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Commonly Used Terms in Online Ed Degree Programs

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Online Education, or shortly known as Online Ed has emerged as a popular alternative to the conventions college programs in the recent times. Online programs are not only prevalent in higher education. But now KG classes, corporate training, and even government programs are offered via online courses. Students who prefer flexibility or want to continue work while studying usually prefer online degree courses. Although an online degree is considered equivalent to a traditional college degree but it has a distinct language which might be overwhelming to newcomers.

Here are some common terms used in online education so that newcomers can be acquainted with them prior attending a virtual classroom.

Virtual classroom: It is an online setting where the online teaching or learning takes place. It involves student and instructor interaction on classroom topics. It is generally opened through a special portal or link on the school website.
Distance education: This term is widely used as an alternative term for online education.  The term technically speaks of any educational circumstances where the programs are delivered by remote means. In recent times, this largely involves the usage of computers, the Internet, videoconferencing and other technologies. Further, it can also include courses that are offered by CD’s and even by written correspondence. The expected outcome of a distance education program is distance learning.
Computer-based training (CBT): This term denotes a learning process that relies on the use of computer technology. The related terms are computer-assisted instruction (CAI) and computer-managed instruction (CMI) which are also commonly used in online Ed.
Discussion board: it is an online forum where mentors and students interact by posting messages. In some online programs, it is directly referred as Forums.
Electronic whiteboard: Also known as the smart board or simply a whiteboard. It is a virtual dry-erase board used widely as a tool in online sessions. It allows students to view what instructors or presenters write or draw during an online session or presentation.
E-learning: This term is often used concurrently with online Ed, but it essentially has larger applications. The term technically speaks of any educational circumstances where the programs are delivered by electronic means. This largely involves the usage of computers, the Internet, videoconferencing, CD-ROM’s, and other technologies. For instance, virtual classroom signifies an e-learning environment.
Synchronous: It describes an online program where learning happens in real time. For instance, when students log in at specific times to view live lectures or attend live class discussions. A variety of technologies is used for this kind of interactions, such as electronic whiteboards, two-way live broadcasts or video- or audio-conferencing.
Asynchronous: It describes a program where student-to-instructor or student-to-student interactions happen intermittently instead of at specific times throughout a week or day. This involves e-mail communications, online discussion groups, self-paced courses, and other flexible learning opportunities. Online Ed mostly uses a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous along with learning.

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