Terms & Definitions

Clearinghouse Terms & Definitions

The Online Learning Definitions Project (https://www.inacol.org/resource/the-online-learning-definitions-project)

Thank you to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) for the following terms and definitions. They are made available so that everyone accessing this clearinghouse has the same understanding of distance, online, and blended learning.

Asynchronous Learning - Online learning in which communication exchanges occur in elapsed time between two or more people.

Blended Learning - Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; often used synonymously with Hybrid Learning.

Brick and mortar schools - Refers to traditional school or traditional school building, as contrasted with an online school.

Concurrent credit - The process by which a high school student enrolls in a college course taught by a college professor and receives simultaneous high school and college credit for the course.

Course Management System (CMS) - The technology platform through which online courses are offered. A CMS includes software for the creation and editing of course content, communications tools, assessment tools, and other features designed to enhance access and ease of use.

Credit Recovery - Refers to a student passing, and receiving credit for, a course he/she previously attempted but did not succeed in earning academic credit towards graduation.

Digital Learning - Online or blended learning.

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

Dual credit - The process by which a high school student enrolls in a college course taught by a college-approved high school teacher and receives simultaneous high school and college credit for the course.

Face-to-face - When two or more people meet in person.

Home-grown content - Content developed by a teacher, school, or district for use in instruction, as compared to content developed by outside companies or vendors.

Learning Management System (LMS) - The technology platform through which students access online courses. An LMS generally includes software for creating and editing course content, communication tools, assessment tools, and other features for managing the course.

Licensed Content - Content with restricted usage and only available with permission, generally for a fee.

Online Course - Any course offered over the Internet.

Online Course Provider - An organization that provides courses that are offered over the Internet.

Online Learning - Education in which instruction and content are delivered over the Internet. The term does not include 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.

Online Teacher - The person who holds the appropriate teaching certification and is responsible for instruction in an online course.

Online Facilitator - The person working face-to-face with the online student to monitor student progress and attendance, provide training, motivate the students, etc. The person may or may not be a certified teacher but works in conjunction with the certified online teacher.

Pace/Pacing - The speed or time allotted with which a teacher or student moves through a course

Quality Standards - A set of benchmarks or indicators for courses, teaching, professional development, programs, etc., developed by a governing body, association, or accrediting organization.

Self-paced - Online courses in which students work at their own pace within an overall timeframe

State virtual school - Virtual school created by legislation or by a state-level agency, and/or administrated by a state education agency, and/or funded by a state appropriation or grant for the purpose of providing online learning opportunities across the state.

Synchronous Learning - Online learning in which the participants interact at the same time and in the same place.

Universal Accessibility - A requirement, by law, ADA Section 508, that learning materials, including interfaces, images, sounds, multimedia elements, and all other forms of information, must be made available for use by anyone, regardless of disability.

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