'' 20 Technology Terms You Need to Know to Start an Online Education Program - The Online Learning Curve

20 Technology Terms You Need to Know to Start an Online Education Program

In an ever-evolving technological world, new terms are invented almost every day. While most of them aren’t necessary for all online educators to know, some of them are critical in understanding how to establish an online education environment. Here is our list of 20 need-to-know terms for starting an online education program.


A backup, or the process of backing up, is creating copies of original data to prevent data loss in the event of a system failure or crash.


A blacklist is an access control system which denies entry to a specific list (or a defined range) of users, programs, or network addresses. For example, companies like Google and Norton keep internal blacklists of sites known to have malware, and they display a warning before allowing users to access them. A more common blacklist is an e-mail spam filter that prevents unwanted or unauthorized mail from reaching its intended destination. (See whitelist below.)


Cache is a block of memory for temporary storage of data likely to be used again. When the cache client (e.g., web browser or operating system) needs to access data that is presumed to already exist, it first checks the cache. If an entry can be found, the data in the entry is used instead of searching for new data.


Also known as an HTTP cookie, a cookie is a message, or segment of data, containing information about a user, sent by a Web server to a browser and sent back to the server each time the browser requests a Web page.


Also referred to as a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL, a domain is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative authority or control in the Internet. A subdomain is a part of a larger domain. Subdomains are commonly used by organizations that wish to assign a unique name to a particular department, function, or service related to the organization. For example, campbellsville.edu is a domain, while online.campbellsville.edu represents a subdomain.

Domain Name System (DNS)

A simple analogy to explain the Domain Name System (DNS) is that it serves as a phone book for the Internet by translating human-friendly computer hostnames into Internet Protocol Address (IP Address). For example, the domain name www.example.com translates to the addresses and 2620:0:2d0:200:10.


A firewall is a technological barrier designed to prevent unauthorized or unwanted communications between computer networks or hosts. Many personal computers include software-based firewalls to protect against threats from the Internet. Students may need to remove firewalls in order to access their online courses.


Hosting is the act of owning or leasing web space (via a server) and providing Internet connectivity, typically through a data center.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of web pages. HTML consists of tags, enclosed in brackets (e.g., < html >), within the web page content. HTML tags most commonly come in pairs like < example > and < /example >, although some tags, known as empty elements, are unpaired (e.g., < img >). The first tag in a pair is the start tag; the second tag is the end tag. In between these tags web designers can add text, tags, comments, and other types of text-based content.


Integration, or system integration, is the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications, physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole.

Internet Protocol Address (IP Address)

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: network identification and location addressing. IP addresses are binary numbers, but they are usually displayed in readable notations, such as

Learning Management System (LMS)

At the most basic level, a learning management system (LMS) is a Web-based system that encompasses many different aspects of instruction. It gives you the features you need to create, deliver, and facilitate your course online without the help of any other software or database.
†¢ Learn more about LMSs
†¢ Learn about the major LMSs

Local Area Network (LAN)

A local area network (LAN) is a network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as home, school, computer laboratory or office building. Early LAN cabling had always been based on various grades of coaxial cable. However, as cabling is not always possible, wireless Wi-Fi is now the most common technology on campus premises, as the cabling required is minimal and it is well suited to mobile laptops and smartphones.


Moodle is a popular open source learning management system (LMS), which means that anyone can run the system free of charge and modify it to create a more customized platform for delivering instruction.


At its most basic level, a network is a collection of hardware components and computers connected by communication channels that share resources and information.


A plug-in is a piece of software which enhances another software application and usually cannot be run independently. For example, schools can add plug-ins, such as Gradebook, Activities and Themes to their Moodle portals.


A portal functions as a point of access to information from diverse sources in a unified way. For example, your Moodle portal provides students access to multiple courses in one location. eLearnPortal is a one-stop resource for education, industry and career information.


In most common use, a server is a physical computer dedicated to running one or more services to serve the needs of other computers in a network. Servers provide these essential services to private users inside a large organization or to public users via the Internet. For example, when you enter a search term in Google, the query (search term) is sent from your computer over the Internet to the servers that store relevant web pages. The results are sent back by the server to your computer.


Whitelist is a term used to describe a list of entities that are being provided a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition. Whitelists are evident in e-mail clients, local area network (LAN) security and software/application security. An e-mail whitelist is a list of contacts that a user deems are acceptable to receive email from. Another use for whitelists is local area network (LAN) security in which network administrators can setup whitelists to filter or control who is on their networks. Finally, an approach in combating viruses and malware is to whitelist software that is considered safe to run.


“What You See Is What You Get”
Learning management systems (LMSs) contain WYSIWYG editors, which allow you to insert text directly into a course. WYSIWYG editors work well for posting short announcements, but they may not be the best option for posting lecture material because problems with maintenance, backups, and portability may occur. With a WYSIWYG editor, you must create new pages for each section of chunked content; therefore, each time you want to update the material on a given page, the updates must be done manually (in the WYSIWYG editor) at every point that the material appears in the course. If you use a WYSIWYG editor, you will have no record of the material you placed in the course if the server hosting the software fails or some other technical difficulty occurs.

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