Asynchronous – communication that is separated by time such as email or online discussion forums; it may be accessed from multiple settings (in school and/or out of school buildings).

Blended learning – is when a student learns part of the time in a supervised brick-and-mortar location and part of the time through online delivery of instruction and/or when a student learns in a supervised brick-and-mortar location that uses technology as a primary method to deliver instruction. 

Digital learning – is any learning facilitated by technology that gives students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace.

Full-time online schools – also called cyber or virtual schools, work with students who are enrolled primarily (often only) in the online school. Online schools typically are responsible for their students’ scores on state assessments. In some states most full-time online schools are charter schools.

Hybrid Learning – often used synonymously with blended learning; typically refers to blending multiple modes of learning – combining online and on-site pedagogies and materials within the same classroom.

Learning Management System (LMS) – includes content management, communication tools, instructional tools, gradebook and assessment features.

Online learning – instruction via a web-based educational delivery system that includes software to provide a structured learning environment. It can be a teacher-led education that takes place over the Internet, with the teacher and student separated geographically (also cyber learning, e-learning, distance learning).

Open education resources (OER) – freely available instructional materials that can be redistributed.

Social learning – like Facebook for schools, social learning platforms provide a messaging and content sharing among groups. Leading platforms manage privacy issues.

State-led online initiatives – are different from state virtual schools in that these initiatives typically offer online tools and resources for schools across the state but do not have a centralized student enrollment or registration system for students in online courses.

State virtual schools – are created by legislation or by a state-level agency, and/or administered by a state education agency, and/or funded by a state appropriation or grant for the purpose of providing online learning opportunities across the state.

Supplemental online programs – provide a small number of courses to students who are enrolled in a school separate from the online program.

Synchronous – communication in which participants interact in real time such as videoconferencing.

Virtual Classroom – place for instructors and students to interact and collaborate in real time (synchronously). Using webcams, chat boxes and class discussion features, it resembles the traditional classroom, except all participants are accessing it remotely over the Internet.

(adapted from Keeping Pace 2010)