A basic level of technical competence is necessary for the online learner. A glossary of computer terminology is listed below and contain many commonly used computer terms.
ActiveX: A computer programming language similiar to Java, which allows Web sites to be more interactive. ActiveX was developed by Microsoft.
Attachment: A file attached to an email or bulletin board message.
Bookmark/Favorite: A bookmark acts like a marker to a Web site. Internet Explorer calls a bookmark a "Favorite". Firefox, Safari, Opera and other Web browsers call a bookmark a "Bookmark". Either way, a bookmark/favorite will allow you to revisit a Web page at a later date without having to remember the URL (address) to the page.
Browser: A browser, or Web browser, is a program that allows people to interface to the World Wide Web. It interprets HTML code, text, images, hypertext links, java applets, etc., allowing you to view Web sites and move from one site to another. The two most popular browsers are Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Bulletin Board: A series of messages that have been posted as replies to each other. A bulletin board typically contains many threads covering different subjects. By reading each message in a thread, one after the other, you can see how the discussion has evolved.
Byte: A single computer word, generally eight bits.
Cache (pronounced "cash"): Computers have many different types of cache, but they all serve the same purpose. Cache stores information that was used recently. For example, a Web browser will use a cache to store, on your hard drive, the pages, images, sounds, etc. of Web sites you visit. This allows your computer to reload the Web page information from your hard drive rather than downloading the information again from the Web site when you revisit the site. Loading the information from your hard drive allows the Web page to be displayed faster, speeding up your Web browsing.
Your computer also uses disk caching, which stores information you have recently read from your hard disk in the computer's RAM, or memory. Since accessing RAM is much faster than reading data off the hard disk, this helps speed up common functions on your computer. One other type of cache is a processor cache, which stores small amounts of information. This helps make the processing of common instructions much more efficient, thereby speeding up computing time.
Chat: Real-time communication between two people via computer. Once a chat has been initiated, either person can enter text by typing on the keyboard, and the entered text will appear on the other person's monitor. Chat is sometimes referred to as "forums."
CPU: "Central Processing Unit". The component of a computer in which data processing takes place.
Cut: To remove an object from a document and place it in a temporary storage area. In word processing, for example, cut means to move a section of text from a document to a temporary area.
The universal keyboard commands for "cut" are Alt+X (PC) -or- CMD+X (Mac)
Default: This term is used to describe a preset value for some option in a computer program.
Download: The process of sending information to your computer from the Internet or from another computer.
Email/Electronic Mail: The sending of electronic messages over a communications network.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions. Created to help answer a majority of questions that someone may have when coming to a Web site the first time.
Firewall: A firewall is used to protect a networked server from damage by those who log in to it. This can either be a computer equipped with security features, software protection, or both. A firewall allows only certain messages from the Internet to flow in and out of the internal network.
FTP: "File Transfer Protocol". A protocol that allows you to move files from a distant computer to a local computer using a network like the Internet.
GIF: Stands for Graphics Interchange Format. This is a type of graphic image commonly used in Web pages.
Hard Drive: The mechanism that reads, writes and stores data on a computer.
Home page: The starting point or main page of a Web site. This page usually has information about the site and links to other pages within the site. ULM’s Home page is www.ulm.edu.
HTML: "HyperText Markup Language." HTML code is based on a list of tags that describe the format and what is displayed on Web pages
HTTP: "HyperText Transfer Protocol." It is the protocol used to transfer data over the Internet.
Internet: Countless networks and computers all over the world that allow millions of people to share information. This information is transferred all over the world through a series of lines collectively called the Internet Backbone. Contrary to popular belief, the World Wide Web is not "the Internet".
IP: "Internet Protocol." This allows for data to be transferred between systems over the Internet. It provides a standard set of rules for sending and receiving data via the Internet.
IP Address/DNS: A code made up of 4 sets of numbers separated by a period that identifies a particular computer on the Internet. Every computer, whether a Web server or the computer you're using right now, requires an IP address to connect to the Internet.
ULM’s IP address is 22.214.171.124
DNS (Domain Naming Servers) translate the IP address to a Uniform Resource Locater (URL). Thus, one doesn’t have to remember long strings of numbers to access ULM’s Web site. You just have to remember www.ulm.edu or actually ulm.edu. The DNS does all the translation for you and the Web browser.
ISP: "Internet Service Provider" or the company or institution that provides access to the Internet via their network. Commercial ISPs charge a monthly fee for this service.
JPG/JPEG: Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A type of graphic file commonly used in Web pages.
Listserv: An email program that allows multiple computer users to connect onto a single system, creating an online discussion.
Login: Username or a code that identifies you to a certain server. It is often used in conjunction with a password to verify who is accessing the server.
MB: Short for megabyte (1,000,000 or 1,048,576 bytes, depending on the context).
Moodle: A tool that facilitates the creation of sophisticated World Wide Web-based educational environments by non-technical users. It can be used to create entire online courses, or to simply publish materials that supplement existing courses.
Netiquette: Netiquette, or net etiquette, refers to etiquette on the Internet. Based on the Golden Rule, good netiquette is basically not doing anything online that will annoy or frustrate other people. Three areas where good netiquette is highly stressed are email, online chat, and newsgroups.
Internet Explorer: Browser software, developed by Microsoft, that allows browsing Web pages on the Internet.
Operating System: Usually referred to as the "OS", this is the software that actually "talks" with the computer's hardware. Without an operating system, all software programs would be useless. The OS is what allocates memory, processes tasks, accesses disks and peripherals, and acts as the user interface.
Commonly known OS’s include: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Paste: To copy an object from a temporary storage area on your computer to a file. In word processing, text is moved from one place to another by cutting and pasting.
The universal keyboard commands for "paste" are Alt+V (PC) -or- CMD+V (Mac)
Server: A computer with a special service function on a network, generally receiving and connecting incoming information traffic.
Upload: The process of sending information from your computer to the Internet or to another computer.
Universal Serial Bus (USB): A standard cabling connection “universally” available on all newer PCs and Macs. USB connections allow add-on hardware devices, such as printers, to be connected to either PC or Mac computers easily.
USB drive: A small, portable hard drive that “universally” plugs-in to any newer PC or Mac. USB drives are inexpensive and are an easy way to transport files between computers. Sometimes USB drives are referred to as "thumb drives" or "USB keys".
User: A person who uses a computer.
Web page: Web pages are what make up the Internet. These documents are written in HTML (hypertext markup language) and are translated by your Web browser.
Web site: A collection of related, interlinked Web pages.
WWW: A graphical hypertext-based Internet protocol that provides access to Web pages created by individuals, businesses, and other organizations.
Not all Web sites on the Internet use the WWW protocol, thus a Web site may not be considered on “the World Wide Web”, but any Web site that uses the WWW protocol is considered on the Internet.