Adult Basic Education. Instruction for adults reading at grade levels 0 to 4. Majority of instruction is spent on decoding skills (includes phonics), sight word vocabularies, word attack skills, and survival reading (charts, graphs, signs, etc.).
Adult Basic Education plus. Instruction for adults reading at grade levels 4 to 8. Instruction concentrates on increasing reading comprehension through instruction on specific reading skills (main idea, inference, details), vocabulary development, guided readings, and survival reading (graphs, charts, tables, etc.).
Access Provider
A company that sells Internet connections to people.
Alphanumeric Key
A key that, when tapped, produces a letter, punctuation mark, or number on the monitor screen.
Alterable Software
See customizable software.
A line of computers produced by Apple and compatibles that operate on the MAC Operating System (Mac OS). Generally software that runs on one Apple will run on another Apple. If using an Apple compatible, preview software on the hardware before purchasing it. Compatibility is not guaranteed.
Application Software
Programs designed to handle specific types of information and achieve useful results or answer problems, for example, database management, word processing, or spreadsheets.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The standard code used to transmit information within, to, and from computers.

A copy of a program or data file made by the user onto a separate storage medium, such as a disk or hard disk, so that copy will be preserved against possible loss or damage to the original.
A measure of the capacity of a particular communication method to transmit information.
Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. A high level language, standard on most microcomputers.
Basic Math Skills
Arithmetic skills that range from single digit addition through percentages, ratios, and measurements.
A bit of measurement used to specify the speed of data transmission in one second intervals. Usually used in reference to telecommunications.
The smallest unit of code for information occurring either as a 1, which indicates the presence of voltage, or as a 0 (zero), which indicates the absence of voltage.
To load a new program into RAM. This may be done "warm" or "cold," or, with the computer on or off.
The ability of a program to alter its sequence according to user choices or responses. If a computer-based training program uses branching, it may explain why the answer is incorrect, offer additional examples/problems, and/or reroute the student into an additional instructional subsection when a student enters a wrong answer. Without branching, it may simply tell the student that the answer is wrong.
Software programs that enable you to access Internet resources. Browsers are most commonly used with the World Wide Web (WWW). Examples include Netscape and Internet Explorer.
Measurement of storage. A string of bits, generally eight, which is often used to represent a single character.

Computer Assisted Instruction. This is probably the most common term used to describe learning that occurs through the use of a computer. See also CBT.
Computer Based Training. This is a common term used when referring to any training that uses a computer as the instructional delivery medium. See also CAI.
Computer Disk-Read Only Memory. A disk encased in a plastic coating that is "pitted" with electronic data and has an ultra-high density storage capacity which is read by a laser. Cannot be changed by the user.
Common Gateway Interface. A method by which a server processes data that was received via a form. If you reach a webpage that calls for interaction on your part in the form of answering questions or submitting your name or address, the server will need CGI script in order to "do" somethingwith that information.
A tiny silicon wafer capable of holding electronic signals. Chips are the building blocks of computers.
Software compatibility refers to the ability to run programs on a variety of computers. Hardware compatibility means that various components may be connected directly.
Control Key
1) A key pressed which initiates some kind of physical control action but which isn't printed on the output page, for example, line feed, tabs, paragraph indention. 2) Sometimes used in conjunction with other keys in order to define unique commands.
Central Processing Unit. The "brain" of the computer; the chips that order information and direct it around the computer.
Cathode Ray Tube. Used for video display on a screen. See also monitor.
The line, flashing box, or other blinking symbol that appears on the monitor to show where the next keystroke will appear.
Customizable Software
Software that can be changed. Text can be deleted, inserted, or altered, and/or questions can be modified, and/or proficiency levels can be set.

Information that is input to a computer system and is then processed by a mathematical and logical operations so that it can ultimately be output in a sensible form.
A collection of like records of information (e.g., mailing addresses, client profiles, book listings) that can be flexibly organized, sorted, reordered, or selectively retrieved.
Developmental Education. Instruction designed to help pre-vocational and precollege transfer students gain the necessary skills in reading, writing, and math to be successful with vocational and transfer curricula.
A computer-assisted instruction technique in which physical objects, systems, and processes are shown through the use of graphics and text; similar to animated film.
Desktop Publishing
The use of personal computers and application software combining text and graphics to design hard copy layout. Produces high-quality documents, such as periodicals, newsletters, and other materials.
Desktop Publishing System
A combination of hardware and software products used for desktop publishing, including a computer, layout or page-formatting software, and a high-resolution output device, such as a laser printer.
See floppy disk, hard disk, or micro-floppy disk.
Disk Drive
The piece of hardware that reads floppy disks. Floppy disks are inserted into a disk drive in order to use them.
Domain Name System. This is the way in which the network turns a host or Internet domain (e.g., into an Internet address for use withTCP/IP. Domain - The part of a standard Internet address that indicates the name of the computer. In the address "", the domain is "".
A collection of documents or information that describes a computer program information system, or required data processing operations.
Disk Operating System. A collection of programs providing the CPU with specific instructions for transferring data from the disk to the computer and from the computer to the disk. Most commonly used DOS programs are those for formatting and copying (making back-up) disks.
Dot Matrix Printer
A very common type of printer that fires a row of tiny inked steel pins onto a piece of paper to produce readable text and graphic images.
Drill and Practice
A computer-assisted instruction technique in which a series of structured problems or exercises with immediate feedback to student responses is provided.

Educational Game
A computer-assisted instruction technique in which skill and chance are combined for practice of previously taught information.
Electronic Mail (E-mail)
The transmission, storage, and distribution of materials in electronic form over communication networks, such as the telephone.
Part of a file name separated from the main part of the name by a . (period).

Data arranged under a single title (such as an Annual Report) in RAM or on a disk.


Used in some private networks to block access to certain services in the network from the rest of the Internet. Network firewalls add security by preventing computer hackers from infiltrating all parts of a network, much as a building firewall keeps a fire from spreading throughout a building.
Floppy Disk
A magnetized mylar wheel used to store data and programs outside the computer RAM. Disks measure either 5.25 inches or 3.5 inches in diameter and are sealed in a protective square cover which is lined with a soft material that cleans the disk as it rotates.
A group of type of one style and size.
To prepare, via a program, a floppy disk to receive data according to the protocols of a particular DOS. No data can be written to a disk if it has not been formatted. (Also, initialize.)

A line-mode Internet protocol that predates the Web that uses a simple, consistent menu to access the provided information. Web browsers cannormally communicate with gopher servers.


Hard Disk
Used to store data and programs outside of the computer's RAM. Hard disk systems have faster read/write access times, high storage capacity, and a greater reliability than do floppy or micro-floppy disk systems.
The physical components of a computer, i.e. keyboard, printer, disk drive, CPU, monitor.
High-Level Language
Programming languages designed for users to write instructions in English-like statements rather than in machine language.
High Resolution
The capability of producing and reading at least 256 lines or columns of dot patterns on a CRT. High resolution graphics produce images that have detail approximating that of a photograph. The higher the resolution a device has, the clearer the image it produces.
Home Page
The first, or central web page on a web site.
HyperText Markup Language. The underlying formatting for World Wide Web documents.
HyperText Transfer Protocol A designation within a URL that indicates that the site to be accessed is a hypertext resource. When you try tocontact a Web site the first thing you type will be "http:" which indicates that what you're requesting should be searched for on the Web.
Links from one document to another, or to a different place in the same document. Hyperlinks can be text or graphic. Text hyperlinks are usually indicated by a different color or underlining, graphic hyperlinks may have a colored box around them. Links used to be easily identified by their blue or purple coloring, but people designing WWW pages are now using a variety of colors.

IBM Family
Computers that use an MS-DOS operating system. These computers include IBM, Tandy, Compaq, and a variety of compatibles. It's especially important when purchasing IBM software to preview the software on the hardware that will be used to run that program.
Information Superhighway
A term often used by the media to describe the Internet.
See format.
Ink-Jet Printer
A type of printer that fires a tiny stream of ink onto a piece of paper to produce readable text and graphic images.
Instructions or information going into the computer by keystroke, light pen, touch screen, mouse, or other device.
A loose confederation of networks around the world which are connected through several backbone networks. The Internet grew out of the U.S. government ARPAnet project, and has no central governing authority.
An network internal to a particular organization which uses Internet technology and protocols. Many companies are implementing Intranets to deliver training to diverse computer systems without hardware conflicts.
Internet Service Provider. ISPs are companies that provide access to the end users of the Internet.

Joy Stick
A hand-held device used to interact with the computer, usually consisting of a small box with a moveable stick and a button.


Kilobyte. 1024 bytes of memory. A byte of memory is a piece of information stored in the computer, like one letter or one number.
Placing letters relatively closer to or further from each other; to make certain letter combinations look better.
An input device used to communicate with the computer, similar to a typewriter keyboard. Computer keyboards usually have extra, specialized keys used to perform different tasks.
Koala Pad
A device used to interact with the computer, usually consisting of a flat pad and a pen-like instrument used to "write" on the pad.

Local Area Network. A communications network that typically uses cables to connect computers within a limited physical area such as an office building.
Laser Printer
A printer that use a laser beam to imprint page images onto paper.
The planning, design, and arranging of text and graphics on a page.
Regularly spaced intervals of the same character, usually to lead the eye across the line, as the dots in a table of contents between the end of a title and the page number.
The extra space between lines of printed text (rhymes with heading).
Light Pen
A hand-held optical character recognition device used for data entry into many types of terminals.
To enter a program or data file into RAM from an external source such as a disk drive.

Management System
The record keeping system available with the software. The system can be extensive, with multiple print out options, or it can be a simple record of total correct answers. Not all software contains a management system.
The amount of storage space in a computer. If the computer does not have enough memory, the software will not run on it.
A list of command choices in a program displayed on the monitor for the user's convenience.
Micro-Floppy Disk
Magnetized mylar wheel used for long term storage of data and programs outside of the computer's RAM, encased in hard shells with a metal shutter to protect the media from damage due to improper handling or dust. The disks measure 3.5 or 5.25 inches in diameter.
A chip, often the CPU, which is used to move data around or to perform calculations.
MOdulaltor-DEModulator. A device that makes it possible to transfer information between computers over telephone lines.
A TV-like device through which the user views information (also called a screen or CRT).
Usually refers to a CRT that produces a single color, such as green or amber. All text and graphics on this type of monitor appear in the same color.
A circuit board in the computer that contains many of the chips the computer must have in order to function.
A hand-held control device that can be used as an alternative to the keyboard in some programs. When you move the mouse around on the table, a corresponding pointer on the screen moves accordingly. It is available for the Apple IIe, IIc, Apple GS, Macintosh, IBM, and others.


A World Wide Web browser for X-Windows, MS-Windows, and Macintosh. Netscape supports many HTML enhancements and is the most popular browser.
Two or more computers physically joined together so they can share files and information.


Stated learning outcomes.
Operating System
The program by which the CPU operates.
Optical Disc Storage
Method of storing data which can be read by a laser. There are three main categories
prerecorded disks, disks that a laser drive can write on but not erase, and erasable disks.

Performance Support Systems

Dynamic job aids that, when loaded on a computer, enable employees to call up training and instruction on specific issues and questions at the precise moment they arise in the course of job performance.
The device used to produce physical, hand-held paper documents, such as letters, graphics, etc.
Problem Solving
A computer-assisted instruction technique in which students are required to apply known information to new settings. It demands logical thinking and the ability to follow directions carefully.
A set of instructions written in a computer language telling the computer how to process data or interact with peripherals.
Public Domain Software
Software available for minimal or no charge. Listings of public domain software can be found by contacting local and regional user groups, in many libraries, in national exchanges, and by contacting many of the resources listed in this publication.


Temporary memory in the user's work space. This is the portion of memory where a software program's instructions (such as word processing, spreadsheets, or database) are stored. RAM also holds the information created while using a software package (for example, a letter created with a word processing program). Usually, only one software program is stored in RAM at a time. When the computer is turned on, RAM is empty and when the computer is turned off, all of the instructions and data in RAM are erased. RAM is temporary and of finite size.
The CPU process of copying information (i.e., a program or data file) from a disk to RAM.
Read Only Memory. Permanent system instructions built into the computer on chips. The CPU can read the instructions in ROM, but cannot write new ones into it.


A common command to the computer, directing it to store the contents of RAM on a disk or other storage device.
A device used to scan images and translate the images into a digitized form which can then be used by computer.
See CRT and monitor.
Search Engine
A Web software application that allows you to search in its directory for a particular word or topic. The engine will produce a number (!)of "hits" (Web sites that may or may not be what you're looking for) which you can then link to.


A computer-assisted instruction technique in which real life or hypothetical situations are imitated. It allows the student to interact with and modify the situation and then shows the results of their modifications.
Site License
The legal ability to produce copies of a piece of software for a given location. This is usually granted by a software company (for a fee) to a location that needs many copies of a particular piece of software.
Computer programs, the instructions by which the machine operates, which includes both systems oriented programs (i.e. DOS) and applications programs (i.e., word processing, database management). See also program.
Speech Digitizer
A device that has preprogrammed sound. It is closer to the human voice than speech synthesizers, but has a fixed vocabulary. The "Ufonic" is an example of this kind of hardware.
Speech Synthesizer
A device that can "read" any computer text aloud. Sometimes pronunciation is inaccurate or difficult to understand. The "Echo" line is an example of a speech synthesizer.
Keeping data or programs. Generally storage implies keeping a file outside of RAM, as on a disk or tape for long term storage.
Surge Protector
An electrical device that protects electrical equipment from sudden variations (surges) in electrical current.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol A technical set of rules which allows networks of dissimilar computers to communicate with one another. In order for a Web page to properly appear on a user's home computer it needs to follow the standards of TCP/IP.


The transmission or reception of signals by electromagnetic means. Usually pertains to the transmission of computer signals over telephone lines.
A computer-assisted instruction technique in which new information is introduced on a step-by-step basis with frequent quizzes given to ascertain if the information is being learned.


Uniform Resource Locator. URLs are a standardized format for giving an "address" on the World Wide Web.
User's Network. A vast, uncentralized system of discussion groups on the Internet.



Wide Area Network. WANs are generally networks connecting several physically distant locations. The Internet is an example of a world wide WAN.
Web Browser
Software running on a computer that allows it to request and display web pages.
Web Page
A single page of HTML.
Web Server
A computer on the Internet that stores web pages and serves them to web browsers. A single web server can store many millions of web pages divided into many web sites.
Web Site
A collection of web pages about a particular subject or organization.
Word Processing
Writing software that allows the computer to resemble a typewriter. Generally the more expensive the program, the greater the formatting and printing options, and the longer it takes to master the program.
The CPU process of entering information (i.e., a program or data file) from RAM onto a storage device such as a disk.


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