Useful E-Learning Terms

There are many terms associated with e-learning. Here are a few you will want to know:

Asynchronous communication

Communication mode in which the time of actual interaction is different. The sender and receiver do not communicate at the same time. E-mail and snail-mail communication are examples of asynchronous communication.


A web log. A blog is a shared online journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences, views, ideas, and hobbies.


Software that enables users to access and display files from the World Wide Web. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome are the most widely used browsers.

Bulletin Board

A place on the Internet, which revolves around a common theme; an assembly of documents or notes about a given topic on the Internet. Users are drawn because of their common interest.


Also electronic mail, email, or e-mail. The system whereby messages are automatically passed from one computer user to another through computer networks. You will need to have access to and know how to use email before you begin an online course at BCCC. 

Internet Explorer

Web Browser software developed by Microsoft. 


Internet Service Provider, a service, for example AOL, Earthlink, or Comcast, needed by users who are going to access the Internet from home or work.

LAN (Local Area Network)

A computer network which spans a local area such as a campus. Computers at BCCC's Liberty, Harbor and RPC centers are connected to the Internet via a LAN.


A subscription service on the Internet. Users subscribe (almost always for free) to a listserv of interest and the service delivers documents into the user's email account on a regular basis. As in bulletin board, the documents share some common themes.

Maryland OnLine (MOL)

A partnership among various Maryland four-year institutions and community colleges that promotes access to classes which are delivered asynchronously, mostly online. See www.marylandonline.org for more details. 


Multimedia refers to the presentation of information and instruction through a combination of graphics, audio, text, or video. Multimedia instruction is often interactive.


Any process in which there is virtually no delay between events. Asking a question during a classroom discussion is done in real-time. Responding back to an earlier email is not. However, a virtual discussion group or whiteboard are synchronous and done in real-time.


An adjective describing communication mode which take places at the same time for all parties involved. An example of synchronous communication is the telephone, instant messaging systems, or webinars.

Threaded Discussion

A form of asynchronous discussion on the Web whereby one user posts a message or a document, and other users see it and respond to it in their own time. In the Canvas course management system, the threaded discussion is called Discussions.


Uniform Resource Locator. An address on the World Wide Web. Example: The URL for Google is http://www.google.com.

Web Page

A location on the World Wide Web, identified by a URL, which contains a block of data.

Web-based Classes

Online Classes that are delivered primarily, or completely, through the World Wide Web. Instructional tools in this format include, but are not limited to, conferencing, chat, email, uploading and downloading assignments, whiteboarding, classroom management, security, hyperlinks, video and audio clips, online testing, multimedia.

Web-Enhanced or Web-Supported Classes


Classes in which the World Wide Web is used as a component to assist delivery of the course; typically mixed with other delivery methods. At BCCC, many courses are web-enhanced and will have expectations of guiding learning activities through the Internet.


A webinar is a seminar or workshop in which the facilitator and participants view the same screen at the same time. Usually the webinar has an audio component that the facilitator controls and functionality that allows participants to chat by entering text, answering polls, raising their hands and asking questions.


"Wiki is a type of website that allows users to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit all content, very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative writing. The term wiki is a shortened form of wiki wiki which is from the native language ofHawaii (Hawaiian), where it is commonly used as an adjective.

Extracted from the Internet on April 27, 2006 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki to denote something 'quick' or 'fast.'


A device in an online class which allows the instructor and students to diagram or draw, in real time, and the others who are online can see the design; good for math and science classes.

World Wide Web

A distributed information retrieval system in which documents formatted in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) are linked via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to other documents, as well as audio, video, and graphics files. By using a web browser and clicking on hot spots, computers are connected across the Internet


A way of communicating in small (no more than 140 characters) pieces of information through a Twitter account.  Each piece of communication is called a tweet.  Other people may be subscribed to your Twitter account and receive information automatically.

RSS Feed

Real Simple Syndication is a subscription to an online site (such as Baltimore Sun, New York Times, or Slate Magazine) that refreshes itself automatically on the end user's site to bring current headlines.