Academic Testing Centers: Testing facilities located at each ACC campus as well as the Round Rock, San Marcos, and Fredericksburg ACC Centers. Confirm hours of operation for specific testing centers online at the Academic Testing Centers website.
Asynchronous Learning: Students and instructor are not together in real time. Examples: Instructional Television, Online courses
Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be transmitted over a network in a fixed amount of time, measured in kilobits, megabits, or gigabits per second (Kbps, Mbps, or Gbps).
Blackboard: An online course management system used by many ACC instructors to present course information to students. Detailed information is available on the Blackboard Support website.
Bookmarks / Favorites: A website URL stored for quick retrieval at a later date. Most web browsers have a built-in bookmark function, whereby the browser stores the URL with the page name attached. To return directly to the site, the user picks the page name from the list of saved bookmarks.
Broadband: Broadband technology can transmit data, audio, and video simultaneously over long distances at high-speed transmission.
Browser: A software application used to view webpages and navigate the Internet. Most web browsers can display text, graphics, sound, and video; additional plug-ins may be required for some multimedia formats. Examples: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari
Cable Modem: A modem that uses cable television's coaxial cables to transmit data at faster speeds than modems using telephone lines. A cable modem is faster than a dial-up connection.
CD-ROM: A computer disk (similar to an audio CD) that can hold more than 600 megabytes of read-only digital information including text, graphics, audio, and video. Supplemental CD-ROMs accompany many Distance Learning course textbooks.
Chat Room: Online space where participants have simultaneous discussions by typing messages on computer monitor that appear on all chat room participants' monitors.
Computer Literacy: User has basic knowledge of computer operations (copying files, printing documents, etc.); use of the Internet/World Wide Web (browsers, search engines); basic software applications (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.); email functions (sending/receiving messages, attaching files, etc.). Distance Learning offers an online Technical Skills Checklist with free tutorials.
Cookie: A piece of information stored by a website on a user's computer. Cookies are used to track data about the user, including user preferences and passwords. Most web browsers will allow the user to disable cookies; however, some websites block users who will not accept a cookie file.
Course Notes: Each ACC Distance Learning course is listed in the print and online Course Schedule with detailed information including instructor name and contact information; DL Course Orientation information; and other section information (Internet requirements, computer hardware or software requirements, etc.).
Course Number: Identifying number consisting of a four alpha character rubric (e.g., ENGL = English) followed by a four-digit number (e.g., 1301). The first digit represents the course level (1 = freshman; 2 = sophomore); the second digit is the number of credits in the course. The third and fourth digits in the number represent the sequence of the course.
Delivery Mode: The primary method or technology used to deliver instructional information to the student and used for communication between the instructor and the students. Additional information about Distance Learning delivery modes is available online.
Dial-Up Connection: A connection to an online system or Internet Service Provider made by dialing via a modem over a telephone line. A dial-up connection is slower than a cable modem.
Discussion Board / Forum: A discussion board is a tool that allows groups to communicate online. A discussion board consists of "threads" and "messages." A thread is a series of messages on a particular topic, and each message is an individual contribution to a conversation. When a forum is first accessed, a page appears which lists all the different threads in the forum. Participants can reply to threads that have already been posted or post new threads in the forum.
Distance Learning: Distance Learning provides ACC students with a flexible, convenient way to earn college credit. Instead of attending traditional on-campus classes, students complete a mandatory DL Course Orientation for each Distance Learning class, and satisfy course objectives independently using interactive instructional technologies. Each DL class has an instructor who interacts with students, leads the course, and provides assistance. Additional information about ACC's Distance Learning program is available online.
Distance Learning Course Orientation: A mandatory DL Course Orientation is required for each ACC Distance Learning class taken during the semester. It is the Distance Learning course's first day of class, where the instructor is introduced, students receive course materials (syllabus, assignment and testing schedules, ITV viewing schedule, etc.), and course requirements are explained. DL Course Orientations may be on site or online; students should check the section's Course Note in the Course Schedule for detailed information on each DL Course Orientation.
Distance Learning Help Line: A student service provided by Distance Learning Support Services at ACC that allows students to call (512) 223.8026 (toll-free: 888.223.8026), or for assistance with any questions they may have about distance education at ACC. If Help Line staff members do not have the information needed, they will refer the student to the appropriate ACC office.
Distance Testing: A student service provided by Distance Learning Support Services allowing students, with the permission of their instructor, to complete testing requirements outside the ACC service area at a commercial proctoring location or at another college or university. Completed exams are returned directly to the ACC instructor for grading. Distance Learning Support Services is not part of the decision-making process; it facilitates the instructor's decision. Review the Distance Testing Procedure online for full details.
Distributed Learning: A technology-mediated instruction that serves students both on and off-campus, providing greater flexibility and eliminating time as a barrier to learning.
Download: To transfer or copy a file to a user's computer from another connected individual computer, a computer network, a commercial online service, or the Internet.
DSL / Digital Subscriber Line: A type of high-speed broadband Internet connection that transmits data over regular copper telephone wires. DSL allows voice and high speed data to be sent simultaneously over the same line, so Internet and telephone services can be used at the same time. Maximum data transfer rates are generally 384 Kbps for downloads and 128 Kbps for uploads.
Early Intervention Program: A student success support service offered to ACC DL instructors by Distance Learning Support Services. Instructors may request assistance in contacting students via phone, email, or US Mail; or seek assistance in referring students to Distance Learning or college-wide support services, etc. to aid students in the successful completion of their Distance Learning course work.
ECS / Early College Start: An ACC program that makes it possible for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit while still attending high school, taking up to two classes per semester. For more information, visit the Early College Start website.
Email Address: An address or electronic mailbox enabling the user to send and/or receive messages online. The standard format is username@domain name. Example: email@example.com
Firewall: A combination of hardware and software technologies used on a network that gives the user access to the Internet while limiting the risk of an attack from outside the network, retaining internal network security. There are several types of firewalls including packet filter, circuit gateway, application gateway, or trusted gateway.
FTP / File Transfer Protocol: A method allowing users to connect to a remote computer and transfer files available to the public to their own computer hard disk.
Hardware: The mechanical, electrical, and electronic components of a computer system. Examples: keyboard, monitor, sound card
Home Page: The first page of a website introducing or identifying the site and providing additional links to other pages within the site.
HTML / Hypertext Mark-up Language: A computer language often used when writing webpages.
HYD / Hybrid Course: HYD courses blend traditional classroom instruction with online distance education. Students meet on-site for lectures or presentations one class period a week and complete the rest of their weekly coursework independently using the Internet. Additional details about the Hybrid delivery mode are available online. (For information about developing and delivering a Hybrid course, DL Faculty should refer to the Hybrid courses website.)
Internet (the Net): A worldwide network connecting millions of computers. This network allows information to be shared in the form of email, websites, computer files, and streaming audio and video. It was created in 1969 by the US government to facilitate research at colleges and universities.
Instant Messaging: A form of electronic communication that involves real-time correspondence between two or more users who are all online simultaneously. An instant messaging program sends messages from one computer to another by means of small pop-up windows.
ISDN / Integrated Services Digital Network: A telecommunications standard that uses digital transmission technology to support voice, video, and data communications applications over regular copper telephone lines, resulting in better quality and higher speeds (up to 128Kbps) than available with analog systems. Slower than DSL.
ISP / Internet Server Provider: A company that connects a user's computer to the Internet. The provider company may charge two ways: unlimited connection time for a flat fee, or a flat fee charge for a set number of hours with an additional charge for hours above that amount.
ITV / Instructional Television Course: ITV courses are conducted using pre-recorded video programs, which are often supplemented by a textbook or study guide. Students may view telecourse programs in a variety of ways. Most programs are broadcast locally on cable. Videotapes of telecourse programs are also available to be viewed on campus in a Media Center. Some telecourses have been streamed, and are available to be viewed online. All Distance Learning courses may have supplemental email and Internet activities; the Course Schedule will indicate when Internet access is mandatory. Students should complete the mandatory DL Course Orientation for specific details about how the Instructional Television class is conducted. Additional information about ITV courses is available online.
LAN /Local Area Network: A small network connecting computers and/or devices in a limited geographic area.
Learning Labs: On-campus tutoring facilities available to all ACC students providing individual and group tutoring, specialized workshops, and computer-based tutoring services in more than seventeen subject areas. Not all subject areas are available at all learning labs. Visit the Learning Labs website for locations, schedules of operation, tutoring subject areas available at specific learning lab locations, etc.
Listserv: An email-based mailing list software program for subscribing members. Individuals send email to the listserv email address, and all members on the distribution list receive the message.
Modem: A device that enables computers to interact with each other via telephone lines by converting digital signals to analog for transmitting and back to digital for receiving.
Netiquette (Internet Etiquette): Online manners and rules of conduct for Internet users. One of the primary rules of netiquette is not typing messages in all uppercase letters, which is considered the equivalent of shouting.
Online Services: A web interface that allows ACC students and faculty members to access information contained in ACC's administrative database. Students are given access to an Online Services account within one workday of being officially classified as a student by an ACC Advisor. Students may use Online Services to register and pay for classes, make schedule changes, review grades by semesters, check financial aid status, and evaluate Distance Learning courses.
OPC / Open Campus: The three-letter campus designation used in the Course Schedule and ACC registration system to denote a Distance Learning course.
Operating System: Software that allows applications (word processors, spreadsheets, etc.) to run on a computer. Examples: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Password: A secret combination of characters used in computing to control access and thus to ensure privacy and data security.
ONL / Online Course: ONL courses require students to have access to a computer with an Internet connection and a personal email address to complete coursework online. Students may use their own computers, or they may use the ACC Computer Centers on campus. ONL instructors may use some or all of the following to conduct courses: email, chat rooms, discussion boards, CD-ROMs, streaming media, and Blackboard. Students should complete the mandatory DL Course Orientation for specific details about how the online class is conducted. Additional information about ONL courses is available online.
PDF / Portable Document Format: A file format developed by Adobe Systems to enable users of any hardware or software platform to view documents exactly as they were created, with fonts, images, links, and layouts as they were originally designed. PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader software program to display.
Plug-Ins: A program that adds a specific feature to a user's browser so it is able to play/view certain files. Examples: Flash, Shockwave
PRN / Print-Based Course: PRN courses use textbooks or study guides as the primary mode of instruction, although some may incorporate audio and videotapes. All Distance Learning courses may have supplemental email and Internet activities; the Course Schedule will indicate when Internet access is mandatory. Students should complete the mandatory DL Course Orientation for information on textbooks and other course requirements, and specific details about how the print-based class is conducted. Additional information about PRN courses is available online.
Proctor: A designated person who supervises the taking of an examination. Students who have been approved by a Distance Learning course's instructor to participate in the Distance Testing program are required to find a proctor at an official testing center or other approved institution to facilitate testing requirements.
SACS / Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: A private, nonprofit, voluntary organization founded in 1895 in Atlanta, Georgia. Its purpose is to set and maintain educational standards in order to improve educational programs in schools and colleges in the eleven states of the Southeastern US and Latin America that comprise the SACS service area.
Search Engine: A web-based software program that allows users to search the Internet using keywords to find specific information, documents, or webpages. Examples: Google, Yahoo! Search, Ask.com
Course Section: An individual offering of an ACC course during an academic session or semester. Each section is identified by a three-digit number in the ACC Course Schedule. ENGL 1301 is an ACC course; however, there may be multiple sections of ENGL 1301 during any session or semester.
Server: A central computer that stores collections of data and programs used for connecting PCs and/or other devices linked to a network.
SMARTHINKING: An online tutoring service available to currently enrolled ACC students (15 free hours per semester). Interested students should contact the Learning Labs for account Username/Password and login instructions.
Software: Programs that run on a computer.
Spam: Unsolicited email, often advertising or chain letters, etc.
SREB / Southern Regional Education Board: The Board was created in 1948 as a means to help education and government leaders work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. Texas is one of sixteen states participating in SREB's Educational Technology Cooperative.
Streaming Media: Video or audio transmitted over a network that users can begin to play immediately. Rather than having to wait for a large multimedia file to download all at once, streaming allows the user to see and hear that file as it is being downloaded to the user's computer. Typically a few seconds of data is sent ahead and buffered in case of network transmission delays. Examples: RealMedia, QuickTime, Windows Media
Syllabus: A course guide providing required course readings, instructional calendar (testing schedule, assignment dates, school holidays, etc.), instructor contact information, grading parameters, description of student services offered college-wide or specifically by Distance Learning.
Synchronous Learning: The student and instructor are together in "real time." Synchronous learning can include such options as computer conferencing or interactive video conferences. Example: Interactive Video (IVC) courses
Synonym Number: The five-digit number assigned to each section of an ACC course offering. The unique synonym number identifies the course section in the ACC registration system.
System Requirements: The technological components required to run a software application, such as the operating system, hardware configuration, bandwidth, and processing power. Often two sets of system requirements are given for an item of software: a minimum set of requirements (which must be satisfied for the software to be usable at all) and a recommended set of requirements (for maximum performance).
T1 Line: A traditional trunk line that carries 24 regular telephone circuits and has a transmission rate of 1.5 Kb. T1 lines are often used by corporate, government, and academic institutions.
Teleconferencing: Two-way electronic communication between two or more groups in separate locations via audio, video, and/or computer systems or live, interactive satellite downlinks.
Telecourse: A type of distance education course consisting of video programs viewed by the student, usually on cable access television, as the primary means of delivering instruction. See "ITV / Instructional Television Course" for additional information.
THECB / Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: Created by the Texas Legislature in 1965, the THECB was formed to provide leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system to achieve excellence for the college education of Texas students.
URL / Universal Resource Locator: The electronic address of a website. It begins with "http://www" or just "www." There are three basic parts to the address: a) "www" followed by a period; b) the organization's second-level domain name followed by a period; and c) the purpose of the organization or first level domain. Examples: http://dl.austincc.edu or www.austincc.edu
User ID: A name or nickname that identifies the user of a computer system or network.
VCT / Virtual College of Texas: A consortium of the 50 community and technical colleges in Texas providing distance education courses throughout the state. Participating colleges may either host a course or provide the instruction to a participating member college. Students register for the VCT course at their home college. The host college transcripts the completed course and makes available student services locally. The provider college may use a variety of distance education delivery modes. Additional information about ACC's VCT program is available for ACC students and faculty members. The VCT course schedule is online at the VCT website.
WWW / World Wide Web: Files from millions of computers connected by the Internet making it possible for the user to see and hear multimedia on their computer.
Zip File: A file that has been compressed, or reduced in size, to save storage space and allow faster transferring across a network over the Internet. To read the information, the file must be uncompressed into its original form.
- Distance Learner's Guide. Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, George P. Connick, Ed. Prentice Hall, Saddle River New Jersey, 1999.
- The Successful Distance Learning Student. Carl M. Wahlstrom, Brian K. Williams, and Peter Shea. Thompson Wadsworth, Belmont, California, 2003.
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