Academic Weblog: A weblog or “blog” is a space on the World Wide Web where people can publish text on various topics; like in other blogs, the author writes about his or her interests, but he or she focuses on academic subjects and may or may not use citations and other academic conventions.

Administrator (Admin): This is the member of a forum responsible for monitoring posts on the forum.  Usually admins have certain powers, such as removing posts or banning users, to help them fulfill these responsibilities.  Forum rules guide the actions of admins, but the presence of an admin in a forum does not make that forum a child-friendly environment.

Affordances: In terms of audio & video assignments, affordances are the actual properties of the individual audio or video being used in an assignment that determine exactly how they could be used.

Alphabetic essays: Essays composed entirely with text; no audio, visuals or other multimodal aspects.

Applet: A small application that is not freestanding but is added to a browser or other program.

Assemblage: Refers to a text “built primarily and explicitly from existing texts in order to solve a writing or communication problem in a new context”; proposed by Johnson-Eilola and Selber (Computers & Composition 2007); similar to remix.

Asynchronous: When dealing with computers, asynchronous communication only allows one action to be completed at a time. For example, a blogs are asynchronous, but chatting is synchronous.

Asynchronous learning networks: Student-centered learning that uses online education methods; combines self-study and interaction (via computer-mediation).

Audacity: Free open source program that allows users to create and manipulate audio files.

Avatar: Visual representation of a computer user’s personality in an Internet environment.  Common forms include user pictures, representations of user interests, and animated icons.


Bandwidth: Measured in bits per second, bandwidth is a measure of internet speed. For example, dialup internet can transfer information at about 56 kilobits per second, whereas most wireless internet transfers over 100 megabits per second.

Blog: Short for “web log,” a blog is much like a journal posted online that others can read and comment on.

Bookmarks: A function that certain websites utilize, so the user can return to that web page by clicking on the desired bookmarked page. This allows for quicker and more efficient research.

Bookmarklet: Application or script that automatically posts a site’s information to a social bookmarking or similar site.


CCCC-IP Caucus: The “Intellectual Property” division of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, responsible for drafting policy about intellectual property for their members, mostly composition teachers.

Character: Any letter, number or symbol used in text format.

Chatspeak: A combination of characters used in text or instant messaging to shorten the amount of characters in the message, such as LOL – laugh out loud, BRB – be right back, POS – parent over shoulder, and TTYL – talk to you later.

Cloud: Also known as cloud computing, this refers to resources on the internet that are available from any internet capable device.

Color Scheme: The colors, including background, text, and hyperlinks of a website. Depending on the chosen colors, a color scheme can help make a website aesthetically pleasing or displeasing to a viewer.

Compact Disc-ReWritable (CD-RW): The CD-RW looks like a music CD but can be used for data storage, including audio, video, and word processing documents – and, most importantly, it can be overwritten. 

Compose/Design: The complex set of activities involved in creating a visual text.

Composer/Designer: Instead of “author” or “artist,” it is the individual who produces or creates a visual text.

Computer-Assisted Writing: Sometimes known as CAI (Computer-Assisted instruction), it is the instruction or remediation about writing presented on a computer.

Course Management Systems (CMS): Similar to learning management systems; virtual learning environments; online programs that manage courses and store various types of files (provide syllabus, forums, discussion, etc.). A few examples are Moodle, Blackboard, WebCT, Sakai Project, and Desire2Learn.

Computer Mediated Communication (CMC): Interaction or communication between two or more people via networked computers; e.g. e-mail, instant messaging, etc.

Computer-Supported Writing Classrooms: A computer classroom, or work site, where students and teachers can talk about writing in progress. Computers are used simply to aid in the effectiveness of the writing process: revision, blogging, discussion boards, etc.

Control Panel: In Windows, the place where users can change the desktop look (wallpaper, themes), printer and mouse configurations, and other settings.

Copyleft: A derivative of copyright in which the intellectual property holder states that a work is copyrighted and then sets general distribution terms that allow the work to be distributed for free as long as modified versions are also distributed for free.

Courseware: Software, often web-based, that is used to teach or learn, including Blackboard, Angel, Moodle.

Creepy Treehouse Syndrome: This is when professors enter students’ domain via technology portals–particularly through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.–and the students and professors feel uncomfortable about posting and viewing information both parties can access.

Cyber Literacy: Understanding how to navigate the online world and knowing its strengths and weaknesses.