Computer Communication Terminology
The first step of learning about communicating using a computer is understanding the terminology you will encounter as you work through this module. The glossary below lists terms that cover the three methods of communication we will be talking about in this module.
Asynchronous: Asynchronous refers to communication that does not occur in real-time. One example of asynchronous communication is an online discussion forum where one person posts a comment or question and another person reads and replies to the posting at a later time. When interaction is asynchronous, both users do not have to be logged in at the same time in order to communicate.
Attachment: An attachment is an electronic file (such as a document, image, movie, etc.) that is included in addition to the text of an email message. In order for the recipient to view the attachment, the file must be downloaded and software that can open the file type must be installed on the computer.
Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted along a communications channel (such as a computer network) at a given time.
Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy): The Bcc (or Blind Carbon Copy) field in the recipient area of an email message allows the sender to send a copy of a message to someone without the other recipients knowing that the individual was copied.
Browser (Web Browser): A Web Browser is the software application that allows a user to view and interact with content on the Internet. Popular web browsers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Chat (Online Chat): Online chat refers to communication over the Internet that occurs in real-time (synchronous). In an online chat, communication is typically text-based, but some chatrooms also allow for synchronous video and the sharing of files. In order to chat, users must be logged on at the same time.
Cc (Carbon Copy): The Cc (or Carbon Copy) field in the recipient area of an email message allows the sender to send a copy of a message to someone. In the case of a Carbon Copy, the main recipient(s) in the To: field see that the individual was copied, but their name is listed in the separate Cc: area to distinguish who needs to act or reply to the message. Cc can be thought of as the equivalent of “fyi”.
Download: When you download a file, you transfer a copy of it from a remote location (such as from a web page or email message) to your computer or other local storage device. For example, to work with a file attachment in an email message, the file must first be downloaded and saved to your local computer and then opened with the program it is associated with.
Discussion Forum: A discussion forum is a tool used in online courses to provide a means of asynchronous communication for students and instructor. An online discussion forum typically allows for both student-to-student interaction as well as student -to-instructor and instructor-to-student. Typically, a discussion forum is public, meaning that all participants see each other’s postings.
Email: Electronic Mail (Email) is a system for sending and receiving electronic messages using a computer network.
Forward: Forwarding refers to the act of taking an existing email message and sending it on to someone else (typically to an individual that was not on the initial recipient list for the message).
Freeware: Freeware is software that can be distributed or downloaded with no mandatory cost associated with it. There often is an option, however, to voluntarily make a donation to the creator of the application.
HTML: HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the standard language used for creating web pages.
Internet: The Internet is a system of interconnected computers that allows users to transfer data on a global scale. The Internet makes electronic communication possible. Examples of electronic communication controlled by the Internet include email, the World Wide Web, file transfer and remote login among others.
Intranet: An Intranet is a system of interconnected computers within a single institution or organization. It may or may not be connected to the Internet for outside electronic communication.
IP Address: The IP Address (Internet Protocol address) of a numerical name or label given to a device that is connected to the Internet. The IP address identifies the device (example a computer or printer) and where it is located on the network. Every device connected to the Internet must have a unique IP address.
Learning Management System (LMS): A Learning Management System is a web-based software application that is used to deliver an online course or online content for a face-to-face or blended course.
Link (Hyperlink): A Hyperlink is an item such as a word, phrase, or image that when clicked on, takes the user to a website, new location on a current webpage or to a new page or document. Hyperlinks are created using HTML and can be added to web pages, email messages and other documents that support HTML
LISTSERV: Listserv is an email list management software that allows individuals to subscribe and send messages through a mailing list. When a member of the listserv sends a message to the list, all members receive a copy. Listserv is a commercial product, but the term “listserv” is often used to describe any email list management system.
Malware: Malware is software that is intended to do harm to either a computer system or disrupt operations, gain access to a system or network or obtain personal information such as usernames, passwords or bank accounts. Malware can come in many forms and are typically distributed via email or the World Wide Web. Viruses, worms, trojans and spyware are common types of malware.
Netiquette: The term “netiquette” (an abbreviation of “Network Etiquette”) refers to the “Do’s” and “Dont’s” of electronic communication that promote effective and harmonious exchanges.
Phishing: Phishing is the act of attempting to obtain personal (and most often sensitive) information such as usernames and passwords from an individual through electronic means. The most common form of phishing is through spam or other email or message that contains a link to a fake website that requests the user to type in their information. These websites are made to look very much like the official website for a company or organization (such as a bank). Another common phishing tactic is to send a message that appears to be from a network administrator asking for username and password information to “correct a problem with your account” which is actually not true.
Protocol: A protocol is a set of formal rules that dictate how data is transmitted over a computer network. Data transmission over the Internet uses a protocol known as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol).
Reply: The reply command is used in electronic communication such as email or discussion forums to respond to the individual who sent the initial message. Related to reply is the “Reply All” command. When the Reply All option is selected on an email message, the response will be sent to the initial sender and anyone who was copied (cc:) on the message. Note: Reply All does not include recipients blind copied (bcc:) on the original message.
Router: A router is a device that forwards data and exchanges information between networks. A wireless router is one that forwards and exchanges data but also serves as a wireless access point. This type of router is often used to provide Internet access to a building or other area.
Search Engine: A search engine is a program designed to find documents or information based on specified key words or phrases. A Web Search Engine is a search engine that allows users to search for information on the World Wide Web. Popular Web Search Engines include Google, Bing and Ask.com.
Shareware: Shareware is software that can be downloaded or distributed with no initial charge, but with some sort of limitation. Typically there is a trial period for the free use of shareware or the full functionality of the software is restricted until a fee is paid.
Spam: Spam refers to junk email or unsolicited bulk email that often contains links to phishing websites that attempt to obtain your personal information or websites that are hosting malware that may harm your computer system.
Synchronous: Synchronous refers to communication that occurs in real-time. One example of synchronous communication is an online chat, where all participants need to be logged in and accessing the chat window at the same time.
TCP/IP: TCP/IP refers to Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol and is the protocol that is used to exchange information across the Internet
Threaded: With respect to electronic communication, the term threaded refers to the way messages or postings are organized in a view. If the layout is a threaded one, messages are grouped by topic with an initial post listed at the top of the thread and any replies (or replies to replies) appearing below and typically indented. When messages are arranged in this manner it gives the reader a very visual way to easily follow an electronic conversation.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the address of a web page. An example of a URL would behttp://www.sunybroome.edu.
Upload: When you upload a file, you transfer a copy of it from a local location (such as your computer or local storage device) to a remote location (such as a remote web site or network computer). If you take an online course, you will most like be uploading your assignments from your local drive to your online course.
Web Browser (Browser): A Web Browser is the software application that allows a user to view and interact with content on the Internet. Popular web browsers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Web Search Engine: A search engine is a program designed to find documents or information based on specified key words or phrases. AWeb Search Engine is a search engine that allows users to search for information on the World Wide Web. Popular Web Search Engines include Google, Bing and Ask.com.
World Wide Web (WWW): The World Wide Web (WWW) is a system of interconnected, hyperlinked webpages and documents that are transmitted via the Internet.