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Glossary

This glossary is intended to assist faculty members who want to apply for the Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award. It provides commonly accepted definitions of the more pedagogically-oriented vocabulary used in the application form and rubrics. You can now view the glossary as it is being built on the OpenedPractices.org site.

Accessibility

Definition

Web accessibility refers to the practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality. (Source: Wikipedia)

In education, accessibility refers to giving access to all pedagogical resources to people with disabilities by providing alternative methods or by design.

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Assessment

Definition

"Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning." (Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000).  Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses -- Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.)

Courses and learning activities can be assessed via diverse mechanisms, such as pre- and post-tests, written assignments with rubrics, exams, surveys, and capstone or other comprehensive experiences documented with portfolios. Graded assessment of a student's performance regarding learning objectives is sometimes referred to as Evaluation or Summative Evaluation.

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Attitude

Definition

An attitude is an opinion, a state of mind regarding a topic. Learning or course goals might include an attitude change in the learner's mind. An attitude is harder to change than knowledge, since it involves self-reflection on current knowledge and emotions, and a paradigm shift.

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Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE)

Definition

Because of its strong emphasis on communication and collaboration, #Sakai describes itself as a "Collaboration and Learning Environment" (CLE). A CLE is an environment where professors can prepare and deliver courses, communicate, and collaborate with their students, It can also support ad hoc group collaboration, electronic portfolios, and research collaboration. In education, the most common term to describe the teaching and learning part of this tool set is "Learning Management System" (LMS).

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Course Competencies

Definition

A competency may have several specific learning outcomes so a course typically contains more outcomes than competencies. Objectives, competencies, and outcomes can be written to describe the learning gained by students in individual courses (course outcomes) or for the program as a whole (programmatic outcomes). The main distinction between objective or competency and a true learning outcome is that a learning outcome is written so that it can be measured or assessed. Thus, learning outcomes are the basis for an assessment program that focuses on what student can do either upon completion of a course or upon graduation from a program. Further details on learning outcomes can be found in Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000).

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Course Goals

Definition

The educational literature at times seems to use goals, outcomes, and learning objectives synonymously.  However, in the last decade, several standards groups have attempted to differentiate these.  Goals are the broadest statements of knowledge to be acquired and these statements are so broad they are not directly measurable. Flowing out of these goals would be more specific statements that are measurable. These more specific statements are referred to as #Course Outcomes or Competencies or #Learning Objectives.

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Course Outcomes

Definition

Course outcomes are a very specific statement that describes exactly what a student will be able to do in some measurable way. A competency may have several specific learning outcomes so a course typically contains more outcomes than competencies.  Objectives, competencies, and outcomes can be written to describe the learning gained by students in individual courses (course outcomes) or for the program as a whole (programmatic outcomes). The main distinction between objective or competency and a true learning outcome is that a learning outcome is written so that it can be measured or assessed. Thus, learning outcomes are the basis for an assessment program that focuses on what student can do either upon completion of a course or upon graduation from a program. Further details on learning outcomes can be found in Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000).  Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses -- Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.

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Critical Thinking

Definition

The application of mental skills or strategies in a purposeful, reasoned, and directed way to reach truth or achieve the best conclusion or action in a variety of settings.

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. (Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction, 2007.)

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Digital Literacy

Definition

Basic computer concepts and skills that enable people to use computer technology in everyday life to develop new social and economic opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities. (Source: Microsoft Corporation)
In education, digital literacy refers to the ability or skill to understand and use technology in an innovative way to solve problems.

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Expert Review

Definition

The result of an evaluation or assessment of a work piece by someone who is considered an expert in a specific field. In education, experts are usually working individuals from outside academia who are invited to give hands-on advice on student work. (Source: Mathieu Plourde)

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Feedback

Definition

Constructive suggestions for improvement of work, or evaluation of work for grading. Feedback may be provided by the faculty member, by experts (in the case of expert review),or by peers (in the case of peer review). Through the process of reflection, students may also provide feedback to themselves.

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Informal Context

Definition

Classroom scenarios that are not graded or are otherwise low-stakes, emphasizing fellowship rather than pedagogy, such as discussions and written web exchanges. (Source: Robin Hill)

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Innovation

Definition

Innovation is typically understood as the successful introduction of something new and useful, for example introducing new methods, techniques, or practices or new or altered products and services. (Source: Wikipedia)

In education (and for the Award), innovation has to clearly enhance student learning in a specific context.

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Interaction (Types of)

Definition

Student-Faculty Interaction

In these interactions the faculty member models ways to use and think about information. The faculty member shares his/her own problem solving strategies and coaches the student when areas for improvement are identified. Students likewise share their fresh perspectives and let faculty know when points are unclear. The enthusiasm that a faculty member brings to his/her field is key in motivating student learning.

Student-Student Interaction

When classmates interact actively with each other in a learning situation, they learn to articulate information in ways that their peers can understand. They not only teach and challenge each other, but learn collaborative skills. Case studies, problem-based learning, and group presentations and collaborative research projects are ways to structure learning to increase student interaction.

Student-Content Interaction

By interacting with material, students learn to draw connections between their own experiences and knowledge and what is being presented. They frequently learn a new vocabulary, new concepts, and then they apply this information to new situations. Active engagement in learning involves the student as an active rather than a passive participant in the learning experience asking him/her to recognize patterns and draw conclusions. Methods such as reflection,that provide means for students to synthesize and self-test their mastery of material can be beneficial in this experience.

(Source: PRESENT Website, University of Delaware)

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Knowledge

Definition

Pedagogical content knowledge identifies the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction. Pedagogical content knowledge is the category most likely to distinguish the understanding of the content specialist from that of the pedagogue" (Shulman, 1987, p. 4).

(Source: Shulman,  L. ( 1987).  Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform.  Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-22.)

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Learning Objectives

Definition

Learning Objectives are a general statement about the larger goals of the course or program. Objectives, competencies, and outcomes can be written to describe the learning gained by students in individual courses (course outcomes) or for the program as a whole (programmatic outcomes). The main distinction between objective or competency and a true learning outcome is that a learning outcome is written so that it can be measured or assessed. Thus, learning outcomes are the basis for an assessment program that focuses on what student can do either upon completion of a course or upon graduation from a program. Further details on learning outcomes can be found in Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000).  Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses -- Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.

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Literacy

Definition

The traditional definition of literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, and speak. In modern contexts, the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for communication, or at a level that lets one understand and communicate ideas in a literate society, so as to take part in that society. (Source: Wikipedia)

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On The Fly Support

Definition

The action of assisting a user of a system in achieving the expected performance. On the fly support can be given by performing a walk-through step by step process in a synchronous form (troubleshooting), or by developing appropriate self-training material (tutorials). (Source: Mathieu Plourde)

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Peer Review

Definition

The result of an evaluation or assessment of a work piece by a fellow participant in the educational process, in the same role as the author. In education, peers are usually students in the same class or program or at an equivalent level in a similar program. (Source: Robin Hill)

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Sakai

Definition

Sakai is an online Collaboration and Learning Environment. Many users of Sakai deploy it to support teaching and learning, ad hoc group collaboration, support for portfolios and research collaboration.

Sakai is a free and open source product that is built and maintained by the Sakai community. Sakai's development model is called "Community Source" because many of the developers creating Sakai are drawn from the "community" of organizations that have adopted and are using Sakai. (Source: Sakai Foundation)

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Self-Reflection

Definition

Observation and mapping of one's own learning process to elicit its strengths and weaknesses, both during and after.
Analytical self-introspection of past experiences, events and information with the goal of continuous critique and reconstruction of knowledge, as well as recurring revision of understandings, beliefs, skills and behavior.

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Sequencing

Definition

Sequencing a course involves organizing and presenting course content in a meaningful order that facilitates students comprehension and learning. Sequencing can be dynamic where student input determines the next content item that is presented.

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Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Definition

Used extensively in higher education, the "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" are a set of guidelines to promote student learning. The seven principles are:

  1. Good Practice Encourages Contacts Between Students and Faculty
  2. Good Practice Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students
  3. Good Practice Uses Active Learning Techniques
  4. Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback
  5. Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task
  6. Good Practice Communicates High Expectations
  7. Good Practice Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

Even though the name of the article refers to Undergraduate, the principles can be applied to any level of education.

(Source: Chickering, A. & Ehrmann, S.)

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Skills

Definition

A skill is an ability, usually learned and acquired through training, to perform actions which achieve a desired outcome. (Source: Wikipedia)

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