The Glossary of Higher Ed

All the terms that matter in post-secondary education

Educational terms beginning with letter “A”

  • Absolute Grading

    Absolute grading is a mode of grading where grades are given based on predetermined cutoff levels. Here, each point…

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  • Academic Advisor

    Academic advisor is someone in a professional position at an institution who may guide prospective and current students…

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  • Academic Affairs

    Academic affairs is the institutional office that oversees a variety of academic programs and departments at a school.…

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  • Academic Benchmarks

    Academic benchmarks involve setting measurable standards for evaluating one’s learning. Academic benchmarks may be set…

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  • Academic Hold

    An academic hold is a type of restriction imposed by a school to prevent students from enrolling in classes or gaining…

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  • Academic Literacy

    Academic literacy is the ability to understand and contextualize the academic vocabulary required in post-secondary…

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  • Academic Rigor

    What is Academic Rigor Academic Rigor is generally regarded as three different steps in the educational process. The…

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  • Accelerated Learning

    Accelerated learning is a learning format that allows students to complete courses in a shorter period of time compared…

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  • Accreditation

    Accreditation is a recognition awarded to schools that maintain a certain educational standard. The goal of the…

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  • Accuplacer

    Accuplacer is a testing system used to determine whether post-secondary students are academically prepared to take…

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  • Active Learning

    Active learning is a pedagogical technique coined by professors Charles Bonwell and James Eison in their 1991 book…

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  • Administrative Hold

    An administrative hold is a type of restriction imposed on students by their institution for a variety of infractions.…

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  • Affective Domain

    The affective domain is one of the three domains in Bloom’s Taxonomy. It involves feelings, attitudes, and emotions.

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  • Agile Learning

    Agile learning is a method which uses incremental steps that alternate between phases of learning and completing work…

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  • At Risk Student

    An at-risk student describes a student or groups of students who are likely to fail or drop out of their school. Grades,…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “B”

  • Backward Design

    Backward design is a method of educational curriculum design that sets goals prior to selecting instructional methods…

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  • Balanced Assessment

    A balanced assessment is an assessment system where tools, methodologies and data systems inform decision-makers such as…

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  • Blended Learning

    Blended learning combines in-person teaching and interaction with supplemental online educational elements. An…

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  • Block Scheduling

    Block scheduling is a method that is used in the American education system, where each student has approximately four…

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  • Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills that can help teachers and students in the classroom.…

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  • Bursar’s Office

    The bursar's office is responsible for collecting and analyzing all student charges and fees which includes tuition and…

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  • BYOD

    Bring your own device (BYOD) is a principle where students bring personal digital devices to class to help improve…

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  • BYOT

    Bring your own technology (BYOT) is a policy that permits students or employees to use their digital devices at school…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “C”

  • Canvas

    Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that students and instructors use throughout the semester. Available for…

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  • Catalog Year

    Catalog year indicates the year that a student began studying at a particular institution. For example, if a student…

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  • Certificate Program

    Certificate Programs are shorter and generally more affordable than degree programs. They are typically eight to twelve…

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  • Co-Teaching

    Co-teaching is an educational method that involves two teachers working together to plan a classroom and make…

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  • College Remediation

    What is College Remediation College Remediation is a supplementary education program that are assigned to students in…

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  • Common Assessment

    A common assessment is a standardized method of evaluating student learning, progress and knowledge retention,…

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  • Comprehension Check

    Comprehension check is where an instructor informally assesses their students’ comprehension across a course. These…

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  • Connected Learning

    Connected learning is a learning technique where students, instructors and advisors actively participate with one…

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  • Course Catalog

    A course catalog is a list of courses that are offered by a post-secondary institution. Generally circulated online,…

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  • Course Syllabus

    A course syllabus is an academic document that communicates information about a specific course and explains the rules,…

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  • Critical Literacy

    Critical literacy is a learning approach where students are expected to examine various texts to understand the…

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  • Culture of Learning

    A culture of learning is a culture where employees search for, and then apply, skills and knowledge to enhance their…

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  • Curriculum

    Curriculum is used to describe the lessons and content taught in school. This term encompasses the assignments that…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “D”

  • Dean

    Dean is the title for an administrator who leads a specific academic unit including departments or colleges within…

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  • Deductive Learning

    Deductive learning is a more instructor-centered approach to education. Concepts and generalizations are introduced…

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  • Deeper Learning

    Deeper learning is an academic philosophy that places an emphasis on providing learners with robust skills and education…

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  • Deferred Admissions

    Deferred admissions means that an institution has not yet completed reviewing an application file and will make a final…

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  • Department Chair

    A department chair is a faculty member in a given academic department, assigned by the dean to manage that department.

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  • Design Thinking

    Design thinking is an interactive process that aims to understand the user and challenge their assumptions, as well as…

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  • Diagnostic Teaching

    Diagnostic teaching is the process of discovering individual student abilities, needs and objectives and prescribing…

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  • Digital Classroom

    A digital classroom is typically one that incorporates electronic devices and software into the learning environment. A…

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  • Direct Instruction

    Direct instruction is where teachers use explicit teaching techniques to teach a specific skill to their students. This…

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  • Dissertation

    A dissertation is a lengthy written project prepared at the end of an academic program. There are two types of…

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  • Distance Learning

    Distance learning is where students educate themselves without in-person interaction among peers or an instructor.…

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  • Drop a Class

    Drop a class is a function in an institution’s student portal for students to remove themselves from a class. This…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “E”

  • E-Learning

    E-learning is a mode of learning that takes place electronically, often via the Internet. It requires students to use…

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  • E-Refund

    E-refund is a reimbursement method where financial aid is directly deposited into students’ bank accounts. A school…

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  • Early Alert

    Early alert is an online tool that institutions use to identify at-risk students early in the semester. This tool allows…

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  • Education Reform

    Education reform is the term for the goal of changing public education in terms of educational theory and practice.…

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  • Education System

    An education system is an arrangement that consists of at least one teacher and one student in a context, such as in a…

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  • ELL Students

    ELL students, also known as English Language Learners, are students who learn the language of instruction—English—at…

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  • Entry Ticket

    Entry tickets are simple student diagnostic tools that can provide professors with a metric on student comprehension of…

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  • Exit Exam

    An exit exam is a test that assesses a student’s skills pertaining to reading, writing, critical thinking and math.…

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  • Extracurricular

    An extracurricular is any activity that doesn’t count towards an academic credit. These are activities that students…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “F”

  • FAFSA

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form filled out by current and future undergraduate and…

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  • FERPA

    FERPA, which stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a federal law in the United States of America…

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  • Final Assessment

    A final assessment is the last activity students must complete in a course. A final assessment may be an exam, a…

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  • Financial Aid

    Financial aid includes funds from the government, private organizations and/or from an educational institution to help…

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  • Financial Hold

    A financial hold is a type of restriction imposed by an institution as a result of a student not paying their fees in…

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  • Fixed Mindset

    A fixed mindset, proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, describes people who see their…

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  • Flexible Learning

    Flexible learning is a method of learning where students are given freedom in how, what, when and where they learn.…

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  • Flipped Classroom

    A flipped classroom is one that focuses on developing student understanding in class rather than via lectures. Here, the…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “G”

  • Game Based Learning

    Game based learning is where game characteristics and principles are embedded within learning activities. Here, learning…

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  • Gamification

    Gamification is the process of integrating games into pre-existing activities or processes in order to increase…

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  • GPA

    GPA, which is an abbreviation of grade point average, is used predominantly at higher learning institutions in North…

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  • Grading on a Curve

    Grading on a curve is a practice used by teachers to determine student grades for assignments and/or exams, where grades…

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  • Graduate School

    Graduate school (sometimes shortened to grad school) is an academic institution that awards advanced degrees.

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  • Graduation Rate

    A graduation rate is a measure of how many students who began in the same cohort will graduate in six years for…

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  • Group Work

    Group work is exactly what the term implies: students work together in groups to complete assessments and projects.…

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  • Growth Mindset

    A growth mindset, proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, describes people who believe that…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “H”

  • Habits of Mind

    Habits of mind is a term used to refer to dispositions certain intelligent individuals utilize when faced with…

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  • Hands-on Learning

    Hands-on learning is where instructors engage with students in direct experience and focused reflection to enhance…

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  • Hidden Curriculum

    Hidden Curriculum is a side effect of education where lessons are learned but not openly intended. Hidden curriculum…

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  • High-Stakes Testing

    High-stakes testing is any test that is used to make decisions about outcomes related to punishments (e.g. penalties),…

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  • Hybrid Class

    What is a Hybrid Class Hybrid class is a course that combines traditional, face-to-face “seat time” with some online…

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  • Hybrid Learning

    Hybrid learning is where students learn through a mix of in-person and online activities. Students are encouraged to…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “I”

Educational terms beginning with letter “J”

Educational terms beginning with letter “K”

Educational terms beginning with letter “L”

  • Lab Course

    A lab course is a smaller, individual course component that supplements larger lectures. Labs allow for hands-on,…

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  • Learning Commons

    Learning commons is a means to encourage participatory learning at school. This is a shared space with physical and…

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  • Learning Outcomes

    Learning outcomes are an articulation of the specific skills, attitudes and segments of knowledge a student should…

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  • Learning Style

    A learning style is the way that different students learn. A style of learning refers to an individual’s preferred way…

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  • Lecture Capture

    Lecture capture is when a lecture is recorded for the purpose of distributing resources to students who are either…

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  • Lecture Tools

    Lecture tools act as audience, classroom or student response systems to collect real-time feedback during the teaching…

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  • Lesson Plan

    A lesson plan is a teacher’s guide for facilitating a lesson. It typically includes the goal (what students need to…

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  • LMS

    A learning management system (LMS) is a digital platform that enables the management, delivery and measurement of a…

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  • Locus of Control

    E-learning is a mode of learning that takes place electronically, often via the Internet. It requires students to use…

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  • Low-Stakes Testing

    Low-stakes testing involves the frequent use of evaluation instruments that have little impact on a student's course…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “M”

  • Mastery Learning

    What is Mastery Learning In mastery learning, students must attain a given level set by their instructor in order to…

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  • Matriculation

    Matriculation is the formal process of entering a university as a candidate for a degree or of becoming eligible to…

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  • Mid-term

    A mid-term is a test that a student takes halfway through a school term. By taking a mid-term, students have a better…

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  • Minor Degree

    An academic minor degree is is a university or college student’s secondary declared academic discipline or field of…

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  • MOOC

    A MOOC, which is an abbreviation of massive open online course, offers free education in an online environment, with no…

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  • Multiple Measures

    Multiple measures are the use of multiple indicators to measure student learning. This data is collected at multiple…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “N”

  • Networked Learning

    Networked learning is a form of online learning that utilizes technology to connect individuals or groups and allows for…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “O”

  • OER

    Open Educational Resources (OER) are publicly accessible digital learning materials that can be used freely and…

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  • Online Class

    An online class is a course conducted over the internet. They are generally conducted through a learning management…

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  • Online Learning

    Online learning is a method of education whereby students learn in a fully virtual environment. First introduced in the…

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  • Open Classroom

    An open classroom kit a student-centered learning space that has a large group of students boasting wide variety of…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “P”

  • Pedagogy

    Pedagogy is a term that refers to the method of how teachers teach, in theory and in practice. Pedagogy is formed by an…

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  • PhD

    A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a postgraduate doctoral degree. A PhD is awarded to students who complete an original…

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  • Prerequisite Course

    A prerequisite course must be completed prior to another course. Prerequisites are often implemented at all education…

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  • Prior Knowledge

    Prior knowledge is the information and educational context a learner already has before they learn new information

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  • Proctor

    A proctor is a title given to school officials responsible for maintaining order or supervising students during exams…

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  • Professor

    Professor is the title given to college and university level educators who generally hold a postgraduate degree. They…

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  • Provost

    A provost is a senior administrative officer of academic matters at a college or university in North America. A provost…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “Q”

  • Quiz

    A quiz is a quick and informal assessment of student knowledge. Quizzes are often used in North American higher…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “R”

  • Reflective Practice

    What is Reflective Practice Reflective Practice is a continuous learning process where individuals recall their own…

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  • Relative Grading

    Relative grading is a system of assessment whereby teachers in some university and college classes determine student…

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  • Resume

    A resume is a document created by an individual to present their background, accomplishments and skills, most often to…

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  • Rote Learning

    Rote learning is the process of memorizing information based on repetition. Rote learning enhances students’ ability…

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  • Rubric

    A rubric is a guide for evaluating student performance related to exams, assignments, projects and more. Rubrics are…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “S”

  • Sage on the Stage

    Sage on the stage is a teaching method where a professor imparts knowledge by lecturing to their class. Students are…

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  • Scantron

    Scantron is a type of standardized testing methodology that uses Optical Mark Recognition (OMR), whereby light coming…

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  • Scientific Inquiry

    Scientific inquiry has two primary functions. Firstly, it provides a description of how scientific inquiry is conducted…

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  • Scope and Sequence

    Scope and sequence is a term that describes the ideas and concepts that will be covered in a book or course within a…

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  • SCORM

    SCORM is an acronym for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. It is a technical specification for eLearning products…

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  • Service Learning

    What is Service Learning Service learning is an educational approach that combines traditional curricular learning…

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  • Standardized Test

    A standardized test is a method of assessment built on the principle of consistency: all test takers are required to…

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  • STEM

    STEM is an interdisciplinary, applied approach to learning science, technology, engineering and math. Rather than…

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  • Student Affairs

    Student affairs is the department or division of services for student success. This group of smaller departments are in…

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  • Student Empowerment

    Student empowerment is where students gain the authority and agency to make decisions on their own and implement their…

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  • Student Engagement

    Student engagement is the extent to which students show attention, curiosity, optimism and interest in the material that…

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  • Student Enrollment

    Student enrollment is the process of arranging to attend an institution and specific classes. This term may also…

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  • Student Orientation

    Student orientation is the period prior to the start of the academic year at a college or university where a variety of…

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  • Syllabus

    A syllabus is a written set of expectations for a course. It usually includes course policies, rules and regulations,…

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  • Synchronous Learning

    Synchronous learning is where students rely on instant communication, such as instant messaging, to interact with their…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “T”

  • Teaching Assistant

    A teaching assistant (TA) is typically a graduate student who assists a professor with instructional responsibilities. A…

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  • Technology Literacy

    Technology literacy is a term used to describe an individual’s ability to assess, acquire and communicate information…

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  • Tenure

    Tenure is a coveted status professors at universities and colleges in North America can receive that provides indefinite…

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  • Tertiary Education

    Tertiary education, also called post-secondary education, is any level of education pursued beyond high school,…

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  • Think-Pair-Share

    Think-pair-share is a collaborative teaching strategy that can be used to aid students in forming original ideas by…

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  • Transcript

    A transcript is a student's inventory of the courses they have taken towards their degree and the grades they received.

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  • Transfer Credit

    A transfer credit is put towards a current credential at an accredited institution from a separate school that a student…

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  • Tuition

    Tuition is the associated charges or fees for learning at a college or university. Tuition usually applies to one…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “U”

Educational terms beginning with letter “V”

Educational terms beginning with letter “W”

  • Weighted Grades

    Weighted grades are used in college, university and even high school courses by educators in order to determine how…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “X”

  • X-axis

    An x-axis is one of the axes of a two- or three-dimensional graph. The x-axis is the horizontal plane of a graph in a…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “Y”

  • Y-axis

    A y-axis is the vertical axis on the Cartesian coordinate plane. The y-axis starts at negative infinity and increases to…

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  • Yearbook

    A yearbook is a book of photos and words published annually by an institution to commemorate and highlight the events of…

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Educational terms beginning with letter “Z”