the form of another class (Composition I must be taken before Composition II, or a particular number of credits need to be earned first).

Registration: Enrollment in classes; typically completed through or by the Registrar’s Office.

Resident: A student who meets state residency requirements (for tuition purposes).

Satisfactory Academic Progress: Meeting or exceeding standard academic goals established by the school and the department of education. At minimum, students need to maintain a 2.00 GPA and pass 2/3 of their classes each semester.

Scholarships: Financial assistance that does not require repayment. Scholarships may be available through the State, like the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, or through private, donor-funded organizations.

Spam: Unsolicited email

Synchronous: Real-time interaction with instructors. Classes may require students to log-in at a given time to interact with the professor and other students in a live environment.

Threaded Discussion: Discussion board with a series of messages on a particular topic posted in the same location. Allows users to continue a conversation with multiple parties throughout many days without losing information.

Virtual Library: A library in which the collection of materials are stored digitally and accessible via the internet.

Webinar: A conferencing event that allows multiple users from remote sites to participate. A presentation, such as a PowerPoint, is usually available for viewing as well.

Work-Study Program: A federal financial aid program that allows students to work on campus.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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