COVID-19 Educational Technology Glossary

The novel (i.e. new) coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has prompted novel (i.e. new) terminology in the field of educational technology.  To keep track of it all, I’ve started this glossary page, which I will update from time to time.   I welcome additions, either in the comments or by email.  I am solely responsible for any mistakes or misconceptions.

COVID-19 – The disease caused by the virus now known as SARS-CoV-21

SARS-CoV-2 – The official name of the virus that causes COVID-19.2

Hybrid – A course which is partially taught in person and partially taught online (no other specification).3

Sychronous – literally “at the same time.”   A course which meets at a regularly scheduled time, whether it is in-person or online.

Sychronous online – a course which is strictly online and strictly synchronous.

Asynchronous – a course where activities are done on the student’s own schedule without specifically scheduled meetings.  The opposite of synchronous.

Asynchronous online – From Open SUNY:4100% of the direct instruction occurs under time delay; that is, direct instruction is recorded/stored and accessed later.”   In other words, this course is strictly online with no synchronous component.

Combined online – online instruction (only on-line) which is a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous instruction  (from Open SUNY Online Learning Definitions).   Some people might shorten this to just combined.

Blended – At SUNY New Paltz, at least, the term has been used to mean a course “that includes asynchronous and synchronous online elements.”5.   It might seem at first that this is another term for combined online, but note that combined online requires only on-line instruction, while this definition of blended does not, it only “includes” it.

Local+remote – a hybrid course which is synchronous, with some students in the classroom and others joining remotely, all at the same time.  This could be a lecture class or a lab. (I coined this myself because nothing else covers this specific combination and I needed a term for it.)

Hyflex – According to OpenSUNY6  “Combines online and face-to-face instruction simultaneously into one single course section.  Students are able to participate in class in different ways: as asynchronous distance learner (via real-time, video- streaming); as an asynchronous distance learner (accessing materials, recorded lectures, and responding at a later time); as a face-to-face learner (physically present in the classroom); or as a flexible learner (with a degree of choice as to how they participate each week; sometimes face-to-face, sometimes by streaming class sessions, etc.). (New code as of Fall 2019)”  Official classification as a hyflex class requires strict certification that all modes are possible and supported, so don’t use this term unless the course is certified for hyflex.

Extended Virtual Learning (EVL) – essentially the same as local+remote (see above).   This first appeared in a chart distributed to the campus community on 10 August 2020 with the definition “A face-to-face class where, at the same time, some students attend in-person while others attend via a remote, synchronous web-conferencing session.”    In online course listings this is abbreviated as “EVL”.7

Split-shifts – having half the class come during the first half of the period, and the other half of the class come during the second half of the period.  Or a third of the class coming in for a third of the scheduled time.   More appropriate for longer class meetings or labs.  Alternatively, the allocated time can be doubled and then half the class comes during one full period, and then the other half comes for another full period.

Every-other – an arrangement where one part of the class attends in person on one day, while the other part of the class attends on another day.   For example, if the class has a room reserved on Tuesday and Thursday, then half the class comes in on Tuesday, and the other half comes in on Thursday.

Beak peaker – a person who is wearing a mask, but their nose is peaking out over the top of it.8

Mask slacker – a person who does not wear a mask (when they should?).  Originally used during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic (at least on the west coast9).

Covidiot – a person who engages in risky practices regarding COVID-19.  A portmanteau word from COVID-19 and idiot.10

Rat-Licker – From the Urban Dictionary:11 A person who refuses to wear a mask during an outbreak of an airborne virus such as Covid-19. (A reference to the idea of licking a rat during the bubonic plague).

References and Notes

Print Friendly, PDF & Email