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 – 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.

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

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