NOTE: Most of these definitions are adapted from the glossary at, a site dedicated to e-learning resources by the American Society for Training and Development.

asynchronous learning learning in which interaction between instructors and students occurs intermittently with a time delay. Examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet, online discussion groups, and email.

avatar in online environments, a virtual digital image representing a person. The term comes from a Sanskrit word meaning an incarnation in human form.

blog (web + log) regular journal-like entries published on a web site for public viewing. Blogs usually contain links to other sites along with the thoughts, comments, and personality of the blog's creator. Also “weblog.”

chat real-time, text-based communication in a virtual environment. Chat can be used in e-mentoring for questions, feedback, and group discussion.

Classroom 2.0 a network of teachers interested in 21st century tools and technology, created using the Ning platform

discussion board forum where users can post messages for others to read and respond to asynchronously

edublog a blog written by someone with a stake in education. Examples might include blogs written by or for teachers, blogs maintained for the purpose of classroom instruction, or blogs written about educational policy. The collection of these blogs is called the “edublogosphere” by some, in keeping with the larger blogosphere (from

home page a document that has an address (URL) on the Web, is maintained by a person or a group, and contains pointers to other pieces of information

Ning a free, web-based platform for creating, extending, and customizing a social network

personal learning environment (PLE) a network both real and virtual that is created, controlled, and managed by the learner to achieve personal learning goals

post to publish content on a discussion board, wiki, blog, or web site

RSS (real simple syndication or rich site summary) technology that enables users to subscribe to new content as it is generated at their favorite web sites (blogs, wikis, social networks, news services, etc.) so they don't have to visit the sites themselves to check for new information

social network a web site that provides users with a variety of tools to help them construct personal home pages and locate and connect with other users with similar interests and backgrounds

synchronous learning real-time learning event in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. In this virtual classroom setting, a moderator typically guides the session and "calls on" participants. In most platforms, participants can use a whiteboard to see work in progress and share knowledge. Interaction may occur via chat, audio, video or some combination. See also videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and webcast.

Tapped In a web-based learning environment that is one part social network and one part collaborative conferencing tool with capabilities for real-time, text-based conversation (chat) as well as discussion boards for asynchronous learning

teleconferencing two-way electronic communication between two or more groups in separate locations via audio, video, and/or computer systems

thread an asynchronous series of messages on a particular topic on a discussion board that mimics synchronous conversation. In a threaded discussion, it is possible to post a reply to a particular commenter, or to the forum as a whole.

URL (uniform resource locator) the address of a page on the Web, example:

videoconferencing using video and audio signals to link participants at different and remote locations

visual editor a program that allows the user to quickly design a web page without writing code; the user can add, edit, and format elements in an interface that closely resembles a word processor. See also WYSIWYG.

webcast (web + broadcast) a broadcast of video signals that's digitized and streamed on the Web, and which may also be made available for download

whiteboard an electronic version of a dry-erase board that enables participants in a virtual classroom to write, draw, and brainstorm. Also called a “smartboard” or “electronic whiteboard."

WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) pronounced “wiz-e-wig,” describes any application that enables the user to create content on the screen that is an almost exact representation of the final product once published. Examples of WYSIWYG programs include all the popular desktop publishing applications.

Web 2.0 a much-contested term that is often used to describe the newest generation of the Internet that is highly interactive and built on user-generated content; blogs, wikis, webcasts, social networks, and podcasts are examples of “Web 2.0” tools.

web-based a term used to describe tools, programs, and software applications accessed via an Internet browser over the public Internet, rather than through a personal computer or internal network server

wiki an interactive, editable web site built and maintained by a community of users who share an interest in a specific topic

Wikispaces an “out-of-the-box,” online application that enables users to write, edit, and publish web sites called wikis