Net Learning Center’s “K.I.S.S.” Online Learning Glossary
Technical Terminology with Tips to to make online learning easy

ADA-compliant: ADA stands for “Americans with Disabilities Act”. Content that is ADA-compliant is also known as 508-compliant, 508 referring to the U.S. law’s number. Compliance means that every page can be completely understood and navigated by people who cannot see the page or cannot hear it. It goes beyond serving people with physical disabilities and extends to technology and environmental limits.

Limited Visual: People who have visual limitations typically use either extra large text or a screen reader to read the words on a web page.

    • Text size: Viewing with enlarged text can be accommodated by allowing word wrap and scrolling on every page and every menu. Test by viewing on a screen where fonts are enlarged to the maximum. An iPad is an excellent test tool because it will show if you have any segments where wrapping and scrolling are not usable.
    • Images: When an image contains an important part of the page message, alternate text needs to explain it. Test your page for whether an important graphic is adequately described by renaming the folder where the images are stored. If the page doesn’t make sense without them, revise.

Limited Auditory: People who are unable to hear the sound components of a program. This is not just those with damaged hearing, but also whose computers can not transmit sound. This extends to environments where workers are not permitted to use sound or headphones.

    • Videos: Videos must have subtitles or text transcripts. Turn off your sound and see whether you can follow the video.
    • Podcasts: Speech to text software can translate audio into text. Make sure that audio content is free of background music or sounds that interfere with understanding the message.

Copyright “Fair Use”: Fair Use means that it is fair for an educator to make limited use of some copyrighted materials within the classroom, when the content is only for enrolled students. The online environment has special dangers for copyrighted content. When content is posted in a public page, it becomes available for anyone to download and appropriate anonymously. An instructor must still be mindful of protecting any copyrighted work they from appropriation by the students. When a large extract of a document, image or video is used, it should be in a form that embeds the authorship and any copyright information. Permission statements should be displayed. FairUseChecklist.pdf. More information:, and .

Course Management System (CMS) – most simply, a Web site where students can log in, access course information, interact, share, and teach others

LMS: A Learning Management System includes the whole environment found in a typical school, the classroom, administrative services, instructor services, student services, registration, textbooks and library, even the social environment.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) serve two distinctly different purposes. While an LMS’s primary role is to automate the administrative aspects of training, an LCMS is focused on managing training content in the form of ‘learning objects’. The concept of learning resources is changing from that of a ‘course’, consisting of 20 minutes to an hour of continuous presentation, to a ‘re-usable learning object’ approach, which may be a few seconds to a few minutes of material.

Return on Investment (ROI) – Direct and Indirect savings, factoring in the value of improved productive performance when possible. Standard equation calculation:

Return = Measurable Benefit per student / Cost of Course per student

SCORM: An acronym that in simple terms means technical features that enable content including tests to be extracted from one LMS and imported easily into another one.

Stateful: A stateful system will behave differently depending on the current state of a situation. If connecting from a Mac, it uses Apple-friendly methods, if using a Microsoft browser, it responds to the Microsoft command set. A mobile phone will be detected and see a mobile-friendly screen. In a system that can run offline but store master data online, it would detect the state of the online connect and store locally if offline, and proceed with synchronizing if online, offline would allow local storage.

Student Information System (SIS) The Student Information System is a component that provides for student profile, enrollment tracking, progress towards degree or certificate, log online time and activity.

Software as a Service (SaaS) An SaaS platform is one that is handled completely online. Nothing to install on student, instructor or administrator computers. This assures long term growth and evolution while helping to cut the capital and continuing expenses. With an onsite system, many capital and continuing expenses must be accounted for: hardware and software purchase and installation, expensive outgoing server connectivity and associated security requirements, regular system maintenance, system storage, data backup and off-site storage, licensing, server and workstation upgrades. Bullets: lower initial cost, reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), faster implementation, little or no IT staff burden, improved security – data is stored in professional data center with tested daily backups, scalability is assured, continuous enhancement while maintaining stability of custom mods.

Subject Matter Expert (SME) – This is the person who prepares the content of a class, the author of the materials used. For web-based classes, the SME may be asked to convert a live class to online, outline extracted materials from a textbook into online lessons or sessions, or select materials from an instructor-led offering to enable self-guided completion.

TMI – Too Much Information, which some online providers work hard to provide.

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