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You may run into words and phrases that are new to you or are used in unfamiliar ways as you continue your exploration of online learning opportunities at Lander University. Don't worry, to help demystify the language of online learning, we've assembled this handy glossary of popular online learning terms. While not comprehensive, it will help you understand the terminology and be better prepared as you get started with online learning at Lander University.


Key Online Learning Terms

  • Academic Dishonesty
    Any type of cheating that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise including plagiarism, self-plagiarism, fabrication, deception, cheating, and sabotage. For more information see the Lander University Student Handbook.
  • Academic Term
    An academic term is a part of the academic year in which courses are scheduled by the university.
  • Accessibility
    Accessible means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability.
  • Active Learning
    Active learning focuses on encouraging learners to actively participate through collaboration, discussions, and problem-solving.
  • Adjunct
    An adjunct instructor or adjunct professor is a part-time faculty member.
  • Assessment
    Assessments evaluate learner performance, progress, and demonstration of understanding course objectives. Assessment includes traditional tests, as well as assignments, projects, and observations.
  • Asynchronous Communication
    Interaction between people that is separated by minutes, hours, or even days. E-mail or posting to a discussion board are examples of asynchronous communication. The opposite is real-time interaction such as phone, online chat, or videoconferencing. (Simpson, 2019)
  • Asynchronous Learning
    Asynchronous learning is a general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that do not occur in the same place or at the same time. Students in asynchronous courses are not required to login at a specific day or time. This means you do the work when it's convenient for you. Most online courses are asynchronous in nature, though instructors may include synchronous components, such as weekly meetings, and require attendance or participation.
  • Banner/ Bearcat Web
    A software application that Lander University uses to manage student, Human Resources, Business Office, University Advancement, Housing and Financial Aid data.
  • Blackboard Ally
    Blackboard Ally is an accessibility tool that is located in Blackboard. Ally provides access to files in multiple formats including readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy to navigate content. Learners have the ability to download the alternative formats that are the most appropriate for their study needs.
  • Blackboard Collaborate
    Blackboard collaborate is a synchronous web conferencing solution for education. Collaborate allows learners to engage with course material and professors. Using Collaborate, faculty and students can meet for a lecture, invite guest speakers, and host impromptu discussions. Additionally, instructors may use Collaborate to hold virtual office hours.
  • Blackboard Learn
    Blackboard Learn is Lander's Learning Management System (LMS). Blackboard Learn is an online application that is used for online teaching, learning, community building and knowledge sharing. Students use Blackboard to view course content, receive updates, complete assessments, participate in discussions, and view grades.
  • Blended Learning
    Blended Learning combines multiple modalities and typically refers to courses that utilize a combination of face-to-face learning opportunities with online learning components. Sometimes referred to as hybrid learning.
  • Blog
    Short for "Web log," a blog is an online journal that is updated and intended to share with others. Blogs typically have a commenting feature, so that people can respond to one another's thoughts. In online courses, blogs may be used to encourage learners to clearly express their ideas and provide opportunities for social learning.
  • Browser
    Software that is used to navigate online and displays information from the web. Examples include Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
  • Cache
    A cache is temporary computer memory where information is stored for easy retrieval. A browser cache stores recently accessed web pages so that they can be accessed quickly at a later time.
  • Closed Captions
    Closed captions are a text version of the spoken part of a television, movie, or presentation. Closed captioning was developed to aid hearing-impaired people, but it's useful for a variety of situations. For example, captions can be read when audio can't be heard, either because of a noisy environment or because of an environment that must be kept quiet.
  • Cohort
    The term cohort refers to a set of individuals who are treated as a group. In education, a cohort of students start a degree or certificate program at the same time and are in the program together throughout their degree.
  • Collaborative Learning
    Instruction that involves collaboration among learners in order to build and share knowledge, solve problems, or complete tasks.
  • Cookie
    A cookie is a tiny file that a web site uses to track your activity and recognize you on return visits.
  • Discussion Board
    Also known as discussion forums or message boards. Discussion boards are asynchronous platforms that allow course participants to post messages and/or reply to others. Typically, discussion messages are posted as text, but may allow for the attachment of images or videos. Participation in online discussions are a requirement for many online courses.
  • Discussion Forum
    Forums are discussion board areas where course participants discuss a topic or a group of related topics. Participation in online discussions are a requirement for many online courses.
  • Discussion Thread
    Threads refer to a series of related discussion postings organized by conversation.
  • Echo 360
    Echo 360 is a lecture video platform designed to allow instructors to record videos for learners to access on-demand.
  • Face-to-Face
    Often refers to a type of instruction that takes place in real time and place.
  • Feedback
    Feedback is information provided by instructors or peers about student performance. In online courses feedback can be written, audio, or video.
  • Flipped Learning
    An instructional model for either a web-enhanced or blended class in which face-to-face time is freed up for activities other than instructor lecture.
  • Gamification
    In online learning gamification adds game mechanics to the course. Gamification in online courses may take the form of points, badges, or leaderboards designed to motivate and engage learners.
  • Help Desk
    A source for technical support. Lander students can reach tech support by calling the ITS Helpdesk: 864-388-8234 or by submitting a ticket:
  • Help Desk Ticket
    Help desk tickets are requests for technical support.
  • Hybrid Learning
    Hybrid learning combines multiple modalities and typically refers to courses that utilize a combination of face-to-face learning opportunities with online learning components. Sometimes referred to as blended learning.
  • Learning Community
    A group or cohort of students who share common academic goals and are actively engaged in learning together.
  • Learning Environment
    In relation to online courses, another term for Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
    A software application used to administer and deliver online, hybrid, and web enhanced courses. LU's LMS is Blackboard. Blackboard includes tools for creating and editing course content, communication, assessment, and course management.
  • Modality
    The instructional delivery method of a course. Online, hybrid, and traditional are different course modalities.
  • Module
    A module is a unit or block that a course is built from. Modules can contain any combination of course materials and assessments including readings, videos, discussions, and assessments.
  • MyLander
    MyLander is a gateway to digital resources and information from Lander University. MyLander provides single sign on (one username/one password) access to campus updates, personal announcements, Bearcat Web, Blackboard, email, activity schedules, electronic resources, and more.
  • Navigation
    In relation to online courses, navigation describes how you move through a course in the LMS.
  • Netiquette
    Short for Internet etiquette, a code of polite behavior that applies when communicating on the internet or in online courses.
  • Objectives
    Objectives are the knowledge and skills learners are expected to gain from a course.
  • Outcomes
    Outcomes are the knowledge and skills learners gain from a course. While objectives describe expectations, outcomes describe results.
  • Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is using the ideas or words of another without crediting the original source.
  • Polysynchronous Communication
    Polysynchronous Communication takes place when participants simultaneously engage in synchronous and asynchronous communication.
  • Polysynchronous Learning
    Polysynchronous Learning blends synchronous and asynchronous teaching and communication.
  • Pronto
    Pronto is a communication app that connects classroom communities through chat and video.
  • Proctoring
    Proctoring is the process of monitoring students in person, through a webcam, or through software during testing. Proctoring combats cheating by ensuring students are who they say they are.
  • Question Bank/Question Pool
    A repository of questions that can be used in one or more tests.
  • Rubric
    A rubric is an evaluation tool or set of guidelines used to promote consistent application of learning expectations. Rubrics are used as scoring instruments to determine grades.
  • Self-Directed Learning
    Self-Directed Learning gives students responsibility for input into their learning and allows learners to determine when they will study and log into the course. While study can be completed at the learner's discretion, courses still contain due dates. Online courses at Lander are self-directed and not self-paced.
  • Self-Paced Learning
    Self-Paced Learning allows the student to complete the course at their own pace (without due dates), and on their own schedule. Online courses at Lander are NOT self-paced courses.
  • Single Sign On (SSO)
    Single sign on allows users to sign on and access multiple applications using a single set of credentials.
  • Synchronous Communication
    Describes interactions where communication takes place in real-time. Phone conversations are an example of synchronous communication.
  • Synchronous Learning
    In synchronous learning, learning experiences take place in real-time. Individuals may or may not be in the same location but can communicate directly with each other in a virtual environment.
  • Technical Support
    Assistance for individuals experiencing technical issues. Lander students can reach tech support by calling the ITS Helpdesk: 864-388-8234 or by submitting a ticket:
  • URL
    Short for Uniform Resource Locator, an URL is the Internet address of websites, documents, and other resources on the World Wide Web.
  • Virtual Classroom
    The virtual classroom refers to a digital classroom learning environment that takes place over the Internet rather than in a physical classroom. It is implemented through software that allows an instructor and students to interact.
  • Virtual Office Hours
    A way for faculty and students to connect through web conferencing software. Students might attend virtual office hours because the don't understand something, have questions about coursework or feedback, or want guidance on how to pursue a topic in more depth than it is covered in class.
  • Web Enhanced
    A traditional face-to-face course that uses the LMS for supplementary material or assessment.
  • Wiki
    Course wikis are pages of information compiled by the course community. Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course-related materials and provide an opportunity for learners to share and collaborate with their peers.