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DoDEA Virtual High School

Glossary of Online Learning Terms



Please navigate through the glossary below to see several important terms commonly associated with online teaching and learning.

Click the link, Glossary: Online Learning Terms to print or save the PDF version.

adobe connect pro  Adobe Connect Pro :
Adobe Connect Pro is the web conferencing tool used by instructors of the DVHS to engage in synchronous (real-time) instruction with students. It is very similar to Defense Connect Online (DCO).  


Asynchronous Instruction  Asynchronous Instruction :
Instruction that is separated by time. Examples are email, online discussion forums, message boards, blogs, and podcasts.  


blog  Blog :
As a noun, a website or a section of website used for expressing ideas and opinions of users in multiple modalities, often maintained by one leader. As a verb, maintaining or adding content to an ongoing asynchronous discussion housed at a target website.  


school  Brick and Mortar Schools :
Refers to traditional school or traditional school building, as contrasted with an online school.  


Content Repository  Content Repository :
A venue for saving and sharing content. A digital content repository is an online venue for saving and sharing digital content.  


Digital Learning  Digital Learning :
A synonym for online learning.  


Digital Literacy  Digital Literacy :
Digital literacy is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, analyze and create information using technology. (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2009)  


discssion board  Discussion Board :
A discussion board (known also by various other names such as discussion group, discussion forum, message board, and online forum) is a general term for any online "bulletin board" that provides a venue for questions and answers.  


Distance Education  Distance Education :
General term for any type of educational activity in which the participants are at a distance from each other. In other words, instructors and learners are separated in space. They may or may not be separated in time (asynchronous vs. synchronous).  


Face to face  Face-to-Face (F2F) :
When two or more people meet in person. F2F refers to the traditional classroom teaching practices as seen in brick and mortar schools.  


Facilitator  Facilitator :
A certified teacher onsite in a DoDEA brick and mortar school that provides assistance and guidance to students enrolled in a DHVS online course.  


Instructional Interaction  Instructional Interaction :
The flow of communications and activities within the structure of a course. There are three primary types of interaction: 1. Interaction between the instructor and students, such as discussion. 2 Interaction between students, such as group assignments, peer tutoring, and socializing, and 3. Interaction between students and content, such as active reading of an online supplemental lesson, research assignments in the library, or searching the internet. A well-designed online course should utilize all three forms of instructional interaction.  


Blackboard LMS  LMS :
LMS is the abbreviation for learning Management System. An LMS is the platform or delivery system through which online courses are offered. An LMS generally includes software for creating and editing course content, communication tools, assessment tools, and other features for managing the course. In DoDEA, all online courses use Blackboard ( as the LMS.  


Online Course  Online Course :
Any Course offered over the Internet.  


Online Learning  Online Learning :
Education in which instruction and content are delivered primarily over the Internet. The term does not includes print-based correspondence education, broadcast television or radio, videocassettes, and stand alone educational software programs that do not have a significant Internet-based instructional component. (U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service, 2010). Used interchangeably with Virtual learning, Cyber learning, e-learning.  


Openfire  Openfire :
Openfire is a read time collaboration (RTC) server licensed under the Open Source Apache License. It uses the only widely adopted open protocol for instant messaging, XMPP (also called Jabber).  


Spark  Spark :
Spark is an Open Source, cross-platform IM client optimized for businesses and organizations. It features built-in support for group chat, and strong security. It also offers a great end-user experience with features like in-line spell checking, group chat room bookmarks, and tabbed conversations.  


Synchronous Instruction  Synchronous Instruction :
Instruction in which the participants interact in the same time space. Examples are web conferencing (Adobe Connect Pro), and instant messaging (Jabber).  


tag  Tag :
Tag also referred to as metadata is a coding statement for learning objects within a curriculum that describes the contents (using keywords, descriptive terms) enabling searches.  


Threaded Discussion  Threaded Discussion :
A forum that includes a running commentary of messages used by a group to facilitate asynchronous online discussions.  


Web Conference  Web Conference :
A system by which many computer users can communicate with each other at the same time using webcams and audio devices over the internet often referred to as a webinar. The web conferencing tool in the DVHS is Adobe Connect Pro.  


Wiki  Wiki :
A restricted or open website developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to create, add and edit content. Note: DVHS uses the Blackboard Campus Pack version in place of a website. All Wikis are moderated by online instructors of the DVHS courses.