This glossary provides definitions for all the technical terms used in this document, plus a few other common terms.
Asynchronous learning
Students sign on to the Internet, access course materials and send messages to their teacher and other students, at a time that is convenient for them. Students are not required to sign on to the Internet at a specific time.
A text, image or sound file that you attach to an e-mail message so that the receiver can view, save and retrieve the document.
The capacity and speed of a network. Computer networks need higher bandwidth for audio and video than for e-mail. There are two types of bandwidth. Broadband is faster and is used for complex telecommunications. Narrow-band is slower and is used for voice and fax communications.
A feature on your Web browser that allows you to save your favourite sites so that you can return to them easily.
Software that allows you to search for specific information, view a web page and download materials. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator are examples of browsers.
Bulletin board
A computer service that allows users to post messages that are read later by others. Most bulletin boards focus on a specific issue or topic. Similar to a newsgroup, except bulletin boards may be restricted to a specific group of people, for example, students enrolled in a class, while newsgroups can be accessed by the public.
CD-ROM (Compact disc - Read only memory)
Laser-read disks that are often used to store computer software. Can also be used to store sound and pictures.
Chat room
An Internet service that lets users write messages to each other. The messages appear instantly on the screen of other people who are in the chat room at the same time.
Electronic mail sent via the Internet.
Combinations of keyboard characters that express emotion. For example, happy :-); sad :-(.
Filtering system
Software that screens material on the Internet and prevents users from accessing certain content. Usually used to prevent children from accessing inappropriate websites or content.
Millions of networks of computers connected together all across the world. Components of the Internet include: the World Wide Web, newsgroups, chat rooms, bulletin boards and e-mail.
Internet Acceptable Use Policy
A policy established by a school board, hospital board, library board or other similar agency that outlines the purposes for which computers under its control may be used, and the type of content which may and may not be accessed.
Internet service provider (ISP)
A business that provides the public with access to the Internet, usually for a fee. The Sympatico service which operates in several Canadian provinces is an example of an ISP.
Guidelines for courteous behaviour on the Internet. For example, using all capital letters in a message is the equivalent of shouting and is considered rude.
A public Internet discussion group devoted to a single issue or topic. Users post messages that are read later by others. Users often have to subscribe to access a newsgroup. Similar to a bulletin board, except that newsgroups can be accessed by the public and bulletin boards are often restricted to a particular group of people, for example, students in a specific course.
A secret word that is needed to access a school course or special service on the Internet.
Search engine
An Internet site that allows you to search the Web for information by key words, names, categories, etc. Yahoo, Google and AltaVista are examples of search engines.
Splash pages
Pages on a website that flash on and off, or have parts that move around quickly. Often used on the home page of a website to make it bright, catchy and interesting.
Synchronous learning
Students sign on to the Internet at a specific time. They receive course materials and messages in real time, that is, when the materials and messages are sent, and can respond immediately.
User name
Some specialized computer services are available only to registered users or subscribers. In order to access these services, users often have to provide their name (and sometimes also a password).
World Wide Web (the Web or www)
The multimedia part of the Internet. It allows you to view web pages that contain text, pictures, sound and video. Although the Web is only one component of the Internet, the terms are often (and incorrectly) used interchangeably.
Source: The terms in this glossary have been adapted from the following sources: Barker, 2002; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1999; CanConnect, n.d.; Industry Canada, 2002; University of North Carolina, n.d.