A member of the school’s faculty or staff trained to help students choose the courses for their particular degree program. Every full-time student is generally assigned an academic advisor, who will help him or her complete the course registration process.
A college or educational program that has recognized and certified as fulfilling basic quality standards by one of the major national or regional accrediting agencies. Read about accrediting agencies. Proper accreditation confirms that a school maintains educational standards that will qualify you for admission to more advanced programs (graduate or Ph.D.) and for employment by the most discerning companies.
A small program that’s embedded in the underlying (source) code of a webpage, which will run videos, podcasts, images with animation, or other similar functions. Most applets are written in Java programming language. Some require you to download a player on your computer to view properly, and it’s not unusual for an applet to cause problems with the firewall on your computer network or the security system on your individual computer.
A degree from a university or college based on the satisfactory completion of two years’ full-time study or it’s part-time equivalent (some are a bit more than two years, but all are less than four years). Associates’ Degrees are either “terminal,” meaning that are vocational (the highest course of study you would take for a particular job skill) or they are “transfer,” meaning that they comprise the first two years of a four year degree you will complete by transferring to another school. The AA (associate of arts) and AS (associate of science) are two of the most widely granted associate degrees. Community College offer a particularly wide range of associate degrees.
Any lecture or learning event that’s delivered after the live event takes place. Asynchronous learning allows students to take classes according to their schedules, rather then having to be online at a specific time. Classes delivered in this style often include portals where students can ask questions and communicate with each other after the class is delivered. Sometimes called “learner-centric,” these classes allow class and teacher action to take place in a time-delayed fashion.
Classes where students, usually together in a classroom, view a presentation on T.V. through web-based software, and both listen to and conduct a two-way conversation with the presenter via a phone connection.
“Listening in” to a course – signing up for and taking it without credit. Generally done either by students who simply want to lean something for it’s own sake or who want to do a “dry run” of an extremely difficult course before taking it for credit.
The basic undergraduate degree awarded by a four-year college or university. While the overwhelming majority of bachelors degrees take four years to complete, they can actually take anywhere from 3 – 5 years. Most involve about 120 credit hours. They are designed to give the student a systematic way of learning a particular subject area in-depth, though generally with less career-specific focus than a masters degree. The B.A. – Bachelor of Arts and the B.S. – Bachelor of Science are the most common degrees.
Study for a bachelor’s level degree.
The speed at which web pages and other data can be transmitted over a cable, through a phone line or through a wireless device to your computer. Generally, students taking courses online need a “broadband” connection of some type to be able to open the videos, presentations and discussion boards involved in e-learning without long waiting times.
A website that allows a writer or “blogger” to put in lots of comments and have them show in chronological order. Blogs from popular suppliers like WordPress are used by amateurs and professionals alike to write a series of short articles on a topic that interests them, get back comments from anyone who reads it and actually allow people to subscribe by RSS or email in many cases. Short for “web log,” a blog offers an easy and often free way for a writer to create a website, without having to design pages and set up hosting as with most full-scale websites.
Usually a broadband connection to your computer is delivered via cable or DSL. This type of service allows you to download web pages or any other type of online data much more quickly than what’s possible through a dial-up connection. A broadband connection is highly recommended for virtually any online learning program.
A program that allows you to view websites on your computer, or on a Blackberry, iPhone or other hand-held device. Internet Explorer and Firefox are the two most popular browsers on computers in the U.S.
A virtual area where several students can communicate at the same time, by writing comments and viewing comments from others. Sometimes used to create a session where online course students can all ask questions of a professor in one compact session rather than communicating individually by email.
“College Level Examination Program” tests, given by the College Board (which also gives the SAT) that measure whether or not a student has a college-level proficiency in a particular subject. Several thousand colleges offer credit for passing a CLEP test, which reduces the number of credits a student may have to take to get a degree. CLEP tests generally cost $60 apiece.
A group of students working together through a particular degree program. Though it’s not required that all complete the program at the same time, the group can provide each other with educational support. Large colleges find cohorts particularly helpful in giving students a more personalized learning experience.
A small piece of code sent to your computer from a web server. A cookie can make it easier for you to access a site – generally by “remembering” your login information when you return again and again. However, cookies can be used to track a person’s behavior online to some degree. Most reputable sites do place cookies on the machines of people who visit them. Although the argument is sometimes made that they violate web users’ privacy, cookies are not viruses or spyware.
Course Management System
A tool that allows professors to post information, assignments and even tests in a central location online where students can access them. “CMS” portals (many of which area supplied by a Washington-based company called Blackboard) can also allow online degree students to participate in discussion boards, hand in assignments online and get grades.
Credits granted to a student based on the number of hours he or she has spent in class in an average week.
Diploma Mill or Degree Mill
A non-accredited school that gives “fake” degrees for a fee, usually for very little or no schoolwork. Read about legitimate life experience degrees.
Any process where a teacher does instruction to a student or many students in other locations. Originally done via correspondence courses through the mail, most distance learning today is done through the internet.
The most advanced degree in a specialty, usually given after three or more years of study beyond a bachelors or masters degree. The Ph.D. or Doctor of Philosophy degree is generally the highest degree awarded in a specialty, and requires the candidate to do a significant amount of original research, a dissertation and an intensive examination – often done in a live setting. Specialized doctorate degrees, not called Ph.D.s, are offered in the arts, engineering and many other categories.
A study program delivered through a network to a student using a computer. This includes a wide variety of course types, from courses taught by a life teacher either in a synchronous or asynchronous format, to learning delivered purely by a computer. Read about types of online courses available.
A FAFSA is a “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” It’s the form officially sanctioned by the federal government to determine which students are eligible for financial aid. The form, which is time consuming to fill out and requires a significant level of information on family financial status, is used not only by federal loan agencies, but also by state and local governments and even individual schools to determine which students will get education loans. Read about how to get government loans for college.
An advanced degree being pursued by a student who already has a bachelors or professional degree. Graduate degrees include master, Ph.D. (doctoral) and professional degrees.
LOOK AT SDEGREES SITE DESCRIPTION / READ OUR STORY Hope Scholarship Tax Credit
The Hope Scholarship Credit may be claimed for the qualified tuition and related expenses of each student in the taxpayer’s family (i.e. the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or an eligible dependent) who is enrolled at least half-time in one of the first two years of postsecondary education and who is enrolled in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.
Sometimes called simply “IM,” a software that allows two users to open dialogue boxes on their computer and type and send messages to each other in real time. Instant messaging can be used for communication among students or between one student and a professor. The most popular programs from Yahoo!, MSN and ICQ allow users to send files to each other in addition to text messages.
Internet Service Provider
The company that gives you access to the Internet, generally for a fee. “ISPs” can be either dial up services, which have declined tremendously in popularity due to slow download speeds, or broadband services such as cable or DSL.
The study of non-technical subjects, generally in the humanities and social sciences.
A postgraduate degree given for advanced study (beyond college-level bachelor’s degree coursework) for an online degree or traditional degree program one to four years in length. Master’s degrees in the liberal arts, including the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, are awarded for advanced scholarship. Professional master’s degrees, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Education, are awarded as specific qualifications to practice in a particular career area. There are also more advanced master’s degrees given for highly specialized study in areas of law or medicine.
A student who has been out of the formal education process for at least five years and has accumulated a unique life experience. The term is often applied to the many adult online learners at colleges, universities or community colleges who are older than the typical 18 – 21 year-old college student.
Distance learning that’s delivered via the internet (as upposed to an internal school or company network).
A program downloaded to your computer that allows you to run applications such as video, audio or webconferencing.
A selection of courses, usually decided upon by a student with the help of an academic advisir, needed to complete the requirements for an online degree or other type of degree. The pool will include a mix of required and elective courses in almost every case.
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
An assessment by a school specialist that identifies how much credit you can get for knowledge you have gained outside the classroom. This can include learning through work, independent study, non-credit courses or basic experiences in your life. PLA’s are typically done when a student would like to transfer into a school or begin studying without spending time on basic introductory courses. Credible schools will often grand credits after a PLA. Schools that seem willing to give full scale degrees for life experience tend to be diploma mills.
A school owned and operated by a private entity, and not supported mainly by public funding. Private colleges and universities are generally far more expensive to attend than public ones.
A school that’s funded with government money and operated by officials appointed by the government. State universities are the best known public institutions of higher education. They generally charge lower fees for in-state students than those from outside the school’s home state.
A degree program where students pursue both classroom learning and get credit for work experience at the same time.
A degree required by a professional licensure board before one can practice in a that particular profession. You must complete a minimum of two years of college study before entering most professional degree (or “first professional degree”) programs. Among the areas where professional degrees are given is medicine, podiatry, pharmacy and dentistry.
Student-initiated and controlled learning, usually done with a CD-ROM or an online presentation not done in real time, where there is no interaction between the student and an instructor.
A video you can view as it is downloading, rather than having to wait until the complete video file is received and saved onto your computer. YouTube and other popular video sites almost all use streaming video technology so users can look at videos more quickly.
A summary that outlines what a particular class covers, due dates for homework and a schedule of exams, given out at the beginning of a course by the professor or instructor. The syllabus will also include any groundrules for an online degree course, as well as contact information for the professor. (plural is syllabi).
A type of online course where students and professor log on at the same time, according to a schedule, to interact in real time. System Requirements The basic requirements you need in order to download and run a particular type of software. Online courses usually require one of the most widely used operating systems such as windows, and a minimal amount of bandwidth and processing power.
The highest degree you can possibly obtain in a particular area of specialization. Teleconferencing – using telecommunications to link sites, students and/or teachers, as in audioconferencing or videoconferencing.
An electronic bulletin board where professors and students can post comments and view all comments posted by each other. A variety of forum software packages are used to create threaded discussions, but they are generally laid out as a list of topics. A user can either initiate a “thread” by posting the first comment on a subject, or go into an existing area to add a comment to what others have already said about something. This is an asynchronous style of communication, where the communications can be posted at any time, but can all be viewed whenever a user logs on. In distance learning, a threaded discussion provides a good substitute for live discussion.
A college student who is pursuing a certificate, two-year associate degree, or four-year bachelor’s degree. A student who is enrolled in a college or university associate or bachelor’s degree program, who has not yet earned his or her first bachelor degree.
A higher education school which usually grants both bachelor’s and more advanced degrees (master’s, Ph.D.), usually comprised of several specialized colleges of learning.
A means of connecting a classroom with a teacher or lecturer in a different location, which allows for live communication between the two. Videoconferencing is generally delivered through television monitors connected via phone lines, and can allow for demonstrations and question and answer periods to be conducted among several different locations at once.
A location on the Internet where professors and students communicate with each other.
Web Based Training (WBT)
Education content delivered to a web browser over the Internet or a private network. WBT is similar to other forms of distance learning, but the term is generally used to refer to corporate or professional training programs.
An electronic blackboard, which can be used either in a live class or a distance learning environment. Whiteboards allow online degree students to see what the teacher is writing by hand on their computer screens.