Appendix 2: Glossary

A list of abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used in this document.


Asynchronous communication involves a separation of time between listening (or reading) and responding. Examples of asynchronous communication include postal systems, discussion forums, email, and various bulletin board type tools. For synchronous communication, see the definition below.


BCcampus provides teaching, learning, educational technology, and open education support to post-secondary institutions in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Through partnerships with B.C.’s post-secondary institutions, as well as government agencies and nonprofit groups and associations, BCcampus evaluates, facilitates, and collaborates on complex and innovative education projects.


The Creative Commons Attribution-Only licence. Any work (text, images, video, etc.) licensed CC BY can be freely used by others and edited, revised, added to and distributed (even commercially), as long as the user gives credit to the original source or author. For more information, view the Creative Commons website.

Community of Inquiry Model

The CoI Framework is a theoretical framework (originally proposed by researchers at the University of Athabasca) used to analyze ways in which instructors (and students) create a deep and meaningful learning experience in online and blended learning environments through the development of three interdependent elements:  social, cognitive and teaching presence. Teaching presence is the design, facilitation and direction of activities within a course.

Content Management System

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software program or set of related programs used to create and manage digital content. Some common CMSs (as of 2018) are WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. CMS products can be configured for learning management, but they generally require a higher level of user expertise than a product specifically designed for educational delivery (i.e. an LMS or VLE — see the definition below).


A facilitator works within a group to engage the group’s members in decision-making or brainstorming processes, mitigating conflicts and actively fostering course community. A facilitator working in an educational context helps learners understand course content through questioning, suggestions, examples and problem-solving, rather than through more directive teaching methods.


Frequently Asked Questions. In any organized activity, many of the questions participants ask tend to be the same ones time and again. By providing a list of FAQs (with answers), you can help your participants get immediate answers to their most common questions.


In online learning, a forum is a site where participants and facilitators can post their comments, questions, etc. to discuss and debate ideas and aspects of the course content or learning activities. Discussion can take place asynchronously and topics are often organized by threads as participants reply to a specific posting.


Hosting, in the context related to FLO courses, means the act of providing a content management system or learning management system for use to offer FLO courses to participants. Institutions may be able to host their own system, or they may need to purchase access to a system hosted by an external provider.

Learning outcome

Statements that describe important, intentional knowledge or skills that students can demonstrate at the end of a course or learning activity. A learning outcome statement usually begins with an action verb (to identify the action or level of learning) and a description of what the learner can reliably demonstrate within a specific context.


Learning Management System / Virtual Learning Environment. (LMS is the term more commonly used in North America; VLE is more common in Europe and other parts of the world). An LMS or VLE is a software product often used to organize online courses and classes. Some common LMS/VLE products are Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, Desire2Learn. Other platforms used for LMS/VLE include WordPress, Google Classrooms, iTunesU.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with intellectual property licenses that facilitate the free use, adaptation and distribution of resources. (UNESCO)


A post is a message that a facilitator or learner writes in a forum or another conversational space that is included in a course. Individuals have the ability to post and reply to posts within conversational spaces in all FLO courses.

Reflection / reflective practice

Reflective practice, as described by educational researchers such as David Kolb and Stephen Brookfield, refers to the ability to pay critical attention to learning by examining actions both during and after they take place (i.e., reflectively and reflexively). The underlying theory is that people do not learn from experience alone; they benefit from considering actions and events from different perspectives, and by identifying important connections or underlying beliefs and theories.


A rubric is a guide — often presented in table form — listing specific criteria for assessing or grading academic work (papers, projects, tests, etc.). Rubrics add value to the educational process by communicating expectations about performance, and by supporting constructive feedback on works in progress. By making performance standards explicit, rubrics can help students develop understanding, skill, and more dependable judgments about the quality of their own work. Rubrics are provided in FLO courses primarily to help participants assess their own progress towards facilitation goals.


Much like the scaffolding that supports workers on a tall building, scaffolding in an instructional context refers to the supports an educator provides for students to help them learn. Educational scaffolding is based on the common-sense understanding that it’s almost impossible to learn a new concept or skill in its entirety; we learn best in incremental steps, with one concept or skill building upon another. The supports are gradually removed as the student becomes more independent and no longer needs additional aid.


Self-assessment is the process of examining one’s own work and comparing it against identified criteria or goals. Based on the results of the assessment, learners can make a judgment as to whether (or how well) they have met these goals. In the FLO family of courses, self-assessment plays a critical role in the process of self-reflection and reflective practice (see the definition above), and is often supported with rubrics (see the definition above).


Synchronous communication (including communication for learning) is real-time communication where participants listen and respond to each other within the same timeframe. Examples of tools used for synchronous communication include telephones, Skype, Blackboard Collaborate, and FaceTime. For asynchronous communication, see the definition above.

Traditional acknowledgement

A traditional acknowledgement is a short message (text, video, or audio) acknowledging that the land on which the particular institution sits occupies the traditional territory of local Indigenous peoples. This may be a standardized message produced by the institution or a link to a media resource from an Indigenous chief or elder extending a traditional welcome. The traditional acknowledgement is optional but becoming a common practice in Canada to include in both online and face-to-face courses.

Web conferencing

Refers to synchronous online meetings supported by various kinds of technologies (e.g., Blackboard Collaborate/Ultra or Big Blue Button) that allow audio and video sharing supported by interactive tools like whiteboards or slide-image-document sharing options.


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FLO Facilitation Guide Copyright © 2019 by Sylvia Currie; Sylvia Riessner; Gina Bennett; and Beth Cougler Blom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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