Terms from A - B - C - D - E

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APEX Learning - A vendor or for-profit provider who lease courses to existing virtual schools, but also provides direct virtual school learning opportunities to students in Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Advanced Placement, High School Exam Preparation, etc..

Acceptable Use Policy - "This policy outlines the responsibilities, limits, and restrictions for students, staff, and others as they use technology and software applications owned and operated by a school or school district" (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005).

Accreditation - "The process used in U.S. education to 'ensure that schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education providers meet, and maintain, minimum standards of quality and integrity regarding academic, administration and related services' (US Network for Education Information, n.d.)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).

Advanced Placement (AP) - A high school program that follows the curriculum of the College Board where students take college or university level courses and have the option to earn credit at a college or university by achieving a qualifying score on a standardized examination.

Americans with Disabilities Act - "The Americans with Disabilities Act gives 'civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications' (U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 2002)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).

Asynchronous - "Events that take place irrespective of time or location. In an asynchronous learning environment, teachers and students do not need to be online at the same time in order to teach, communicate, or learn" (Butz, 2004, p. 13).

Asynchronous Communication - "Communication in which the participants interact in varied time spaces (e.g., e-mail, threaded discussions, homework, message boards)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120). "A method of communication that does not coincide or agree in time; participants receive correspondence that is not reliant on immediate response" (Smith, 2000, p. 16).

Asynchronous Learning - "Any learning event where interaction is delayed over time. This allows learners to participate according to their schedule, and be geographically separate from the instructor. Could be in the form of a correspondence course or e-learning . Interaction can take use various technologies like threaded discussion" (Venture Direct, 2004).

At Risk - A term used in the literature to refer to students that range from those who have learning and behavioral disabilities and are unable to cope in the traditional classroom to those who are lower performing academically.

Aventa Learning, Inc. - A vendor or for-profit provider of virtual school learning opportunities who leases courses to existing virtual schools, but also provides direct virtual school learning opportunities to students.

Average Daily Attendance - "Average daily attendance is '(i) the aggregate number of days of attendance of all students during a school year; divided by (ii) the number of days school is in session during such year' (U.S. Department of Education, 2002)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).

Average Daily Membership - "The average daily membership is the total days of attendance and absence divided by the number of days taught. The average daily attendance reflects the number of students the district must be prepared to serve (Arkansas Department of Education, n.d.)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).


Bandwidth - "The capacity of a communication channel to carry information. The greater the bandwidth, the faster the information can move" (e-Learning Ontario, 2007).

Barter Share Model - "Funding model in which participating schools, brick-and-mortar, online, etc, all develop class(es) that can be delivered over a distance, and in return can sign up a given number of students (say 30) from their school/district" (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005).

Best practices - "A term used to describe factors found in the literature review that speak to faculty effectiveness" (Rehnborg, 2007, p. 7).

Blackboard - A commercial provider of a course management system.

Blended Instruction - "Blended online learning is a balanced mix of traditional face-to-face instructional activities with appropriately designed online experiences. Teachers that engage in blended online learning often utilize a course management system as an extension of the physical classroom. This format leverages the communication benefits of a traditional classroom environment and links it to the power of Internet-based learning tools and resources. Educators utilize this format to expand and reinforce classroom-based instructional activities and to extend learning beyond the classroom walls and the normal school day, including evenings, weekends and scheduled breaks. This format can provide opportunities for students to work outside the classroom in virtual teams with students from other schools to learn writing, research, teamwork and technology skills" (Department of Education, 2006, p. 3). Used interchangeably with blended learning.

Blended Learning - "A program permitting both virtual school access as well as home school programming" (Smith, 2000, p. 16). The program can also be used by a virtual school and brick-and-mortar school. Often used interchangeably with blended instruction.

Brick-and-Mortar School - "Located or serving consumers in a physical facility as distinct from providing remote, especially online, services; brick-and-mortar classrooms" (Pickett et al., 2000).


Caching - "Storing a copy of electronic information in a secondary location, usually to make it faster to get the information" (e-Learning Ontario, 2007).

Chat room - "An online format that features students or teachers posting comments on the internet in a synchronous time frame" (Butz, 2004, p. 13).

Completion Rate - "Two measures of completion are typically cited by countries and international organizations, each of which provides a different indicator of yield: the adult primary completion rate and the "primary completion rate" defined by the World Bank (hereafter referred to simply as the completion rate). The adult primary completion rate, which has been used for many years, is defined as the percent of adults (typically age 25+) who have finished primary school. It is considered a "status" indicator because it measures the educational status of the population regardless of when the individual completed the primary school cycle" (Cameron, 2005, p. 1). "A student is said to have completed an online course if and when he/she has met the academic work and testing requirements set by the course instructor, with the understanding that the academic content work is based upon state, district, and school standards of achievement. Contact time, or time online, is not considered sufficient for 'completion.' Additional requirements set by the instructor for participation in discussions, posting answers to survey questions, and participation in class chat sessions may be part of the class, but alone are not sufficient to warrant an indication of 'completion.' Completion components will vary by program, and may not be consistent across states and districts" (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005).

Connections Academy - An Internet-based company that offers curriculum and other educational services in an online delivery format covering kindergarten through twelfth grade. Connections Academy curriculum is often used by homeschoolers and cyber charter schools in the United States.

Connectivity - "The ability to send and receive electronic information, or to link with other programs or devices" (e-Learning Ontario, 2007).

Conventional School - "A school characterized by face-to-face instruction; required attendance; group instruction, assignments and testing; and technology being used as an adjunct to instruction" (Barker, Wendel & Richmond, 1999, p. 3). Also known as a regular school, a brick-and-mortar school, or a traditional school.

Correspondence - "A method of instruction where the content was developed by a teacher and/or an educational institution and the student and teacher interact by mail" (Scheick, 2007, p. 16). Also know as home study or independent courses.

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, communication tools, assessment tools, and other features designed to enhance access and ease of use" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).

Cost Share Model - "Funding model in which participating brick-and-mortar schools pay a supplementary online program certain portions of cost fees and the cost of program delivery to their students" (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005).
Course Completion - "For the purpose of transcript recording and statistical enrollment reporting, this indicates a student who registered for an online course and who, over the required time period, successfully met school, district, state, and accreditation curriculum standards and requirements. Typically, this 'completion' is demonstrated through examination, project completion, and/or other performance measures. 'Contact hours' are not part of this calculation" (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005). Similar to a completion rate.

Cyber Charter School - A descriptive term referring to an online program created under the charter school legislation in place in some states in the United States. Often used interchangeably with and has the same meaning as cyberschool.

Cyberschool - "An online learning program in which students enroll and earn credit towards academic advancement (or graduation) based on successful completion of the courses (or other designated learning opportunities) provided by the school" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120). In the United States cyberschool and cyber charter school are often used interchangeably, and often indicates that the online learning program is a full-time program. Outside of the United States cyberschool is often used interchangeably with virtual school.


Delivering School - "A school that delivers a teacher-mediated e-learning credit course to students through the provincial Learning Management System (LMS), and that has the delivering teacher on staff" (e-Learning Ontario, 2007).

Desire 2 Learn (D2L) - A commercial provider of an asynchronous course management system.

Digital Content - "Subject matter developed and delivered via computer technology" (Watson, 2007, p. 32).

Digital Intranet - A term used by the "Vista School District Digital Intranet" project to refer to a district-based virtual school in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Digital Learning Resource - "Any resource that can be stored electronically on a computer and that can be used to support learning. Examples include maps and other visual aids; tutorials; demonstrations; educational games; lesson plans; and assessments. A digital learning resource that has an interactive component is called an interactive learning object" (e-Learning Ontario, 2007).

Digital School - "An online learning program in which students enroll and earn credit towards academic advancement (or graduation) based on successful completion of the courses (or other designated learning opportunities) provided by the school.... Sometimes referred to as a virtual school" (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005).

Distance Education - Moore (1972) differentiated distance education from traditional (i.e., classroom) education based upon teaching behavior. The first, contiguous teaching, included traditional teaching situations, such as lectures, seminars, classes, and tutorials. He described the method of contiguous teaching as the teacher being in immediate physical proximity to the students where they communicated using the human voice and this interaction was “immediate, spontaneous, often emotionally motivated” (p. 76). Alternatively, distance teaching was defined as “the family of instructional methods in which the teaching behaviors are executed apart from the learning behaviors” (p. 76). These teaching behaviors could include those performed by the contiguous teacher, however these would be mediated through print or electronic devices.

Distance Learning - "Educational activity in which the participants are separated by space (e.g., correspondence courses, online learning, videoconferencing)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).

Dual Enrollment - "A program that allows high school students to simultaneously earn college or vocational credit toward a postsecondary diploma, certificate, or degree at a state public institution that also will count as credit toward a high school diploma" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 120).

Dual Registration - "When a student is registered in both a virtual school and a conventional school and permits both delivery modalities as part of their educational program" (Smith, 2000, p. 17). This term is most commonly used in the Canadian Province of Alberta, and would refer to supplemental online learning programs.


e-Learning - "Instruction and content delivered via digital technologies, such as online or CD-ROM, or learning experiences that involve the use of computers. E-learning often (incorrectly) is used as another term for online learning" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 121).

e-Teacher - A term that means electronic teacher or a teacher of an online course. Typically an e-teacher is physically distant from the students that they teach.

eCollege - A commercial provider of an asynchronous course management system.

Educational Success Prediction Instrument (ESPRI) - “A measure designed to discriminate between successful and unsuccessful students in virtual high school (VHS) courses and provide a basis for counseling and support for future VHS students to make them more effective online learners.” (Roblyer & Marshall, 2003, p. 242).

Elluminate - A commercial provider of a synchronous communication tool or live online classroom.

Enrollment - "A single student being counted by a school towards the school’s share of state full-time equivalent funds—based on the student’s attending the school and taking courses. (Enrollment is distinguished from registration, which in this report means that a student signs up to take a course from a supplemental online program)" (Watson & Kalmon, 2005, p. 121).

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