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Distance learning terms

Defining commonly used terms offers faculty and administration a way of communicating ideas effectively when developing online materials, courses, or programs. Listed below are several terms you may encounter when developing your online educational materials.

ELearning: computer-aided learning which can take place in either a traditional classroom or within a distance education course.

Distance Education: an educational system that incorporates pedagogical and technological tools to deliver course materials to students who are located at a distance from the instructor. Teachers and students may communicate asynchronously (at times of their own choosing) by exchanging printed or electronic media and/or synchronously (in "real time") through various technologies.

The Higher Learning Commission has indicated that distance education courses which require a physical on-site presence for any reason including taking exams, may be considered online or hybrid, depending on the total amount of time spent onsite.

  • Synchronous: Learners and instructors are online and communicating at the same time. Examples: chat, live audio and/or video, live content sharing.

  • Asynchronous: An electronically transmitted exchange of ideas that allows participation to occur at different points in time. Examples: discussion boards, document posting and standard webpages.

  • Online Course: Completely Internet-based; instruction can be synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of the two.

  • Tele-course: Entirely synchronous, utilizing video conferencing technologies.

  • Hybrid Course: Taught using a combination of online sessions and classroom sessions (generally, 50% classroom, 50% online).

  • Blended Course: A single course taught both face-to-face and online, with some students attending face-to-face sessions in the classroom while other students attend the same sessions online.

  • Traditional Course: Taught using in-class, face-to-face instruction.

  • Web-Enhanced Course: An otherwise traditional, face-to-face course that also uses the Internet to provide students with access to electronic resources and learning activities that would not be available to them in a strictly traditional classroom setting.
Permalink Last updated 08/15/2017 by R. Davidson

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