Glossary of DE Terms
508 Compliant – Originally an amendment to the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and now part of the new Federal Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility and Compliance Act, Section 508 guarantees accessibility to technology for people with disabilities. Examples of this assistive technology could be screen readers, captioning, TTYs.
ALT-Tag/ALT-Attribute – An HTML attribute that is used to designate a title or description of an image. This is particularly helpful for students who use assistive technology (like a screen reader). ALT-Tags should also be added for tables and images in word-processing documents.
Assessing Online Facilitation Instrument (AOF) – A tool created by the California State University TIGERS Project which instructors can use for self-assessment or peer review of their online courses. It can also be useful when considering the design of an online course. The AOF consists of 4 categories: Managerial, Pedagogical, Social, Technical.
Asynchronous – An approach to distance education in which instruction occurs outside a specific time and place. Email and discussion boards are examples of this type of learning modality in the online learning environment.
Autonomy — Known as both student autonomy and self-directed learning, this is when instructors give more control and choice to students in order to enhance the learning experience. The instructor is a facilitator instead of a disseminator of knowledge.
Best Practices – Teaching approaches that maximize student learning outcomes. Often these approaches are student/learner-centered, that is, the instructor of the course acts as a facilitator, guiding the student’s understanding of the content. Classroom activities also focus more on higher order problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Bloom’s Taxonomy — A classification of skills developed to describe cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor processes in learning. The cognitive domain, which goes from lower-order skills such as remembering to higher-order skills like creating, is often used in academic course design.
Courseware – Usually refers to full course materials that are available in an online learning format. For example, a courseware course could include an eTextbook, assessments, lesson plans and project descriptions.
The Flipped Classroom — An approach to web-enhancing a course where content is delivered for homework via instructional technology, and classroom time is used for interactive group and project-based activities.
Form D — A supplemental document detailing the distance education component of a course that undergoes a separate Curriculum & Instruction Committee approval process.
Formative Assessment — Assessment that is carried out in order to inform (form a picture) of the learning process. Classroom observations and discussion forums are examples of this type of assessment.
Hybrid – A type of course in which most face-to-face class time is replaced with online content using the campus-supported Learning Management System. Any course that requires students to meet on-campus for orientation, assessment, or class meeting even though the rest of the course is conducted online is considered a hybrid. Students in this course must have a computer with internet access.
Learner Training – Overtly teaching students skills and strategies they can apply to learn more effectively. Giving students specific guidelines and strategies for working in groups would be a form of learner training.
Legitimate Educational Interest – A term related to student privacy concerns (FERPA) which means that only those persons with an official interest in a student (school officials, law enforcement agencies, etc.) can access a student’s educational record without written consent.
Needs Analysis – The process of gathering information about what students intend to get out of a course so as to align the course activities more closely with student goals. This can also include getting to know more about students’ learning styles, experiences, perceptions of learning and preferences.
Online – A type of course in which everything is conducted online through the campus-supported Learning Management System. No on-campus meetings are required. The primary means of instruction requires students to use a computer with internet access, even though they may need other technologies to acquire and learn course content.
Open Educational Resources (OER) — Materials that are either public-domain or openly licensed which provide a low-cost alternative to traditional publisher content. OER can include: CourseWare, eBooks, eTextbooks, and multimedia content.
Performance-Based Assessment/Alternative Assessment – A means of evaluation in which students are assessed based on what they do and how they do it instead of just what they know. Presentations and projects are examples of this type of assessment.
Process-Oriented Approach – A means of assessment in which student work is evaluated based on the parts of a project or assignment (such as drafts and revisions) and not on the final outcome. This term is also used in relation to course and materials design.
Project-Based Learning – An approach to instructional design in which class projects are used for learning course content. This allows students to not just learn the course content but to also apply the content in a way that could have real world applications.
Regular Effective Contact – A California state Title 5 requirement in distance learning which states that instructors must keep in contact with students on a regular and timely basis to both ensure the quality of instruction and to verify their performance and participation status (authentication). This also means that courses need to be 508 compliant (meet accessibility guidelines).
Rubric for Online Instruction – Guidelines for creating online courses originally developed by the California State University, Chico which support PCC’s Instruction Design Tips for Online Learning. The rubric consists of 6 categories which detail how to use innovation in electronic delivery methods to support and assess learners.
Student-Centered/Learner-Centered Instruction – When the focus of instruction shifts from the instructor imparting content through lectures to concentrate more on the needs of the students, which in turn allows students to actively participate in their own learning. The teacher in this approach is still active however s/he takes on the role of Facilitator.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) — The organization responsible for accreditation of schools in the western US. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is the body of WASC that oversees accreditation at PCC.
Welcome Letter – A letter written in an informal and open tone sent to students in online and hybrid courses before the course begins. It contains information about how to access the course, where to go for technical support, and what course expectations are.