Helpful Glossary of Terms

Read these definitions to get a better understanding of how to read, write, interact, and learn in an online environment and at the college level. Click on a letter to be directed to that section of the glossary:
 

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Abstract: A brief summary of an item.
Academic writing: Entering a conversation with a community of scholars that shares certain ways of thinking, valuing, and writing.
Accountability: Understanding the consequences of doing a good job or a poor one.
Acronym: A short word made up of the first letters of a longer phrase, such as radar (radio detecting and ranging) or an abbreviation, like FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Active listening: Where you not only hear spoken words, but make a conscious effort to understand the complete message that is being said.
Active reading: Using strategies such as highlighting and note-taking to actively engage with an understand a reading.
AGS and Dual Enrollment Academic Support Services: Support services available to help AGS students succeed in their classes, including online tutors, helpful resources, and disability accommodations.
AGS and Dual Enrollment Library Resources: Resources available to help AGS students locate, evaluate, and cite sources in their research assignments for their classes. Includes a special outreach librarian for AGS students.
Analogy: Comparison.
ASPIRE: Acronym of tips for study success. Steps include approach/attitude/arrange, select/survey/scan, piece together the parts, investigate/inquire/inspect, reexamine/reflect/relay, and evaluate/examine/explore.
Asynchronous communication: Students complete course assignments and participate in discussions without time constraints. Examples include email and written assignments.

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Backtracking: Re-reading passages multiple times. Avoiding this can help you become a faster reader.
Bias: Based on your own personal feeling or belief.

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Citation: Formally giving credit to your sources in the correct format. A full citation must be given for every source at the end of a paper in a works cited, references, or bibliography page. Each full citation must correspond to an in-text citation, footnote, or endnote.
Citation styles: Formatting guidelines you must follow when creating citations. Examples are APA style in the social sciences, MLA in the humanities, and Chicago/Turabian in history.
Common knowledge: The one type of information that you do not need to cite, even if you read it in a source.
Contextualizing: Placing a text in its historical, biographical, and cultural contexts.
Context: Words, sentences, and/or paragraphs around an unknown word that help you unlock its meaning.
Cooperative/collaborative learning: Interactive learning that takes place in a group and helps students to understand course content by sharing and gaining knowledge from others.
Cramming: Attempting to study or memorize for an exam in too little time. Often a result of poor planning or procrastination.
CRAP Test: A test to evaluate the credibility of sources. All sources (especially popular or online sources) should be evaluated for currency (C), reliability (R), authority (A), and purpose/point of view (P).
Critical reading: Involves understanding the context and evaluating the purpose of a text, not just learning a list of facts. Steps include reading for comprehension, analysis, and interpretation.
Critical thinking: Improving the quality of thinking by imposing intellectual structures on it.

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Databases: Free online access to abstracts and full-text articles from scholarly journals through a library subscription.
Deep learner: Someone who learns everything they can about a topic.
Detailed reading: Reading style in which you skim first, and then go back to read every word in detail.
Direct quotes: Words from a source cited verbatim in a paper.
Double spaced: Academic writing requires a space between each line of text in order to facilitate easier reading and grading.

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E-learning: Also called online learning. Refers to the use of electronic media or information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education.
Editing checklist: Checking the grammar of your paper for errors with apostrophes, colons, commas, noun plurals, parallelism, etc.
Evaluating an argument: Testing the logic of a text as well as its credibility and emotional impact.
Evidence: Reasons why something is true, based on statistics, expert testimony, or examples.

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Flashcards: A memorization tool in which an index card has a cue, question, or concept on one side and an answer or definition on the other.
Footnote: A small citation at the bottom of a page that gives minimal details about the source but refers the reader to a full citation at the end of the paper. An alternative is an endnote at the end of the paper.

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Goals: Something you make specific plans to achieve. Goals can be related to career, education, family, or any other aspect of life.
GPA: An average of all your grades for a single semester or a running average across all your coursework.

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Internet browser: A type of software application that allows you to search, view, and publish websites that have been published online.
Information literacy: A set of defined research skills that helps you combat information overload. Competencies include determining the information needed, accessing the information effectively, evaluating the information, incorporating the information into one’s knowledge, using the information effectively, and understanding the ethical issues surrounding the use of information.
Information overload: Also called data smog. A phenomenon by which a researcher becomes overwhelmed with the ever-increasing amount of information available on a topic in an ever-increasing number of formats.
Interlibrary loan (ILL): A service provided by libraries to allow students to borrow materials from other libraries.
In-text citation: A small citation in the body of your paper that gives minimal details about the source but refers the reader to a full citation at the end of the paper.

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Jargon: Discipline-specific or technical language. Often used in scholarly sources.

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Learning Management System (LMS): A software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of e-learning education courses or training programs.
Learning styles: An individual’s preferred mode of learning, based on his or her unique intelligences.
Library catalog: An online database that lists books and journals owned by a library.
Logical fallacies: Common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of your argument.
Long-term goals: Abstract goals that may take years or a lifetime to achieve.

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Main idea: Central message a writer is trying to get across.
Mind/concept mapping: The practice of using keywords or symbols to express relationships between concepts and aid in visual learning.
MoodleRooms: Stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. Free LMS used at Bryan College to allow students to download files, participate in discussions, and submit assignments for online classes.
Multimodal (MM): Prefer to use more than one sense.
Multiple intelligences: Theory that every person has a combination of different intelligences, such as linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, visual-spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Questionnaire finalized in 1962 designed to measure how people perceive the world and make decisions. People are sorted into the categories extroverts (E) or introverts (I), sensing (S) or intuition (I), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P).

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Netiquette: A philosophy of effective online communication that follows the Golden Rule.

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Outlining and summarizing: Identifying the main ideas and restating them in your own words.

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Paraphrases: Putting the ideas of a source into your own words. Still requires a citation.
Peer-reviewed: Items which have been examined for quality by anonymous experts in a discipline. Experts look for accuracy, completeness, scholarship, and use of appropriate and current evidence.
Periodical: Something published regularly at intervals (journals, magazines, etc.).
Personal mission statement: One or two sentences that sum up your personal values and/or most important goals and how you plan to achieve them.
Personal schedule: Master schedule that lists all of your regular responsibilities and activities and leaves room to include study time.
Plagiarism: Using another person’s work, ideas, and/or words without citation, as if they were your own.
Popular sources: Written for a general audience. They have not been reviewed for quality and tend to include more advertisements and not cite all of their sources.
Primary sources: Original or historical materials.
Procrastination: Putting off class work or other short-term goals until later. While it is normal in small amounts, habitual procrastinators set themselves up for stress and failure.
Proofreading: Making minor detail changes to the paper.

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Revising: Making major changes to the paper.
Rubrics: Grids that specify how your writing will be graded and what excellent, adequate, and poor papers will look like.

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Self-discipline: Making yourself do something.
Scanning: Reading style in which you scan the introduction, preface, first and last paragraphs of chapters, and concluding chapters to see how they might be useful.
Scholarly sources: Often available through the library catalog or databases, are written for and peer-reviewed by experts in a specific discipline. All sources are cited, and they use jargon.
Secondary sources: Commentaries on primary sources.
Short-term goals: Smaller, concrete goals that when taken together lead to the achievement of a long-term goal.
Skimming: Reading style in which you read quickly to get the main points before you read in detail or to refresh on something you’ve already read.
SMART goals: Criteria for creating short-term goals. Short-term goals must be specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), relevant (R), and time-bound (T).
Study skills: Best practices for listening in class, taking notes, completing assignments, and preparing for exams.
Subject line: The title of an email. Make sure to title your emails based on the class you are taking so your instructor knows to respond to you quickly.
Summarize: Condense a longer work into fewer essential statements.
Synchronous communication: Students participate in class activities and learning at the same time. Examples include live online meetings and instant messages.

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Test anxiety: Nervousness about performing poorly on an exam. Can be healthy and contribute to motivation, or unhealthy and impede performance.
Thesis statement: The final statement of an introductory paragraph. It addresses what you are arguing in your essay and how you will support your argument with supporting examples.
Time management: Planning your days and weeks in order to balance academic, professional, and personal commitments.
Transitional sentences: Sentences that transition between main ideas using words like “however,” “moreover,” “in addition,” etc.

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VARK preferences: An individual’s learning style preferences, including visual (V), aural (A), read/write (R), and kinesthetic (K). Also includes multimodal (MM) learners.