Top 50 Online Buzz Words Explained

If you are considering taking an online college course and feel intimated by the terminology, here are 50 of the top buzz words and terminology you will hear in the online environment. If you are wondering what a rubric is . . . you are not alone.  I have alphabetized them to make definitions easier to find.  To find information like this plus a whole lot more, check out The Online Student’s User Manual by clicking here

1.     Accreditation – Quality of the education provided meets the U.S. Dept. of Education standards. There are nationally recognized agencies that the U.S. Dept. of Education recognizes that accredit universities.

2.     ACT – American College Testing Program – test given to high school students to measure education and ability to do well in college.

3.     APA Format – American Psychological Association Format is a guide for formatting students’ papers, including how margins, fonts, citations, etc. should look.

4.     Asynchronous – Not at the same time. In college courses, if a course is asynchronous it means that everybody does not have to participate at the same time.

5.     Attaching Files – When submitting assignments, attaching or uploading is similar to sending an email with an attachment or an uploaded file.

6.     Attendance – Usually a student is considered in attendance on any given day should they post anything to any area of the classroom to show they were there.

7.     Blackboard – Software that many schools use to access the classroom.

8.     Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – Learners express themselves through movement.

9.    Chat Room – An area in the online classroom where students can talk about things as if they were in a hallway or relaxation area in a regular school. Topics must be clean but do not have to be related to the course.

10.   Critical thinking – According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking (2010), critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

11.   Curriculum – Educational courses offered.

12.   Diploma Mill – A higher-education institution that gives diplomas based on less-than-quality education for a financial return.

13.   Discussion Board – Area in the online classroom where students post responses to questions posted by the professor.

14.   Doc Share – An area within the software program eCollege where students can upload their documents so that others within the course can see and respond to them.

15.   Dropbox – An area within the software program eCollege where students can upload their documents so that only the professor can see them.

16.    eCollege – An online learning software platform used by colleges.

17.    Emoticons – A group of characters used to convey intended tone, e.g. a smiley face.

18.    e-Portfolio – An electronic way to assemble a collection of work you have done, including writings, pictures, blogs, etc.

19.    Extension – In software, the extension is the part of the filename that comes after the period. For example, if a file is named “Sample.doc” then the extension is “.doc”.

20.    Feedback Area – An area in software platforms such as Blackboard where students can see input from the instructor as to how they are doing in the class.

21.    Font – The typeface that is chosen for a document.

22.    Forum – An area within certain software packages such as OLS, which is like a classroom or place that a student will go to find information.

23.    Grade Scale – Explanation for what percentages equivocate to certain grades. For example, 90% may be an A, 80% a B, and so on.

24.    Grant – A way to finance your education, unlike loans in the fact that they do not have to be paid back.

25.    Header – The area at the top of your paper where you might include details such as page numbers or other information about the assignment.

26.    Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – Prefers to think with logic, reasoning and numbers.

27.    MLA – Modern Language Association. A style of writing that schools may use. Most commonly, they use APA.

28.    Musical Intelligence – When music and hearing help with learning, a student is said to have musical intelligence.

29.    Naturalistic Intelligence – When being around outdoors, plants and animals helps with learning, a student is said to have naturalistic intelligence.

30.    Netiquette – Combination of “Internet” and “etiquette”, meaning how to behave properly and not be rude in the online environment.

31.    OLS – Online Learning System software offered by universities to allow students to access their online classes.

32.    Participation – Posting something of substance in a course, usually in response to discussion questions posted by the instructor. Unlike attendance, there must be quality to the posting.

33.    Peer-Reviewed – Peers of the writer of an article have reviewed the document.

34.    Plagiarism – Taking someone else’s work and trying to submit it as your own.

35.    Platform – Software that universities use for online courses to enable students to have access to classes.

36.    Retention – The ability to retain or remember things.

37.    Rubric – Rules for how one will be graded.

38.    SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test given to high school students to assess intelligence and readiness for college.

39.    Search Engine – Software that searches the Internet for specific things. Examples include Google, Yahoo and Bing. Educational examples include ProQuest and EBSCOhost.

40.    SQ3R – Stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. It is a process that students can use to study and have better retention.

41.    Syllabus – A summary of course requirements or expectations.

42.    Synchronous – Attending class at the same time as your fellow students and instructors. 

43.    Thread – A posting in class where students and the professor continue a conversation.

44.    TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language – Test to evaluate English skills.

45.    TurnItIn – A software platform that colleges often use to test students’ papers for plagiarism.

46.    Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence – When spoken or written words help students learn better they are said to have verbal-linguistic intelligence.

47.   Virtual University – An online university.

48.   Visual-Spatial Intelligence – When pictures or visual aids help students learn better they are said to have visual-spatial intelligence.

49.    Wiki – A software platform that allows multiple users to input information.

50.    Wikipedia – An online encyclopedia site where students can go to discover basic information. It is important to note is that this is a good place to start looking for information, but not a good source to use when you start to cite references. Because it is a wiki (see definition for wiki), the information on it can be manipulated by numerous users, and therefore can be unreliable.